I see you there.
In your hole-y leggings, with dry-shampooed hair, re-heating your cup of coffee for the 5th time this morning.
Bleary-eyed. Engorged. Tired.
Doing the very best you can. Keeping your tiny humans alive and clean(ish) and fed and loved.
I see you pouring out every ounce of energy and love and affection in your tank every single day, and still feeling like you didn’t use your brain for more than 7 minutes in the last 24 hours. I see you going through the motions in the dead of night, rocking sweaty babies and offering up your body for nourishment and feeling like a human vending machine. A robot that doles out milk and kisses and meals on demand.
And you’re doing an amazing job. The most selfless acts humanly imaginable, day in and day out. Loving, literally, with your body and soul.
But under all of that, you are still there. Did you hear me? Under the milk ducts and unpainted toenails and old yoga pants, you are still YOU. The You That Once Was. The you who went to grown-up places and wore grown-up clothes and had ideas and read books and created things.
She’s still there. She is right under your nose. You are one in the same. When you became a mother, the old you shattered into a million pieces. A broken bottle heaved into a tumultuous sea.
But while you thought those pieces of yourself were lost forever, they were being tossed by the waves. Ground against the sand. Tumbled and polished and beautified. Turned into glistening sea glass.
The shattered pieces of your old self are still there, but now, smoothed by time, (and it always takes time), they have washed onto the shore smoothed and softened and more lovely than ever before. Holding the light and refracting it and flinging it all around you.
You are still in there, and all these sleepless nights and endless days and perfect and horrible moments are forging you into a new version of yourself; a glorious hybrid of the woman you once were, and the hero you have become: a mother. A bad-@$$ Mother. With a capital M.
And as the snows of new motherhood begin to melt and the warm spring of FIGURING IT OUT starts to shine upon your face, tender green shoots of your truest self will begin to emerge, more lovely than ever before.
Kimberly Poovey is a writer, speaker, wife, and over-caffeinated new mom. She runs a teen pregnancy prevention program for a nonprofit and is a founder of Pearls, an organization that serves women in the sex industry and fights human trafficking. You can find her over on Scary Mommy, The Mighty, her blog, and on Facebook.