MOTHERHOOD: Three Months with August / by Vivian Chen

Dear Gus Gus, Gusters, My Sweet Boy,
We made it to three months together. You giggled for the first time this week and my heart melted all over the place. You finally see me and that eye contact, that acknowledgment is the world. I am grateful everyday to be your mom. Thank you for challenging me in ways I never thought possible and showing me that I am strong and kind and loving.

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Motherhood is a contradictory existence. My day to day can feel so isolating and yet I know I am not alone. I am forever a member of the fiercest tribe. There is comfort in knowing that moms everywhere have walked this same path. Felt the same sleep deprived sense of hopelessness that creeps in during those bad days. The same tugs on the heart when I have to leave the you for extended periods of time. The same frantic mental decision making and on the fly prioritizing when faced with an unknown quantity of nap time. (To spend it cleaning, prepping, working to whittle away at that never ending to do list? Always. To nap? Rare. To take care of myself? Also rare. To waste time? A frivolous risk, a luxury from another life.) The same jolt that springs my eyes wide open at the tiniest sound of you stirring at 4am. The same resignation when yet another shirt is soiled with spit up or wet with leaky milk. The same exhaustion at the end of a long day when it’s not quite bedtime and I know I have to keep it together just a little longer. The same self criticism and eventual acceptance of our mom bodies, those new aches and pains, the weakened pelvic floor (when I sneeze and don’t pee I consider it a win), our soft jelly bellies that even the strongest athletes struggle to change because breastfeeding is magic and its hormones are powerful. The same worries and doubt, wondering if I am doing enough, doing it right, doing it well. And the same thrilling joys when you learn a new skill, smile at me, talk to me, letting me know that everything is okay.

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To all the mamas I know, thank you for being just a text message away. Knowing I’m not doing this alone and that these fears aren’t just my own helps me keep going. I'm proud to be a member of this messy, imperfect, wonderful and loving tribe.

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