Six years ago exactly, it was my last day before I became a mom, and this was the last photograph of myself only a few hours before my life changed completely. When I look at the picture, I think of something: Every year, we strive to celebrate each of our children’s birthdays. Even though children’s parties are at some level torturous, as mothers we are happy to celebrate and cherish the lives of our little ones.
But what about us? Why not celebrate Motherhood Eve? The problem is that we forget about her, the woman in the picture who was not yet a mom. It is important to remember who we were and celebrate how much we have changed since then. This is why this photograph has become important to me. And I speak to it every year.
The day that your first baby is born, you are also born again. Even though you may try to deny it, or do not want to realize it, you and the woman the day before you became a mom are two different people although one single being, like a divinity. And so motherhood does not define us. It is only a new role, a new stage of life, and it is thanks to that woman you were before, and to all of her decisions, that you are who you are today.
This is what I say to her, the woman in the picture, after six years of motherhood, and I want to share it because I hope to inspire you in some way.
Dear woman in the photograph:
I know that right now you are completely terrified. Happy, but terrified. Full of hopes and dreams, but tired and anxious to meet that baby that is still inside you. You imagine her face, and you are full of hope. But then you think about how it will happen, if it will hurt, if you will resist it, if everything you have planned over nine months makes sense. You question even if everything you’ve experienced before this moment makes sense.
You’ve been thinking about it for months, even years, and you’ve been making promises to yourself. You say, for example, that you will never wear yoga pants or that you will always keep your house organized. You repeat that you will not have toys in the living room, and that no one will see you even once sans makeup. You assure that your children will never have a tantrum because you “will know how to raise them,” and that they will never get sick, and that they will be the most intelligent because you will cook organic for them every day.
You also promise that you will have time for everything because from now on you will be a more organized woman, and that you will not be one of those mothers who complains because you are going to keep everything under control from day zero, and of course, if the model in the magazine bounced back in two months, you also can do it without a doubt…
I cannot spoil the surprise for you. But I’m going to tell you something: You will be happy. It does not matter if you fulfilled any of these promises or none. None of that will matter. You are a few hours away from hearing a sound that will change your life in the sweetest and wildest way. And from that moment, you will be another person.
Motherhood will give you a strength you never suspected you could have and with which you will be able to do things you never thought you could do. You will learn that each of your decisions is always the best, whether it’s good or bad. You will learn to listen to your heart in a deeper way, and you will see life with other eyes. You will awaken sensations and instincts deep within you. You will discover that within you there are skills you did not know. You will value things differently, like sunrises, the taste of coffee in the morning, or a glass of wine in good company. You will discover other facets in your relationships, friendships that will be strengthened, others that will be diluted, and many new ones.
You will love, strongly. Your heart will burst with emotion every day. The love of two will multiply, and you will face millions of challenges. But together you will be able to overcome every situation and learn from each other every day. You will no longer be two against the world, but two struggling to make the world a better place.
I promise not to forget about you, especially your dreams, and I will continue to fight for them even if it costs me a little more time than you have planned or if I have to make small modifications along the way.
Today I celebrate the almost 32 years that you spent being a woman without being a mom and the six I have lived in the motherhood club so far. Lets make a toast for you and for me, today is our Motherhood Eve. Thanks to you, I am who I am, your strength, your determination, your decisions, your fears, your promises, your successes, and your mistakes. For you I have gone far, and I will continue to grow as a woman. For you and for me, I promise I will always sail through life with my head up, no matter what it brings. No one said that life would be easy, but neither will anyone be able to tell us how to live it, value it, and venerate it. That is something between you and me.