I tearfully sent off my nearly four-year old PPD baby to preschool yesterday. She beamed with excitement and pride as she marched off to “big girl” school with her older sister, a first grader. I spent my day alternating between sorrow and happiness. My sweet baby girl is no longer a baby. My postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety manifested itself in a hyper connection with her. I worry that I have damaged her by being so sick the entire first half of her first year of life.
I felt so helpless as I saw her uncertain face and her tiny hand waving at her dad and I as we dropped her off. I wanted so badly to take her in my arms and just keep her small. This childhood transition rocked me to my core. It exposed all of those old feelings of inadequacy, guilt and shame that ruled my psyche with an iron fist during my darkest days. I decided instead to write a long letter to my daughter’s teacher. I wanted this new teacher to understand how sometimes my early experiences of being my baby girl’s mom cloud my perception. My sweet girl loved her first day, and she told me all about it for a half hour. Her joy and excitement were contagious. Her favorite part of her day was music class. She skipped into school this morning with the confidence of someone twice her age. I know that she knows how much I love her. I hope that she always remembers that. I will keep reminding myself to give myself grace during these milestones and transitions. I am a good enough mom, and I am exactly the mom my sweet girl needs.
I offer this to my fellow Warrior Moms. Give yourself grace during these childhood transitions. Know that you are exactly the mom that your baby needs. No one else can take your place. Do not forget to bring Kleenex and sunglasses so that your baby will see your lovely smile behind the tears.