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A Letter to My Pre-Baby Self

Dear Pre-Baby Self,

Oh, you sweet, naive gal, if only you could know all that I know now. This is, of course, not the way the world works, but if I could hop in a DeLorean and revisit 2008, this is the letter I would leave behind.

Please try to love your body. It is beautiful. Enjoy your smooth belly, even if you wish it were a little flatter. Admire your perky chest and slender ankles. Wear a bikini every chance you get, as your body will never look quite the same. Post-baby you will imagine that you had a pretty rockin' bod, and you will long for it. You will be angry at yourself for wasting energy criticizing it. Exercise because it is good for you, and you will be grateful for the extra strength, not because you want to improve some superficial “flaw.” And much more important than its appearance, love your body for the amazing things it can do. You are capable of growing a life, bringing it into the world and feeding it. That body of yours is nothing short of miraculous.

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You are not busy. No, really, you have no idea what busy is. Busy people don’t have time to binge-watch TV on Netflix. You have an incredible and wonderful amount of downtime. Enjoy it. And maybe organize your closet already; you’ll soon struggle to find time to shower, let alone take hours to pick out something to wear. Start some of those projects you think you don’t have time for, because your schedule isn’t going to free up anytime soon. The next time you have this much free time, you might be retired. Oh, and you’re not bored. That’s called "solitude" and "silence," soak it up. Someday you will crave it.

You are not busy. No, really, you have no idea what busy is. Busy people don’t have time to binge-watch TV on Netflix.

You are not tired. Please don’t ever tell a parent (especially a new one) that you’re exhausted, you’ll just embarrass yourself. Sleep in often. Take naps whenever possible. You will gain many wonderful things when you become a parent, but restful nights are not among them. You’re not too tired to go out. It will never be easier to meet up with friends for drinks or take in a movie with your hubby. It seems like a lot of work to get ready and get out of the house, but really, you have no idea. Savor those long, uninterrupted conversations. Go ahead, have one more drink and stay up past your bedtime—you’ll be happy you did.

Try not to have too many preconceived notions about how you will be as a mother. There is really no way to prepare for motherhood. You will have to face each challenge as it comes. And those challenges, though numerous, are not the ones you thought you’d face. Don’t judge those who have come before you. They are doing their best, just as you will. And your best will be a lot messier than you imagined, so please don’t waste your precious free time imagining yourself as the ideal mother. Seriously, you are going to make mistakes, and you are going to learn and grow as much as the little ones in your charge. Practice letting go, that’s a skill you will need more than any other.

Savor those long, uninterrupted conversations. Go ahead, have one more drink and stay up past your bedtime—you’ll be happy you did.

Lastly, what are you waiting for? Becoming a mom is the most fulfilling, important thing that will ever happen to you. And while you will feel pangs of nostalgia for the freedom your pre-baby life afforded you, it pales in comparison to your love of motherhood. Being a mom isn’t easy or glamorous, but it is so very rewarding. It brings the important things into laser focus. (You’ll laugh at how you fretted over all those wedding details.) One day you will look into the grinning face of your baby and wonder what took you so long to bring him into the world.

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So enjoy your free wheelin’ pre-baby life and blissful ideas about the ease of motherhood, but then get on with it already. Have a baby or two—you will be so glad you did.

Sincerely,

Your (slightly saggy, covered in spit-up, overwhelmed with love) Post-Baby Self

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