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A letter to… new mothers, from a health visitor


You open the door with a smile, I see you are tired. You walk slowly and carefully. I wonder if you are in pain. I notice you are dressed, you’re wearing makeup. I wonder if this is for my benefit. Probably.

I sit and do my paperwork, conscious of the long lists of visits that will follow this one. There are a million things that I want to say to you.

I want to tell that you didn’t need to put on makeup, you didn’t even need to get dressed – certainly not on my account. I want to tell you that I know you have never felt less sexy in your life, less like you. I know you feel as if you have been hit by a bus. You didn’t expect this. None of us do.

You talk to me about breastfeeding. I want to tell you that, for some women, it just doesn’t happen. I also want to tell you that something so important now won’t feel so important in a few years’ time. Fed is best, regardless of how.

I want to tell you that motherhood in all its glory is incredibly hard. It is all-encompassing. I want to tell you that in between the incredible, grateful moments are the bleak ones. You will mourn your old life. You will have moments when you wish you could freeze time and everyone in it, just for a day. Just to be left alone. It is normal to feel that way.

I want to tell you that sometimes wine really is the best medicine. That everything feels better after moaning to friends over a glass – never feel guilty about that.

You apologise for the mess, the piles of washing. I want to tell you that I can only see love and family in the chaos. That your house already feels like a home. I want to tell you that the housework can wait. Your baby can’t.

Follow what your instincts tell you to do: hold and cuddle your precious girl as much as you can, because secure babies turn into confident toddlers. You know what’s best for your baby.

What I really want to tell you is that some of the babies we see are not being fed or clothed. Their home is cold and damp, and I knock on that door and feel a wave of dread for the child inside and the life they are living.

Soon, you won’t need to see me very often and, for that, I am glad. Because you are doing brilliantly. But please know that I am here if you need me, every step of the way.

Source: TheGuardian