I know your little Archie is a few months old, and if we actually knew each other it would be considered remiss of me to not have sent my congratulations and a small gift before now. But yesterday on my television I saw you, the mother in the princess, and wanted you to know that you have been seen.
We have little in common except the fact that we are both mothers. We both live in the UK and we would both really like to live the best lives we can.
I am contacting you now as I have been on this planet for a longer time than you, and I have been a mother and known many mothers over the last 40 years. So my gifts to you are my very best wishes and a little insight into the changes that you might be noticing.
There are several things that I would wish for you as you continue to grow as a mother.
I wish you time to eat, to sleep and to move your body and stretch your mind. I wish you a feeling of safety, a knowledge that you have choices, a sense at the end of the day that you have achieved something. I wish you the time and space to give and receive the attention YOU need, and the feeling of close connection with your loved ones. I wish you time for yourself and time with others. And I wish you respect for who you are and what you share with the world. Simply put, I wish you the support to meet your emotional needs as you are going through these early days of motherhood.
I would also like to share with you something that has taken me 40 years to understand - Matrescence. We have all heard of Adolescence and know the mind and body changes that we go through. We accept that these changes are permanent and generally beneficial to us as a species. We also know that it can be a time for forgetfulness and confusion as our brains take time to rewire and develop. Matrescence - the period of growing from a woman to a mother, similarly is a time of rapid change to mind and body - both the physical and mental changes are obvious, but only if we look.
You may or may not recognise some or all of the changes of your baby boosted brain.
You may have a heightened awareness of your 5 senses as you scan the environment to protect and provide for Archie. You might also be aware of your 6th sense (mother’s intuition) developing.
You may notice that you are being more efficient as you retain many things in your head at one time, (or realise that you are feeling overwhelmed by the same)
You may feel stronger in your drive to ‘be there’ for your child and your partner.
You may feel even more keenly the causes that are dear to your heart.
You also may notice how you pick up on others reactions and behaviours as your brain develops more ‘emotional intelligence’.
These brain enhancements that come with motherhood have long been denied. But these strengths are needed in our world more than ever before.
When I saw you on recent television appearances I saw how you connected to the women and children. What I didn’t see was the nurturing support of other mothers in your entourage. I hope they are there. Mothers are the people who can guide you through this journey. Matrescence takes months or years, just as adolescence does.
You will have been told when you first boarded a plane with Archie that you should put your own oxygen mask on first. This is a great metaphor for motherhood, but you don’t have to find your own oxygen mask, there is no shame in asking another mother to help you.
Wishing you much love and laughter,
P.S. If you know anyone else who might like a letter like this - do pass it on.