What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post was submitted bMelissa Uhles.

Photo by: Janko Ferlic 

Dear Soon-to-be-Mama,

I just read this book from the library called, “”The Mask of Motherhood””. I loved it and wished I had read it while I was pregnant. The premise is just that the whole journey from pregnancy onward, has joy but is also fraught with challenges that many mothers don’t talk honestly about. This was written in the 90’s and may be less true with the emergence of millions of mommy-bloggers but it got me thinking.

When it comes to making all of first time mom choices (birth-plans, breastfeeding or not, disposable or cloth diapers, organic baby food, pre-school and daycare) you just have to follow your gut instincts and do what works best for you.

I’m only telling you this because I think I spent too much time feeling guilty or working myself into a lather about all the choices I was making and then felt secretly judged in certain situations, maybe I wasn’t even being judged by anyone but myself. Instead I wish I’d had the confidence (that maybe second time moms have) not care what anyone thought.

If I had it to do over I would have wished for more confidence and strength. I wish I’d spoken up for myself more, with my midwife at appointments and with hospital staff when I was in labor. I felt so vulnerable being in charge of growing this human and keeping him safe, I just wanted to do everything “”right””, whatever that is.

Regarding birth, so much is truly out of our hands, I think the best birth is one that ends with a healthy baby and a healthy mama. And then the real work begins at home where I think the brightest and the darkest sides of ourselves are unearthed as we figure out how to do the best we can for this person we grew and then threw into the world.

Girl, you’ve got this! Hugs to you and your baby bump.