What I Want My Daughters to Know About Life After Birth

To my daughters:

They say the pain of childbirth is the kind of pain you forget. I can vouch for that, and would add that the sentiment extends beyond the delivery room. Most of us don’t like to talk about it, but there’s often a pain — both physical and emotional — that bleeds into the days and weeks that follow, no matter how much your heart is bursting with love. With three successful deliveries under my belt, I’ve managed to forget about that pain each time until I find myself treading in it once again.

New baby euphoria is great if you experience it, and the relief of feeling an immediate bond to your newborn is downright overwhelming. But my experience of those first few days has shown that mixed in with the rainbows and butterflies is also a messy, hormonal whirlwind that makes new mothers doubt every fiber of their capability. In the days following each of your births — between the physical recovery, the stress of newborn care, and the hormones– I have always found myself thinking, WHAT HAVE I DONE? and WHOEVER THOUGHT I WAS CAPABLE OF HANDLING THIS MUST HAVE BEEN DRUNK.

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