Dear Britt, (and every other ambitious woman who wants children),
I want you to know that becoming a mother is life changing. It is the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. You will learn more about yourself, both your strengths and weaknesses, as you become a mom than you could ever imagine.
You will not become a mother in the way you expect. It will be a long, devastating and expensive road. But that journey will only instill in you a resolve and determination that motherhood is worth the sacrifice. You will also appreciate your baby even more because of that hard work.
This picture from 2019 was taken on my birthday in NYC after over years of loss while trying to have a baby.
I know you worry often about how you will integrate your job into this new phase of your life. I know you've worried about it since you were a teenager. It's a fair concern, given that women are often told that their decisions have to be so either/or. We are not shown good examples (don't all working moms in the media look miserable and stressed?!), we are not supported and we are often told the choice between motherhood and working will be too hard to make. We are also asked too many questions too early that should be directed at both partners, not just the woman giving birth.
It will be hard. You will shed many tears as you feel torn in so many directions.
But you will adapt. You will evolve. And you will constantly be in awe of how much you juggle. All of those women who told you that becoming a mom would only make you more efficient? They weren't wrong.
There will be days you miss the old you. The polished, poised and professional version of yourself will be a disheveled mess and sometimes, especially in the newborn fog, you'll laugh until you cry about who you used to be. You'll wonder, "I used to lead long meetings with intense executives, run press conferences with famous politicians, and manage large teams, and now all I can do is finish one email during nap time?!" but with time, your time management skills will improve.
You'll appreciate the time you spend doing what you're good at because it constantly reminds you how much you adore your child. The new you is beautiful in new ways, stretch marks and all,, and still holds the same dreams and goals as the woman she was before she gave birth.
In fact, there is even more clarity. You'll become more resolute about what you want your life to feel and look like. You will miss some of the independence, and you'll be tired. Really tired. Yet in many ways your soul will feel rested for the first time.
Your career won't look at all like you thought it would (but hasn't that always been the case?!), and with time things will sort themselves out. You'll be surprised how in some ways things don't change much at all, and in other ways your past career success will feel like another lifetime.
Old self... don't be scared of how things will change. Trust that even when there isn't much of a path forward with a lot of courage things will work out.