They said

You’re so beautiful, they said. A vessel of life to be revered. 

They never warned you that you’d be split open and left empty, with a hole in your chest where your heart used to live. That they’d forget you, beautiful creator. That they would leave you behind.

Your heart will feel at home this way, they said. Beating outside of your body, in another’s.

They never warned you that it would feel a little further from your reach as each day passed. That when you handed your heart to another, that hole left in your chest would swell with fear and guilt instead.

It will come naturally, they said. The motherly confidence that all mums seem to have.

They didn’t tell you that you would be stripped naked and left bare alongside your baby, both thrust into a new world together. Both needing time for your eyes to adjust to the bright lights.

The connection is instant, they said. That devoted, unwavering, overpowering love.

They didn’t tell you that it would start as a seed buried deep in your bones. That sometimes it takes time for the sun to reach the seed and for the bloom to grow.

Be grateful, they said. This is what you wanted, you should be happy. Don’t make room for anything else.

They didn’t warn you that the grief for the life you left behind would follow you like a shadow. That you’d notice it more on some days and less on others, but it would always be there.

Six weeks, they said. Six weeks to heal and to unpack your bags. To find a place for all the parts of you that you carried into this unfamiliar place, this new life of yours.

They didn’t warn you to pack light. That everything you once were would no longer fit and you would have to leave pieces of yourself behind.

Six weeks they said, to become the Mother.

They never told you that becoming Her would be your life’s work. The newborn mother, the toddler mother, the working mother, the mother of two, of three, and so it will go. And your transformation will never quite be complete.

So you stopped listening to them, and to all the things they said. And you realised as you began piecing yourself back together, from fragments scattered on the floor, that they never told you how much strength you would have.

That each new season would mend your fractures one by one, until you were no longer cracked, or incomplete. That motherhood would make you whole, that there is strength in your scars and in this love, that You were still there all along, not forgotten, but reborn.

Read next: There are no days off in motherhood

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