Join today to receive a free breathwork practice from Ashley's book! X

Letter To A New Mama

Dear New Mama,

First off, I want you to know that you’re a really good mom. These aren’t just fluffy words. They are facts. You are a really good mom. I know you have so many doubts and fears. I also know that you are willing to grow, willing to lean into the tough moments, and willing to keep showing up and turning toward yourself and your new cherub son. It’s totally normal to feel uncertain and fearful with a new baby. This is a brand new experience and as you’ve already learned in pregnancy there is no road map for parenting. You and Nic are also going to in many ways, parent differently than you were parented. This quantum leap will create storms and waves throughout your lineage. And, in the midst of those stormy seasons you will hang on tight to Nic and keep firm in your fierce determination to foster a secure and safe attachment bond with your son.

My darling mama, your body created and birthed a beautiful healthy son. You labored for 33 hours and through all of the twists and turns in those life changing hours, you stayed in connection with your baby, your breath, your inner well of resource, and the loved ones who surround you and kept you safe. It has been a year and there are many aspects of the birth that feel unresolved and unprocessed. It’s okay. You take all the time you need. Those layers will surface as they are ready to be integrated. You don’t need to worry about it or try to do it all at once. Healing is a process, just like becoming a mother is.

Some people say that you become a mother the moment of conception, others say it’s the moment the baby comes earth side. I still don’t really know when you “become” a mother because to me we are always in the process of becoming. You have grown in ways that there was no way for you to have accessed before this massive initiation. You will continue to grow alongside Nic as your son Solomon changes, develops, and continues his process of becoming.

You won’t sleep at all sweet mama. You really won’t. I know it’s difficult to imagine what that means but it’s going to bring up many emotions and keep you in a very sensitive place for a long time. It’s not that you’re fragile because you’re not. If anything your pregnancy and birth showed you just how tough you really are. The sleepless nights will keep your energy centers open and it will become clear very quickly that you don’t have the bandwidth to engage with anyone or anything that doesn’t fully support you and Nic. You two need the most support during this first year because you are taking care of your little Solomon. You will take your precious moments of rest when you can. You will cry from being so tired. You will have countless moments where you are sure you cannot go on without sleep. And just when you are sure you are losing your mind, an angel named Mariah will come into your family’s life and hangout with Solomon so you can get some much needed naps during the day. You won’t always take them, because, well, that’s just your nature, but you will find ease in knowing that you have options and the space to rest when it’s essential.

You and Nic will need a lot of help. So much help. In those early months you and Nic did such a great job of engaging with people who could fully support you both. Those loved ones really surprised you. They showed up at the eleventh hour to support your birth, respected your boundaries postpartum and are still to this day in your corner, holding space for you Nic and little Solomon. Those relationships have grown in their depth and richness. As you have expanded and evolved, those relationships have as well. You have been met, seen, and felt in your year of becoming and it has been healing to say the least. You too mama have become a better friend. You have reached out more, even when it’s just for a quick voice note to stay in connection with the people who are willing to be by your side.

And my dear mama there were also those who weren’t as able to feel or meet you where you needed. This was pretty tough and you weren’t fully prepared for the big emotions that came with those experiences. You and Nic were clear about what you were going to need when the baby arrived and it was painful when your boundaries were not honored. Thankfully your little family is blessed with trusted guides that you reach out to. They do the good work of reminding you that you are not crazy or hormonal. You are a new mama who needs love, support, and protection from anyone who isn’t willing to meet you in that type of energy. You have to make some tough calls on taking space from some people, but you do so with a newfound ease. You don’t have the energy to do what you did before in those relationships. You have a son now and it’s your job to take care of him and no one else. There will be several cycles of feeling into the guilt, pain, and grief that is connected to making the kinds of choices that you had to make for yourself and for your family. Much of this still hangs out unresolved today but you are more settled in yourself and stronger in your capacity to hold a safe container around your family.

My sweet mama, you and Nic have come into such a remarkable place. The work that you have done this past year on your relationship is reorganizing the avoidant household you grew up in and setting the stage for a secure, adult attached relationship. This work has been incredibly profound. It is literally dismantling your belief system and creating new neural pathways for love, connection and trust. I wish you could feel into where you are today. The doubts circling in your mind would melt away. You would know in your bones that this relationship is the one worth fighting for, worth surrendering to, and worth the pain and hurts that were caused in the past from your unconscious patterns and tangles.

I know how tough it was for you, especially during your pregnancy to feel how much Nic loved you with everything that you two were going through. All the tangles, the looming sense of insecurity, feeling unsure if you two were going to make it as a couple. And there were also happy times too mama, there were. Those moments in couples therapy where you tapped into the deep connection you have with each other and feltl the deep love under those tangles and negative patterns you were stuck in. Mama, today you and Nic are really are on the other side of something huge. And Solomon feels it too.

My darling mama. You birthed a son, a golden, bright, happy son. He is the light of your life. His smile melts your heart. His presence brought you and Nic into parenthood and it suits you both really well. You’re both good parents. And by good I mean you’re doing your work so that you can give him that secure attachment that is his birthright. Little Solomon has become your biggest mirror and your biggest teacher. You knew that becoming a mama was going to be such a life altering spiritual experience, one that you felt deep down you were meant to have. You also knew that you wanted to support a little being with everything you had. You really hit the jackpot with Solomon and you and Nic know it. You feel grateful countless times a day that his spirit chose you to come through, choose your body to be his first home.

Those first few months postpartum at home in bed with him and Nic were some of the most precious of your life. The three of you connected, established the beginnings of family nervous system and moved through the days in countless cycles of eating, resting, changing diapers, eating some more. You watched this tiny baby sleep in Nic’s armpit between the two of you on the bed. For a while it was one of the only places he would sleep, that, or being propped up against your knees while you swayed him from side to side through the darkest and quietest hours of the night. You will commit to memory the way he stared at you during those times, just gazing into your eyes in the dim light of the salt lamp, Nic fast asleep by your side. So many quiet hours of connection and pure love.

I know you’re a little worried about nursing mama. I’m not going to sugar coat this, it was really tough in the beginning.  It was uncomfortable, you got engorged (yes, it was painful and your boobs turned into giant red rocks, thankfully Nic ran out in the middle of the night to grab Advil and cabbage leaves, they really helped – who knew?!), and more than that you struggled to not feel badly about yourself. You had a lot of ideas about how easy it was going to be to breastfeed and it wasn’t. You ended up using nipple shields because you didn’t think he could latch without them. It was a struggle until you found Molly, the epic lactation consultant who got rid of your fancy nursing pillows (you had several) and helped you relax so that Solomon could find your nipple and latch all by himself, without you doing it for him. The moment he latched onto you himself was such a turning point.  Sigh. Such sweet relief. It got so much better mama and then you loved breastfeeding! Solomon is still breastfeeding, going strong at a year. I’m proud of you mama. It would have been easy to give up, especially when you started working again, but you stayed the course and it has been a huge part of your bond with your special babe.

The summer will be really painful mama. You will navigate some tough times in your relationships and go through many waves of grief. You will grieve those relationships, your birth story, and many old experiences that surfaced in the wake of you being so open as a new mama. You will do all the things to support yourself and you will still check out. You will scroll endlessly on your phone trying to modulate and contain the pain, that at the time, you didn’t feel like you had the space to process. You will scroll in secret and you will come up with every excuse under the sun as to why you can’t stop. And then, one day you will make the decision to stop scrolling and start fully feeling again. And you will feel and feel and feel. And your life and your connection to Nic and Solomon will grow and will get so much better than you could have ever imagined.

What else can I tell you dear mama? Oh, I must mention that the hugs Solomon has recently learned to give are such a beautiful reflection of all the ways that you and Nic have grown this year, the postpartum anxiety that you navigated, and the ways that you have become more regulated. You can finally get Solomon down for a nap, not every time, but it’s getting better each day. Most of the year it has been such a struggle and you have felt helpless to support him to sleep. It’s not your fault mama. Sleep has been an issue for you off and on throughout your life. But guess what? You’re changing. You are learning to rest down. You are learning to surrender to sleep in new ways and Solomon is learning it to, with you. Instead of always reaching for Nic when he’s ready for bed, he crawls over to you when he is tired now, rubbing his eyes reaching up for you. He has been very patient with this process and over the last month has wanted you to help him sleep. It has been such a healing. Such a healing.

You still cry when he drops his head on your chest, takes a deep sigh and rests down. There is something so powerful in the field between you two and you are teaching him in a somatic way that we don’t have to have all the answers right away, we don’t have to know how to do all the things. We just have to be willing to keep exploring, keep trying, keep repairing, and keep uncovering to get to the core of what needs healing. Nic has been such a guide post for you during this time as well. He has been changing and integrating some deep patterns himself and has been a big teacher in showing you that healing in these ways, with our children is possible. Watching Nic go through his processes has given you confidence to stay the course and keep showing up with presence in the challenging moments.

Mama, as much as this was Solomon’s birth it was yours, it was Nic’s,  and it was the birth of your family unit as well. When you and Nic decided that you wanted to call in a child you had no idea how much your life would change, how much deeper your journey would become, or how just how strong and resilient you truly are.

And you are.

You are strong.
You are resilient.
You are determined.
You are a force.
You are a real deal mama bear.
You are a nurturer.
You are a protector.
You are a creator.
You are a mama.

All my heart,

x

 

photos x @emilydulla

4 Comments

  • Jennifer

    Wow Ashley! I know this letter is a part of your healing & it’s your story unique in its own way. However, I can’t help wanting to post it on my bathroom mirror (okay, maybe above my son’s changing table, because let’s be honest I don’t make it to my own mirror very often these days). My son is 8 weeks old and honestly there have been some real struggles. Thankfully we have been blessed with a healthy boy, but the struggles of motherhood on top of sleep deprivation have been real and it has rocked me to the core more than I ever thought imaginable. It’s only been about 22 months since I’ve been on my own path towards self-discovery, and this new “adventure” has only challenged all the stuff I thought I had already been dealing with in addition to all the new stuff that has come up.
    I just wanted to thank you for sharing such a vulnerable time in your life. I feel the post-partum anxiety while adjusting to this new unexpected life is something that is probably not talked about enough; the fact that we are not just crazy and we are not alone provides a little sense of relief.
    Your letter has brought me hope. Hope that there will be a day I will look back and see how strong and resilient I truly am. It has reminded me to be compassionate towards myself. As I read the words “you’re a really good mom”, to think of me saying that to myself brought tears (happy tears) to my eyes. Because somewhere deep inside I know that, yet the fears, doubts, and times of darkness that seem to be at the forefront hide that truthful light. And it was a wonderful reminder “to be willing to keep exploring, keep trying, keep repairing, and keep uncovering to get to the core of what needs healing”. Sometimes I feel I should be stronger, should be this or should be that, when in fact it’s just part of the journey (and boy has the journey already been deeper). So thank you! Thanks for helping me this morning to feel like I can dance a little bit in this rain as I wait for the storm to pass. Sending you love as you have blessed my heart and soul.

    • ashley

      Hello Jennifer!
      I am so touched by your share, thank you for taking the time to write and connect. We had some issues with the comments so my apologies for taking such a long time to respond. Things are running smoothly again ;)

      Congrats on your healthy boy and for leaning into this wellspring of new mama reckoning – the journey is so expansive and so very challenging too. It really is all encompassing ushering a spirit earth side and I am grateful to hear that you are getting that felt sense that you too are doing a good job. It was pretty much impossible for me to feel that much of the first five or six months because like you wrote there is fear and doubt and layers of my history showing up that need tending too. And the deep deep re-parenting of my own little one. Reading your words brings tears to my eyes. It was definitely a big growth edge for me to post this letter but it’s a letter I wish I had read early on so the fact that it is supporting you made it 100% worth it and then some. Just to know we aren’t alone or crazy or doing a bad job is sometimes the exact healing medicine we need to, as you so beautifully shared, “dance a little bit in this rain as I wait for the storm to pass.” Me too sister, me too.

      Thinking of you and your son today and sending a giant hug your way. We’ve got this, even when we’re falling apart, we’re okay. Love to you and yours. x

  • Courtney

    Thank you for sharing.
    You are important to me. I’ve known you since you were Solomon’s age if not younger.
    Your words help me in my daily interactions with my postpartum patients.
    And BTW, I always recommend a lactation class peripartum to set expectations when baby is here.
    I’m so happy you found a specialist to guide you through these difficult and challenging early days. Breastfeeding is bonding. Please recommend the class!
    Thinking of you, Nic, Solomon and family with love.
    Carry on !

    • ashley

      Hi Courtney! It is wonderful to hear from you. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and for the continued support – it really means so much to me.
      Thinking of you and I look forward to you meeting Solomon soon!
      x

Leave a Comment

X
Site Design Marbury
Photography Anaïs & Dax
Development Alchemy + Aim