From what I understand, when the majority of pregnant women nest, they are inclined to clean maniacally — to set up for the imminent new life slated to enter their homes, and to do it quickly. My experience with nesting, however, has felt more metaphoric. I’ve cleaned out my iPhoto library, cleared off my desktop and deleted feckless iPhone notes. While going through these notes sometime last month, I came across one that contained a single sentence, dated April 13th, 2015. It read: “Can you love your life but hate yourself?”

I don’t remember exactly where I was when I wrote it, whether I ever tried to answer that question, what triggered it that day or if I shared it with anyone. But I remember distinctly how it felt — how it feels — to be wrapped up in a whirlwind of guilt and shame, but also gratitude. Everything seems good, but you’re stuck in a very dark cave where no one can see you, not even yourself, wondering if you’ll ever get out.

The good news is that you will get out, whether or not you do the work on yourself, because as I have mentioned before, no state of existence — whether jubilance or misery — is permanent.

The bad news, though, is that if you’ve ever fallen into this cave, you are predisposed to fall again.

Last Friday night, I had dinner at my parents’ apartment on the Upper East Side. My mom asked what I thought of the freshly cleaned parquet wood floors, but I couldn’t even tell they’d been cleaned. It was a lovely dinner. The food was delicious and I drank a sip of Abie’s wine. We spoke about Netflix and our summer plans, how our weeks had been, and I laughed recklessly with my brothers like we were kids again.

Out of the cave, I thought, I have definitely been.

At the end of the night, after we got up to leave and stood by the entryway, concluding family big talk (we are not a group of small-talkers), I felt a small rush of liquid drip down my leg. A small rush became a full-blown gush and before long, I was standing in a puddle about the size of a hula hoop.

My brothers, dad and I cracked up while my mom and my husband knelt to inspect the puddle I’d created. Was this it? Had my water broken? It appeared that way given its consistency and lack of smell. So we did what we had been instructed to do if something like this were to happen and went to the hospital.

On the way, I saw the life I had known flash before me. I thought about how all the plans I had set for the weekend would be no longer, how the next time I went home, my single self would be three people, all for whom I would forever be responsible.

Can people change? Will my selfishness go away?

An hour and two speculum exams later, our theory about both the fluid’s consistency and smell were proven false. What I had done, really, was pee a grand pee on the freshly cleaned floors of my parents’ apartment.

We were home by 11:30 p.m., babies still in utero, and by 11:50, we were in bed. I could feel Abie’s body growing still. He was about to doze off when I let out a thick cry. It was the kind of cry that shakes your entire body. Fluid leaked out of every orifice on my face and my sobs were so pronounced, distilled in such a patchy cadence that I could barely speak. Why was I crying? What was wrong? And then it all came out.

First, fear, because I have no idea what the hell to expect. Am I even capable of being a good mother? I am such a selfish person. Will my selfishness go away? Can people really change?

Second, nostalgia, for my life before babies. The quiet Saturday mornings drinking coffee at the kitchen table with Abie, overlooking a sea of newspapers. The ability to leave home on a whim without thinking even once about staying back — why would I? The spontaneity, the maintenance of so little responsibility even when my responsibilities felt so huge.

Nostalgia, also, for the time I’ve spent with these children alone. The fact that all I’ve had to do to take care of them is take care of myself — to eat well, rub my stomach, sing to them and promise that even though I can never protect them from the hurricane of a full life, I will always do my best to remind them that I am their home, and that home will never deceive or fail them.

I felt gratitude, third, the heart-wrenching kind, because my body proved it could do this even after I was so sure it couldn’t.

Fourth, guilt. I blamed my inability to conceive on my career, but now all I can think about is how much I cherish my work, how badly I suspect I will need it and how bullish I must be about succeeding in it.

And finally, there was shame — so much shame, because I have wanted this so badly for so long, yet here I am, petrified to become a mother. Sometimes I wake up and wonder to myself, What if the routine of it all downright depresses me? What if I fall back into the cave and just can’t … get … out?

The final days of pregnancy have felt like an impassioned tornado. I’ve been forced to hold multiple conflicting emotions in a single place and resolve them, one by one, as if necklaces tangled in knots. Only, that premise is flawed — conflicting emotions are always wrapped up in each other. That tornado is actually discomfort manufactured by anxiety, which just can’t handle this level of uncertainty.

Before you make a big decision that will fundamentally change your life, you’ll often find a weird, lukewarm pit at the bottom of your belly that feels like an identity crisis. Do I really want this? you might ask. You were so sure you did, but now you don’t know.

They say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, you might think. But there’s a thing about that, too, because if it ain’t broke right now, invariably, it will break. And if it doesn’t, it’s still broken, because the only thing that needs repair more than an imminent shatter is one’s addiction to a comfort zone — stasis.

You cling to the past, and the various familiarities that may have heretofore defined you, because they’re safe and you know them. They’re nothing like The Future — the ominous, the treacherous, the unexplained and the unexplored. This is how I felt before I got married, like I’d been begging the earth to make Abie fall in love with me again, but once he did, I was too scared to walk down the aisle.

I couldn’t understand why no one spoke about this, but once we were actually married, I got it: When you’re lucky, you forget quickly. The future, now present, totally shits on the past. Soon, the present becomes the past, a bank of burgeoning memories and a new life. It is intoxicating.

So here I am. Still pregnant and clenching my butt cheeks, biting my nails and racking my brain to figure out if I’m a masochist with no idea of who I am and what I want because of the fear and shame and guilt and nostalgia. But by now, I should know better — I have to surrender, unclench my butt cheeks and, you know, let the fluid flow.

Collage by Emily Zirimis.

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  • Cynthia Schoonover

    These are normal feelings. Giving birth is scary, because it’s different for every woman.

  • You’ve got this, Leandra!

  • Julie May

    That could well be the most beautiful thing you’ve ever shared.

  • Alicia

    What you’re feeling is so normal. You’ll probably feel something similar when the babies do come, wondering why you’d have given up your previous life for this one. I wasted so much time comparing my experience to others’, or to my own expectations of what I thought I *should* be like as a mother, or what babies *should* be like, which was an exercise in futility and deeply painful. Hang in there, and know that you were made to do this. xo

  • Abby

    I’ve been where you are! My twins are 15 months old now. Of course it’s challenging but it’s also the most rewarding, indescribable thing. Being in that in-between space between old and new identities is hard. But once they’re here, it’s…amazing. Accept all help and take good care of yourself.

  • megan

    In my experience, these pre-birth feelings of EVERYTHING are just getting you ready for motherhood feelings. It’s intense – in love and warmth but also in the less-shiny, smiley, rainbow-y feelings. Motherhood is all about getting comfortable in not knowing anything and taking refuge in the histories of women who have done it before us and along side of us. It will be a total poop show but it will be awesome.

  • Emily M

    The fact that you wrote this article is proof enough that you’ll be a wonderful mother! The greatest thing my mom has ever taught me is that you have to be your own before you can ever be anybody else’s. I see that so clearly here and think that feelings of fear around life changes like this are so much more the norm than most people are willing to admit.

    Also, your line about your body proving you wrong made me tear up. This is good and right and supposed to happen. Not without challenges, but you’re gonna be fantastic as a mom to those precious twins. They are lucky!

  • Laura S

    Like everyone else said, YOU GOT THIS. Or like my mom tells me all the time, YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS. It makes you a better mom to have all these feelings and self awareness. You are a multi-dimensional person – not just a mother. I had my baby in September and I was terrified of losing myself and becoming this new person – a mother. But I’m happy to report, I am still me, just with a beautiful baby boy. And I think being a mom makes me a better person, like being a complicated person makes me a better mom.

  • This was an incredibly moving piece, Leandra. I actually think I may be crying a little bit at my desk, because while I have never experienced this fear of “do I really want this?” in terms of anything as big as marriage or pregnancy, I’ve felt it in other situations. Not only is it scary, unnerving, and daunting, but it’s almost heartbreaking to feel as though something you have wanted for so long and have tried so hard to attain might actually not be what you wanted, or that it may not turn out as you originally hoped. It’s not a feeling that I would wish on anyone, but it is comforting to know that other people feel the same way, and that we will all get through it.

    You’re going to be such an incredible mother, I have no doubts! In the words of the other women in the comments, you’ve got this! We are ALL rooting for you!

  • Alejandra Vazquez

    I’m about to choose where I go to grad school and weirdly I have been experiencing the same emotions. Thank you Leandra for sharing this and making me feel less alone in my own journey.
    We have got this

    • Christina Ospina

      Thank you for sharing this! I was debating whether to post my own anxiety about grad school, because it’s been on my mind so much lately.

      I have been thinking about it for years, and I was always so sure it’s what I wanted, and what I needed. Now that I’ve been accepted into a program, moving away from the city I’ve made my home, and away from the friends that have become my family, is SO much scarier. It’s comforting to hear that big changes make other people hesitate too.

      • TK

        I can relate to this so much! Moving from London to LA in 4 months straight from my undergrad to grad, while on a long distance relationship and I am scared sh*tless. As you said, its really comforting to see how other people feel in similar situations. xx

        • LM

          Hi guys, I really understand where you are coming from! Moved to the UK (from Belgium) for my Master degree. My boyfriend who used to live 10 minutes by bike from me would be an 8-10 hour drive now. I cried so much the day I left and had many many rough moments but it all worked out great! The thing about starting somewhere new is the discovery of yourself and a new place. I suprised myself that year in the positive way: I learned to cherish my own country, I valued my friends and family more and I became one of those independant go-getters that I always admired. I ended up getting a high distinction and made a few life-long friends. Me and my boyfriend (now fiancé) grew closer together as you are forced to talk instead of watch tv/sleep. I hope your experience will be likewise. Just remember that even when it’s all going down the gutter, why you are there and what it will do for your future. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be 🙂

          • Christina Ospina

            Thank you, thank you for your words of encouragement and sharing your experience!! I need the support. Love the MR community 🙂

        • Christina Ospina

          Yes, I’ll be diving into long distance too!! I’m experiencing pre-separation anxiety, but I’m so glad I’m not alone T.T <3

    • Amanda

      omg I chose where I’m going for grad school and booked my plane ticket (it’s in a different country) and honestly I’m even more scared now than I was before I chose

  • Inna Raykhman

    i was also scared before having twins, not having any idea of what to expect. but it happens and u do what is needed. there is a lot of to be said for maternal instinct and the biology of your body taking over. everyone is different, but for me, the breastfeeding happened just as it needed to, and there was enough, and i took care of them just as i had to. one thing that defines motherhood for me is that u just do it. u might be tired or sick, or just generally not feeling it, but when ur child is hungry or crying u just do it, u get up, u comfort them, u feed them. and it almost happens without ur direct supervision as it were. for me motherhood has been a v out of body experience. i watch myself be a mother, a good mother to my kids and it still shocking ) they r almost 5 at this point. not to mention that having ur mother nearby, someone who has already raised a couple of children and hasn’t killed anyone in the process is a huge bonus )

    • Laura S

      Yes! You just do it. It is survival mode in the beginning and then a constant state of “doing”. But it becomes second nature. Every day is different and either really hard or wonderful or both, but regardless, you keep going. And its wonderful. Exhausting but wonderful.

  • Knapness

    Your forgetting one thing that you couldn’t possibly know. You get a baby. Or two

  • Gemma Wylie

    My twins had me in hospital with pre-eclampsia two days before a wedding I was really looking forward to. It was in Edinburgh Castle and was going to be a last night out as a twosome for my husband and I. The next few days I shed a lot of tears of fear of what was to come, fear of losing myself and fear for my babies. They arrived safe and well and I didn’t lose anything! I’m still me and they are my world. Good luck, this next adventure will be the best one yet!…xxx

  • Selena Delgado

    Transitioning is difficult. How you meticulously described the feeling of having the lukewarm pit in your stomach…. YES, I hear you, I see you. To know that this FEELS difficult is healthy… feel it, every ounce of it. Practice Tonglen in your meditation breathing, this has helped me during these moments. My love to you all.

  • Samantha Serbus

    It’s the fact that you write stuff like this that will make you an amazing mother! Fear is normal; just don’t let it dictate how you feel about yourself and your abilities. You really do got this!

  • Jill

    Several months from now you will look back on your life pre babies and wonder how you ever lived your life without them. Having a baby (or babies) is like falling in love. Just like you were in love with your husband you will be in love with your babies but in an intense way you never expected. All moms wonder if they are doing it right. You will do things right some times and you won’t other times, but your kids will be fine. Enjoy your first moments as a new mom as much as you can. It goes by so fast.

  • Its so weird the present is the past soon, you are awesome!

  • Sien

    You do you, Leandra!

  • Nora

    I also find the unknown freaking terrifying. Sometimes to my determent, I enjoy the “known” more than the unknown. It’s hard to overcome that.

  • Joy

    All these feelings sound familiar to me. Children change everything, and not everything for the better. But you will also have experiences that you would never have without them. Giving birth was horrible and amazing and ugly and beautiful and I hated it and I loved it. It was an experience bigger then myself. I would say: Try to enjoy it, not just endure it. It is an experience that won’t happen that often to many of us. And yet it will change your life so profoundly. I wish you all the best. You can do this. You might even enjoy it.

  • ann socha

    Leandra, your feelings are so normal and perfectly valid. On the night I was induced, my husband and I sat in the waiting room at the hospital feeling – of all things after a miscarriage and a year and a half or “trying” – sad. We had been so happy up until this point and we were afraid that parenthood would ruin our lives. It didn’t. I’m not gonna say that having kids is easy, especially since we have zero family living nearby, but it has brought a new richness and depth to our lives. You are already a great mom. Best wishes to you and the family. 💗

  • Beccy E.

    So relatable. First off, I’m a twin. Yes, it is double the work, but I’m pretty sure my parents didn’t regret having us. 🙂 On another note, I am engaged and getting married in 6 months…and I’m scared to death! I was always pretty happy with my guy, and wanted to marry him so badly, but once he proposed, it was different. I’m still struggling but I know I will get through it and will be a-ok. This is life; it’s unpredictable, and frickin’ annoying at times, but worth every moment.

  • Jay Fowlds

    It is scary, you are right to feel everything that you describe, and all at once or rolling nauseatingly back to back. It will be the best and hardest thing you ever do. Your lives will expand infinitley but equally in both directions: happiness-sadness. You are levelling up!

  • Ema Dell’Orto

    Only there is one awful thing in being a mom : being completely responsible for someone else. Or, in this case, sometwo else. I was terrified the first night alone with my 3 days old kid.

  • Luisa

    Beautifully written and explained every cm of my 7months pregnant self. It ll definetely go into my next therapy session. Thanks Leandra, as you are putting in words what the vast majority of us women are afraid to say. And also so true, the cave, the forgetting about the fear (happened the same with marriage too). At least now I know that if i get lucky and i am to forget the fear i am feeling now, i know where to go to read and remind myself of. Good luck, Luisa

  • Thank you for being so open Leandra, WE’RE ALL ROOTING 4 U

  • onward

    I felt the same way. I remember sitting in the kitchen sobbing about the life I had lost, days before my daughter was born. Even though my body had been turned upside down for nine months, it was just before it actually became me + one baby girl on the outside that it finally sunk in. And then I dried my tears and went back to organizing the spices. Four an a half years later, my life has never gone back to those days. My body is different, my priorities are different, my goals are different. But I wouldn’t go back. (Well maybe for one night of deep sleep that goes past 6:30am, but..) You got this. And we got you.

  • Wow, amazing piece Leandra.

  • Basil

    It took us ages to conceive, nearly 3 years, and in the end we got there via IVF. I was SO desperate to become a mother, so imagine my shock in the weeks after my son was born that I kept on thinking “what the hell have we done?” I love him completely, and more and more each day, but having a baby is one of the biggest changes you can go through in life. I also felt so trapped. After his week of paternity leave, my husband went back to work and couldn’t pretty much continue his life as normal. I couldn’t, particularly as I was breast wedding.
    BUT that time when they’re so dependant on you is really short. The life I had before is gone, but the one I have now is SO much better. I now have a three month old as well, and this time (because I know it’s not forever), I’m trying to enjoy the newborn bit more, having her close to me all the time, sniffing her yogurt smelling breath, squishing her cheeks.

    Becoming a mother is such a tornado of emotion and changes, but 1. It gets easier and 2. You got this

  • “I will always do my best to remind them that I am their home, and that home will never deceive or fail them.” I practically burst into tears at my desk.

    • Tania

      Its a lucky thing to call one’s mom home and my mom is my home. And wherever she lives is where my mail will go until I purchase property.

      But seriously, there is no blueprint for any area in life. Growing out of our comfort into a new level/role is painful, healthy and a much disguised blessing.

      I wish you a safe delivery Leandra and I wish you and Abie all the best in this new chapter!

  • Superdum

    After my doctor told me he wanted to induce the following day I sat in the Taco Bell parking lot listening to I’m Yours by Jason Mraz on the radio and I sobbed for all of the same reasons. I feel for you and I’m also excited for you as a survivor of baby panic. Lots of love!

  • Gene Day

    I agree that you just do what you have to because you must. And this won’t be the last time you sob uncontrollably in your near future, I think it’s a bit of a natural pressure relief valve during the pre and post partum time. Good luck ,and don’t forget that asking for help when you need it is nothing but smart.

  • This is so beautiful! You’re going to be a wonderful mother!

  • Kat

    So beautifully written, and really striking a chord for me. Thank you for sharing. For what it’s worth I think the fact that you worry about being a good parent means you should be ok.

  • Thanks for writing this. I appreciate so much when a successful person admits to be selfish. I’m selfish, too. That’s me, I can’t help and I don’t even want to.
    I think every mother-to-be, at a certain point, is afraid of the huge change a kid (or two) will bring in her life. It’s normal. Who doesn’t admit is superficial or hypocrite.
    I liked so much reading this because, even if I won’t have children, I can relate to the way you feel.

  • Alexandra Malmed


  • Samantha s

    I find so much beauty in the fact that, all of us people, across the world, with very different lives and cultures and realities are like “yup, life is hard and beautiful and awful and amazing” – being human is so damn hard! I’m so glad I’m not alone.

  • tinygoldenpins

    All my warm wishes are heading your way. It is, really, a weird time. I remember when my baby was a week or so old, breastfeeding her in the back of our car on a warm spring day. We were in the downtown of a small-ish Bay Area town and all around us, people were doing Saturday: sitting in bars and cafes, skateboarding, etc. etc. I felt like an old granny. All my birth euphoria had left me and I felt this overwhelming loss smack dab in the middle of the greatest joy I’d ever experienced. It was a definite, “what now?” moment. Having a baby is everything and everything is life. You will continue to have a life and, trust me, you will become a much more confident person, a stronger one, and all your perspectives begin to shift. There’s something about pushing a human being out of your body that makes the things you used to worry about, be afraid of (like public speaking) just seem from another time. Enjoy the time with your new baby and don’t worry about feeling all the feelings.

  • Annam

    Yes, unclench, take some dark-coloured pyjamas and do what the lovely Midwives tell you to! That is push when they say push and not before. (I did not do this, but it was fine.) By the way, in my experience, babies love spontaneity and even quietness. Thinking of you my abstract friend, x x anna

  • ❤️ 😗

  • cici

    Crying RN. But really, though. I’m currently pregnant and experience this wave of emotions on a daily basis – sometimes multiple times a day. I can only imagine how pronounced it’ll be closer to my due date. What helps me are things like your piece, Leandra – stories that reveal the difficulties and joys of motherhood, because it’s clear that it will be filled with both. So, I thank you for sharing this.

    Speaking of little things to glom on to when scared or depressed… today, it was this video from The Today Show (seriously!) that showed the hosts greeting their children after two weeks away at The Olympics. It pulled me out of my state, and I became so excited for a little one to run home to. (Or maybe it’s just the hormones. That’s very, very possible). Anyway, it may help you as you sift through your feelings:

  • Sarah B

    I can relate to all of your feelings during this period. It will be a dramatic change – but as you imagine, you won’t look back, only forward. It will hard and wonderful and funny and messy and all of those things over and over again. Your thoughtfulness and wit will undoubtedly serve you well as a mother. As everybody else said – you’ve got this.

  • Jeanne

    Motherhood is scary. Parenting is scary. The best thing you can do is hold abie’s hand and handle it with him. No one can help make you feel better. Only your partner- the one who helped make the babies- can really bunker down with you in these and future tough times. Bunker down together and trust your instinct. You’ll look back at this post and roll your eyes because it will seem so self indulgent.

  • JMaclin

    You were meant to share this. I am due in May and boy do I understand. All of it. Thank you for being so honest, I just took the deepest sigh of relief that I’m not alone in all of the feelings associated with not just pregnancy but life passing by and the shame you can feel and the trouble placing it.

  • TK

    As always, beautifully written. It is okay to feel all the emotions right now. It is okay to feel overwhelmed, and guilty and feeling like you will go badsh*t crazy at any moment. But really, you are one of the most raw and strong people out there. You GOT this. as soon as you hold your babies you may not know exactly what to do, but i am SURE your gut and heart will lead the way.

  • Kizzy

    Surrender. Sweet surrender.

  • celinecelines

    Leandra! Leandra my love my habibti! This is beautiful! Life is all this and more <3 This is a passage, and you are so right to immortalize it in writing, I did too, and reading back I laugh-cry-snort on how life's beautiful roller coaster has taken me up down all around, to find myself. Because that is what matters: to know yourself a little bit more each day, and to shine wirh love. Caring for yourself needs to remain a priority, because without mothership the ship sinks, you are now mama-sunshine! Mama the great. God bless you and the two new humans you are about to birth into this beautiful world! Sending love love love love love! So much love! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  • 333

    Remember it’s ok to feel everything you are feeling, and don’t judge yourself too quickly, not everyone becomes a mother at the same time. It took me a little while but i do love it now.
    Sometimes the routine will be depressing, but it will also be very beautiful 🙂

  • Vana

    Lol at clench your butt cheeks. This is so relatable. I had my first child at 17 and it was like “woah you really f&*@$ up kid. Say by to your life!” It worked out and for my second one in my 20’s it was like “I have a routine and now I will start all over again after having mastered moving through life with one so seamlessly.” I’m alive and that worked out too. Kids bring out this inner beast and motivation you didn’t know was there. You got this and the best is yet to come! Oh and self care and time alone after you have them will feel like selfishness, but it’s not!

  • Mariana

    Dear Leandra
    Do not worry.
    Every single piece will fall into place.
    I felt a lot of this, and one day, it finally hit me: I had everything under control.
    You’ll be a fantastic mother.
    Relax. Life will lead the way.

  • PregnantinPortland

    We are all in your corner, Leandra! PS: I’m 35 weeks pregs and have loved ‘sharing’ this journey together. Keep rubbing that belly and keep your chin up!

  • Stephanie

    Beautifully written! Your feelings are real, normal, and not wrong. People will encourage you and tell you you’ll be great, and you will be, but it may feel like you’re being placated right now. It’s a huge change that’s about to happen, and with change comes a nostalgia for what was. I won’t promise you it will be great when the babies come because there will definitely be days when it is not. But there will also be days when it is great! You will find your new normal, a new dimension of yourself. Congratulations on your growing family!

  • LeeAnne Shaffer Osborn

    Dear Leandra, in reponse to this:
    “What if the routine of it all downright depresses me? What if I fall back into the cave and just can’t … get … out?”

    It’s scary to know with certainty that the dark cave is still there, waiting, even after you’ve been in the light for a while. Be confident that you’ll spend most of your time in the light, even if you do fall back in there sometimes. The light is your default; it’s where you belong; it’s where equilibrium will eventually, but always, bring you back to.

    But more importantly, recognize that the post-partum cave is likely to be very different from the cave you described, and that if you find yourself there, it’s a place many other new mothers have been and you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out for help. It’s not a place you should pressure yourself to get out of alone; it’s definitely not a place for mute, grin-and-bear-it suffering. The moment you smell that cave, call your ob-gyn; talk to your female relatives and experienced mom-friends; hire a doula to carry the lantern and guide you out while you’re trying to stay steady on your new-mama feet — anything it takes for you to feel supported.

    I hope everything goes as smoothly as possible for you & your babies over the next few nerve-wracking days of anticipation and through delivery!

  • Boo Yakasha

    Just moved into a new house and the dishwasher “peed” all over the kitchen floor last night. I had that thought too: my long, happy apartment life is over, now what?! I’m feeling that trembly feeling in my gut right along with you. Thank you for describing this so well. And I just noticed my right butt cheek has been clenched since I woke up this morning. Slowwwwwly trying to unclench now too.

  • Skye

    I love this. This was all my fears. There will be times you lose yourself in the daily life of babies, it’s inevitable when you love someone so much and their needs are so great and they are just so god damn needy! The days seem so long but the weeks are so short. And next minute your head is above water and you can breathe and reflect. Remember you are still there, under all the babyness and you will find yourself again. Love your honesty Leandra, I’ll be hoping for a smooth delivery for you and praying my little bean sticks (from another mother with sucky fertility). Xx

  • Anna

    I’ve not really commented here much, but sending you love and strength.
    You’ve got this!

  • Sleepyhead

    I peed on the floor too in my third trimester of pregnancy, only it was in front of a group of coworkers who told a joke and I was so humiliated. Meh. I don’t think you’ll get bored with the “routine of it all” because most new mom’s think there will be a routine and that delusion gets blown out of the water pretty quickly. Your life is probably more routine now then it will be after the babies come. Enjoy your weekend plans!

  • Mora

    This is so honest and so beautiful. Thank you so much. That is how I felt just before giving birth to my beautiful daughter, and how I still feel some days now, even when she’s two, the light of my life, and makes me a better person everyday. If you can feel, think and share this, you already are a great mom, and a great human being. Lots of love to you!!!
    And maybe a little advise: get a postpartum Doula 😊💜

  • HollyO

    ❤you got this.

  • cass estes

    I was certainly a bit nervous before the big day and it, of course, did not go according to my drug-free natural childbirth plan. But when I saw my beautiful daughter for the first time, it all came together. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but you will have a whole new sense of purpose. You having time to dwell on you is greatly reduced. There is always a give and take, the hardest thing for me overall has been my loss of independence. I am an introvert who likes to recharge alone…the struggle is real when you literally have a little person clutching at your body 24/7. The sacrifice is totally worth it and my daughter brings so much joy into my world. Just wait, you will be more in love than you ever thought you could be. Tears of joy!

  • Anna

    This was beautiful. Thanks for sharing this! I went through all of your same emotions the days before giving birth to my first son, a year and a half ago. As it turned out, I am a pretty awesome mom but I didn’t know that until my son was born and it all became so natural (which doesn’t mean easy!!!) Now, I’m weeks away from giving birth to my second son and I’m having the exact same worries, fears and feelings, wondering if I can be as good of a mother to two boys as I’ve been to one. I think what you are going through is normal and, above all, healthy. It shows that you have given and are giving to the pregnancy and matherhood journey the right relevance and. You will be great! Best of luck!

  • Ashlyn Grace

    I’m literally in high school and this made me cry because (although obviously not about things like pregnancy and marriage haha) I just wrote in my journal this morning how scared I was about change and how I was feeling that achy nostalgia you’re talking about. Glad I’m not alone, and so stinking excited for you to go through this hard and amazing journey (and to read all about it in future MR posts😉)

  • makdre

    I don’t know about anyone else, but the graphic at the top is my new screensaver. GO LEANDRA!!!!

  • Daniela Fernandes

    OMG Leandra, I swear to God: every single time you write something I just think that we are twins or even the same person! How can I feel exactly the same way you do every single time???

  • Daniela Fernandes

    OMG Leandra, I swear to God: every single time you write something I just think that we are twins or even the same person!!!! How can I feel exactly the same way you do every single time???

  • Tammy

    Immediately sending this to everyone I know because holy shit what a beautiful piece of writing.

  • Kellianne Benson

    This gave me feels. I’m sitting at my favorite bar during a meticulously planned self care day. I worked, went to see my chiropractor, and visited a float spa prior to ending up here. I have been gloriously alone. And I can’t remember the last time I did this for myself? I’m two kids and 8 years deep into parenthood. Kids change everything. You have every right to be terrified. You’re about to witness the death of your old self. It’s painful and some days you’re going to wonder wtf you’ve gotten yourself into. But, you know what? Once the old self dies off, you rise like a phoenix from the ashes of your former life, with magical powers. Plus, you get to fall in love with the most fantastic new humans, who are born without all the damage we collect in life, who are truly their essential selves. There is NOTHING better. No better feeling. I promise you, it’s worth all the things lost.

    • Tatiana

      Nothing wrong with this…but do any mums disagree with it? Is motherhood ever just kind of what you expected or is it always some kind of paradigm shattering rebirth?

      • Kellianne Benson

        This is a legit question. My second kid was just kind of happily tossed in the pile. He actually made my life easier, in a way. And I didn’t realize just how difficult my first baby was until I met my second! I think it’s possible for some to have an easy first experience and feel chill about it. But I don’t think it’s possible to not experience a pretty crazy paradigm shift. Might sound harsh, but I could barely stand to hang out with new moms after my own first 3 years. They are too HOLY SHIT about everything. If they are my best friends, I just drop off food and chill on our daily grind for a lil’ while. 😉

  • Patricia

    I feel the same, thank you for sharing this!

  • Joy Thompson

    Becoming a mother/having my daughter was the best worst thing to ever happen to me, or the worst best thing to ever happen to me, depending on the day. It’s god awful and so much work and also makes you weak in the knees with gratitude so many times a day. It will be terrible and it will be wonderful and you’ll discover things about yourself you didn’t know were there. I felt so many of these feelings two years ago before I became a mom (and when I was walking down the aisle 6 years ago!). It will all be worth it.

  • I am going to say something so far unpopular on this thread… I feel MORE myself than I did before kid. As if I grew into my identity or something. Becoming a madre has made me feel more confident, self assured and on top of my shit. Yes there are annoyances, inconveniences, etc. And yes, I have a lot of help.

    Just like you I have a tight knit family. My mother is a saint and watches my son every single day which allows my husband and I to pursue our demanding and exciting careers, I get to workout at my leisure and generally live a life of what some might call selfishness. We keep him up later than most of his peers, 9pm so that most nights when we get home from work we can have “pasta dates” as a family read about outer space and do other three-year-old boy activities.

    But at 33 weeks I wrote about my own major motherhood anxiety. About adjusting to the changes, reacting to the differences all while continuing to be the me I knew and loved pre baby: independent, stylish, occasionally selfish and irresponsible. This is what I wrote:

    ” Maybe it is just my youth I feel slipping away… But I see this new person entering the world and I think about losing my sense of self. I know I will be a good mother and nurture this kid into a smart, caring and confident person. I trust I will continue to be a good partner, friend and family focused person. That I will continue to work on projects and with people who inspire and reward me. That life is not over once you have kids. ”

    I knew it was not a new struggle or a special struggle. But I was not finding anyone else articulating how I was feeling. So much of what you find about motherhood online is one sided or polarizing. Thank you so much for articulating the complex and harsh realities of becoming a mother. So looking forward to your continued investigation of this hyper dimensional topic.

    And with that I am leaving my office, headed to the gym and then meeting girlfriends for Sushi, will kiss my bebo goodnight when I get home. xx

    • zivaramrami

      i feel more at ease in myself, too. for sure.

    • Ciccollina

      There is literally nothing wrong with this Lydia! You are allowed to feel like yourself in whatever form that may take!!

    • Even though it isn’t a new struggle, I realized after giving birth that it IS all still incredibly special no matter how many times women have given birth. We are goddesses. That is not to be taken lightly 👊🏾♥️

    • I have to chime in to also say that becoming a mother has also made me much more comfortable with myself. My son turns one on Saturday and while I didn’t necessarily feel that way the first few months, settling in as a mother is immensely gratifying. Go easy on yourself at first though- my goodness those hormones are intense. They will even out though, and you might find yourself so pleased with how clearly you start to see yourself.

  • Wow! This was deep.

  • zivaramrami

    this is beautiful. i am a mom and i still feel all the guilt, worry, shame and gratitude. i think the best we can offer our kids is the big love that is so natural to offer and transparency, to share the truth. you are already well on your way..

    • zivaramrami

      p.s. best advice ever offered? ask for help. kids cannot be raised in isolation and people like to feel needed.

  • Yasamin

    If and when you feel crazy after the birth, please know that it is 100% normal and that most women feel anxiety, OCD, emotional and overwhelmed. It is probably the most significant transformation a woman can experience. You will transform, there is another side and one day you’ll have adapted and all the more difficult, less pleasant emotions will have subsided. Like all change, it is a process. You’ll be laughing at the adorable, surprising quirkiness soon enough. So happy for you and really feel you on everything you wrote. Best to you and yours. ❤️🌈☀️

  • grace

    same. Same. SAME. More emotions are yet to come when the twins arrive. Some bad, some good. And you’ll still be alive, so will they. Time will pass and emotions / perspective keeps changing. It’s alright.

  • J

    I have followed your journey through the years, and when my husband and I were going through our own fertility issues, I would often go back and read your old posts to remind myself that we were not alone. A few months ago I found myself in my OB’s waiting room two days past my due date when I saw the post announcing your pregnancy. I immediately burst into tears of happiness, and then had to reassure my husband that everything was fine, and no, I didn’t know you in real life, I was just really emotionally invested in “an Instagram person.” Having come through the other side (granted it’s only been a few months and I still have a lifetime of mistakes to make) I can only say that you will be amazing and to trust yourself and take it day by day. B’sha tova!!!

  • Kristin

    I can’t imagine how you must be feeling after all you’ve been through—but it will be fine. Babies will live up to the hype. See Amelia’s article on what she learned from her serious relationship. Really almost the same—just a different sort of relationship with small people—esp the parts about sometimes longing for the single days and relationships/babies not fixing things. Also on ditching your friends. Cause having it all is a lie. But it’s pretty magical and you’ll be great; you’ll make some shifting of priorities and get in your baby squishes and newborn smells and maybe get less of some other stuff.

  • Kat

    Leandra, this is the best thing to read on a day like today, feeling the way like I do. Without a doubt, one of your best pieces. All the best for the next few days!!!

  • Laura Childers

    Love this! Please, please keep writing!

  • Elisa Dominguez

    Thank you so very much for sharing. Everything you are experiencing is completely on point when you are a first time parent, especially to twins. You’ve reminded me of what I went through and currently feel, think and still question about myself.

  • Jacks

    You’re going to be a great mom, a mom who will always put yourself second, its maternal instinct and it will kick in!

  • Erin

    We’ve been trying for 15 months, first IUI early next week. I go back and forth about it like maybe it didn’t work out naturally because I’m not meant to be a mom? Then I’m overcome with the idea of (finally) having a real family, with hardships, traditions, and all the complicated shit that goes along with it. You’ll be a wonderful mother. It’s obvious to everyone but ourselves I guess…I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds for you

  • Archana

    You got this !

    You can do this, with your humor intact and wits soaring. Go Leandra !

  • jenna

    You will do fine!
    I pushed a 9lb 8oz baby out.

    Here’s other stuff to think about –
    1) it is exhausting but you will get through it
    2) if people give you advice just nod and say “i’ll Think about it” and then don’t
    3) the first is the hardest – your hormones are dropping, you cry, you want to do everything right. But you will. I promise.
    4)you will sleep again. I promise.
    5) don’t worry if your milk doesn’t come in. Mine did, but I had friends who didn’t. If you can’t nurse do not let anyone make you feel bad.
    6) it is this waiting that is the hardest. What is birth like? Will I be a good mom – once that baby is in your arms it will not matter.
    7) best advice I got from nurse post partum take a baby diaper and put ice inside then put that thing inside your big maternity underwear it will feel wonderful 🙂

  • Jaime Mermelstein

    This was very touching. I once thought every step was the end of the story. The story never ends. Good luck nursing, if that is what you choos

  • Leandra. “What I had done, really, was pee a grand pee on the freshly cleaned floors of my parents’ apartment.” You will be the best mom.

  • Rainie

    I am so excited & happy for you. You’re going to be wonderful. Love & a sense of humour fix anything. If you’re mum’s laughing you know it’ll be ok & if you say you need a hug it’s the same. My girls were IVF & I was 41 & 43 you don’t think I worried ha! I’m 68 now & you fix duh days for me – you’re going to be terrific! Love & happiness to you.

  • Noa Merkin

    This is some incredible writing. Feeling very inspired today by the beauty of your thoughts and feelings.

  • Rach

    I love everything about this! Thank you for sharing. I’m about to begin fertility treatments just to get pregnant and I keep asking myself and doubting myself about “do I really want this?” when I know that I do. It’s the fear of the unknown and the start of a new life, but somehow knowing that this adventure will be worth every bit of the journey and you’ll come out the otherside even better!!!

  • I love that you peed on their floor.
    I gotta tell you this, so much so that I saw the header on this mail on my phone, cut off a conversation with my 18 year old and raced over here. Of course, after two decades of two kids, I have absolutely no memory of what deathless “this” I needed to tell you.
    Oh, yeah.

    You are in the thrall of hormones, the greatest motherfucking drugs in the entire universe. You are on the roller coaster of a lifetime, and it is entirely possible that when you give birth, those hormones will abandon you and drop you like a stone of heartbroken angst, a drop so hard and deep that the words ‘postpartum depression’ will mean nothing. That’s what it is, that’s all it is, but don’t think you can ‘tough it out’ on your own. Accept whatever aid anyone offers you. Like the man says, It Gets Better. And it actually does, but please make sure you have someone to check in with on this. I didn’t try to kill myself, but I sure thought about it a lot. And maybe you will be just fine, and that is a wonderful thing. Just sayin’, be prepared. Pay attention.

    You made people. That’s a superpower. Good luck and all the love in the world.

    • Chetna Singh

      Im just glad that there are other people here with 18 year olds!!

  • fluffinella

    just. crying. so excited to find out what’s next for you and baby and Abie <3

  • Tiffany Rey

    You will be so amazed at how instinctive motherhood is so put your worries to rest. In a months time you will know what each babies cry signals (yes, they will be for different reasons – hungry, sleepy, etc.). Oh and one big Mom tip, babies are supposed to cry and you will not always be able to soothe them in an instant so don’t beat yourself up when you can’t. It’s the only way they know how to communicate. And ironically just like you are contemplating on what life was like without them you will soon not be able to imagine how you ever lived with them not apart of it. You come from a great, loving family so half the battle is already won. Your foundation will guide you to be the very best Mom you can be to your twins. Many blessing on your motherhood journey. <3

  • Claudia Tetreault-Percy

    I have followed your story, your career, your ups and downs and your experiences (that are relatable to a lot of people) since the beginning of MR. Your writing, your passion, your honesty and your bravery in the aspects of life that are sometimes not easily faced. I have rooted for you, as a complete stranger who doesn’t know you intimately – and this, becoming a mother, seems like the thing that you are most destined to do. You wanting to become a mother is not an mirage.. it is a special kind of destiny. It has been a journey, and all fans of MR are overjoyed for you. Enjoy this time. Enjoy this moment. You will have no shortage of support, that I am certain. xx

    • Amelia

      this article made me cry, then this comment made me cry.

  • Megan

    Yes. All of this. And more. There is a whole other you waiting to be born, too. It’s so much more than anyone can tell you. There will be moments of longing for pre-parent ease, but that cave isn’t permanent either. There’s so much more waiting. I was consumed with prenatal fear and shame. What I was shocked by was the joy. Pure and dare I say, holy joy that came every. single. day. Unprovoked. It will come to you, too. Promise. Welcome to this ineffable adventure, mama friend.

  • Lara

    One of my favourite articles by Leandra. Very human, honest, relatable (even for non-moms).

  • Likey

    You magical unicorn woman. Thank you. For this and all the articles. I identify with it ALL. I am feeling that pit in my stomach right now, and I REALLY needed this.

  • b.e.g.

    It is scary. And difficult. And rewarding. And frustrating. And nothing will ever be the same again. But how you handle it determines how well adjusted your children will turn out. Calm enriching environments. You won’t be a super woman, doing it all. Choose. Prioritize. Delegate. Did I mention delegate? Some of us missed milestone moments because we were at work. Witnessed by others, or not. Alas, such is modern life. You are lucky to have your mother nearby. My mother helped me the first year. I am sure you will be a wonderful mum. You are funny, and sensitive, and clever, and caring. Being selfish is not a bad thing, it is a survival tactic. You will still be selfish, in a way. And the babies will reward you with their smiles. And it will all be worth it.

  • CeeBeeH

    It’s going to be all right, hang in there.

  • Debbie

    As always, I love your writing. All the comments below give such good advice but I’d like to chip in with words from a friend that I found helpful. At the time I was crying because I didn’t feel like a good enough mom for my two young kids. My friend consoled me by saying that the fact that I was so upset about it proved that I wasn’t a bad mom because if I had been I wouldn’t have cared that much. From what I can tell, after reading all your texts since 2013, I believe you will be a wonderful mother!

  • Jenny

    Thanks for sharing. As a mum of ten month old twin boys I will say that your life gets turned upside down and the first few months are intense especially if you’re planning to breastfeed. But it has hands down been the most rewarding life affirming thing I have been lucky enough to experience. Yes I occasionally miss my old life but a smile from my boys melts it all away. After the first few months I began to feel so much stronger and more balanced and secure than before my babies were born. Be gentle with yourself in the transition to being a mom and get all the help you can. I expected it to be like a flick of a switch but it’s taken me time to have ‘mom’ form part of my identity. It will be amazing, best of luck. x

  • Barbara

    Reading this, i sit at home with my 1,5 year old daughter playing on the floor next to me. My nanny is sick so I had to take a day off from work. I think about your beautiful words and remember this mixture of feelings before my son was born. Now, a mother of two, I can say that being a mother is the most beautiful and rewarding part of my life. The love for the kids is something so overwhelming, even as a devoted aunt, I wasn’t prepared for. I hope it makes me a better person, but honestly, I am still impatient, often tired and – unfortunately – not the tiniest bit more organized than before. But the love is always there. Having babies is the most challenging and rewarding journey you can start, I wish you all the best,

  • paloma

    Being a mother is a HUGE act of generosity itself. You got it. Enjoy the ride. There´s anything in life like it.

  • Sara

    Being a Mom has made me kinder to myself. I’ve been in the cave. I’ve been in the pit. I still visit occasionally, but I have a new softer vision of me, trying to be my best self for these people I’ve created, and it helps me stay in the light, above ground, most of the time. Hugs to you, Leandra. You are strong enough. You are enough.

  • Gab

    this made me cry and i’m 23 and not pregnant at all

  • This was so good, I read it twice. Full of vulnerability and resonated with me on so many different levels. I look forward to the perspectives you will have in the future as a mum 🙂 Lots of love

  • liis


  • That was soo friggen beautiful Leandra. Enjoyed every word. Although I am nowhere near pregnant, I related to it all so closely. The escaping of comfort zones, “no state of existence — whether jubilance or misery — is permanent”, etc…
    YOU are going to be a wonderful mother – seriously. <3

  • First of all, your honesty and vulnerability is helping others deal with their fears–that’s not selfish. Because we can weigh in on your thoughts, we can see that we can give ourselves the same self-talk and be gentler on ourselves. Next, you are smart and resourceful, and you will figure it out as you go. You have people who love you and will help you find your way. There will be things about motherhood that you hate and dread, balanced by new intense love that will make those things doable. Twins are definitely twice as much, but you’ll get a routine and having two will be all you know. You’re going to be just fine, and sometimes not. Just like life before babies. They’re gonna love you!

  • C. Killion

    You will hear your babies’ first cries and your joy will be transcendent, like hearing angels sing. Guaranteed. After that, you will find yourself loving so fiercely and completely, in a way you didn’t know you could. Also, with twins, you will have no time for existential angst until they are about 16 and go for drivers’ permits.

  • Amy

    Just keep being this honest with yourself and all of us and you’ll be great. But you already know that.

    Thirteen years into motherhood, I keep on learning every day. I’m so excited for you. You got this.

  • Alicia Sobiek

    I couldn’t help but cry while reading this. I get it, all of it. I’m 36 weeks pregnant and feeling this too. It’s amazing how you can wish for something so badly and when you get close to having it, fear it and still be so excited for it at the same time. Thanks for sharing and wishing you and your babies all the best!

  • Kelly Oconnor

    The day after my son was born and we left the hospital I remember feeling so shocked that no one questioned our parenting ability. That first year was the biggest learning curve of my life. In fact day three post partum I sobbed in bed to my husband that I had made a mistake and I was going to be a terrible mother. Sometimes I still have butt clenching moments of panic but I am bone shakingly grateful I am mother to my little boy. You’ll find what works for you, maybe not instantly but to borrow from your cave analogy, if parenting were a cave it would sometimes feel so claustrophobic you could scream, it is your whole world yet sometimes you yearn for the sunshine outside. It is your sanctuary and your shelter but there is alot to explore of the world where your cave is. Sorry if that sounds weird, best of luck with the birth, enjoy the journey! X

  • Julie Turkel

    I love your honesty, Leandra. I hope you feel proud for putting your feelings out there and helping others who feel/felt the same way (like me) but have had no idea how to put them into words. I am so excited for you and your two precious “tenants”. Wishing you well. PS: when your water breaks it will actually feel like a “pop” inside and you will know 😉

  • Chetna Singh

    Really the most beautiful piece you have ever written! It’s a wondrous time and a tough time, embrace it. The struggle never ends but the journey is truly enjoyable.

  • Johanna

    Man Repeller, those baby hormones have really got you worked up! Have faith and jump off this cliff fearlessly.

  • Pregnancy and impending birth are incredibly frightening, so I hope you recognize that and honor those feelings. It is normal to freak out a bit before one of the most monumental life changes we experience. And don’t forget that women’s brains physically change during pregnancy and after birth, so your worries about being more selfless once they arrive will likely be taken care of by biology/mother nature (because mothers are the supreme life-giving force!) We lose brain matter when we become mothers, because our brains are creating new, more specialized connections too make us competent mothers. You don’t need a manual–your body is on autopilot. Don’t worry too much about knowing what to do–babies need very little, especially in the beginning–love and nourishment–and even on the days when you may not be able to muster enough of it (love), that’s okay–you have a partner and family nearby to step in.

    Your brain will change in other ways, too–potentially frightening ways that, personally, scared me into thinking that I would never be the old me again. I felt like a zombie for the first year and felt like I had lost my personality. I was breastfeeding on demand, so my daughter was literally sucking the life out of me. I felt like my cup of life was empty. My husband was traveling a fair amount for work and we live overseas away from ALL family (I don’t really recommend that), so I felt the weight of motherhood a little heavier than some, perhaps. As my daughter got older and a little more autonomous, I started to feel my cup filing up again (and at 2 years old, it’s continuing to fill back up).

    Women often feel guilty for needing time away from their babies. Don’t. It is the most amazing thing, but it is also insane and wild and challenging and maddening aaaaaaand like any job, sometimes (a lotta times) you need a friggin vacation. When you’re ready, be sure to do something you love to do alone every week. Get family/sitters to give you and your husband time alone together and try to not talk about the babies (it’s impossible but whatevs). When you and the babies are ready, go away for a weekend with your girlfriends.

    Parenthood has been hard on my relationship. I don’t know if it was inevitable or if not having family (support and help and an escape) played a big part in it. Prepare for that potential if you can…idk how, but know that it can creep up on you. If you haven’t read about “emotional labor” and “mental load” yet, please do and please talk it out together and figure out a way to avoid that pitfall. I created a group of a couple hundred moms in Rome who hail from every continent and it’s a pretty universal issue that seems to have plagued everyone.

    I’m incredibly excited for you because, as challenging as motherhood is, it is pure magic. Just be ready for the potential to feel like shit, have support in place for if it happens, be open to honoring dead/low/dark feelings because they are normal and should pass, and whenever you’re feeling low, remind yourself that you are a GAT-DAMN GODDESS, LEANDRA. YOU HEAR ME? A goddess. A supreme, life-giving force of nature. You were built for this. Trust in your body and yourself, mother 😘

    • Oh and also be ready to keep peeing on floors post partum. A year in and I was still wetting myself 🤪

  • Josefine A

    Dearest Leandra –

    I’m sitting here in tears, having just finished reading your piece. The salty warm water spilling down my cheeks, clearly an indication of how moved I am. Thank you for sharing the fear, the nostalgia, the gratitude, the guilt and the shame, that you feel in this moment. You could have chosen to contain and tug away these very heartfelt emotions, and yet you entrust us to contain them. You could have chosen to apply the principle of; quote: “The future, now present, totally shits on the past” Where you suppress “unwanted” emotions, waiting for them to belong to the past, for them to be overshadowed or even replaced by the present.
    But you didn’t.
    From your place of vulnerability, you are giving others strength, by making it okay to feel those “unwanted” emotions, and when felt, the chance arises to accept these emotions. Suddenly they seem less scary, as they appear more tangible, and peace is once again restored inside. – I don’t know if that is how it works for you when you write, I imagine it is. For this is how I felt, listening to your voice on monocycle. And reading your pieces.
    Your oversharing, your vulnerability empowered me too, to be vulnerable and thereby stronger. As I have followed your ups and downs the later years, I feel like I know you, the way you would know the main character of a great and well written book. Of course I know that you are real, and not only exist on the internet. And I also know that I don’t really know you.

    That highly nuanced Leandra I have had the pleasure to come to know, whom is; strong, expressive, extremely funny, vulnerable, inspirational, empowering not to mention well dressed, is most likely prone to face and accept all the fear, the nostalgia, the gratitude, the guilt and the shame that you describe and from there salsa dance your way into motherhood.

  • Natnot

    When I gave birth at the start of the month I was overwhelmed with happiness and awe for my new baby but soon my hormones got the worst of me and I got terrible baby blues. I couldn’t stop thinking about my old life where I was tied to no one, I could come and go as I pleased and everyday at 8.30am I would think about how I would usually be leaving the house to go to my job… I also mourned my old relationship with my husband before baby. I worried that our love had changed forever and would never be as good as it was… 27 days in and my hormones have calmed down and the blues have gone and I am completely in love with my new baby. I can hardly remember the despair I felt two weeks ago. I had a lot of the similar thoughts you described above, but with time (only 27 days!) it all falls into place.. watch out for the blues, terrible guilt comes with it – if it does happen to you, remember that it is very normal and nothing more than hormones and it too will pass. Soon you will be in the baby bliss phase and the blues will be far behind you!

  • Jessica Amento

    How do you constantly outdo yourself?! Thank you for this stunning piece. (Laughed out loud, re: the pee on the floor). Let it be said that I feel so fortunate to witness your infinite wisdom ahead of my hopeful-future-pregnancy.

  • YOU! WILL! CHANGE! I swear!
    …and always in a good way! 😉
    And also, you‘re thinking tooooo much! Don’t think. If the time comes, you will act. You will act in the right way and you will be right because you are (then) a mom!

  • Rosemary C

    come join us twins. your Mom & Dad have been waiting for you.

  • Oh my god Leandra. I have tears. Big, massive tears. Because this is so honest, and raw, and compelling that I, who is not pregnant, nor currently wishing to be, can relate to this on such a deep level.

    “Before you make a big decision that will fundamentally change your life, you’ll often find a weird, lukewarm pit at the bottom of your belly that feels like an identity crisis. Do I really want this? you might ask. You were so sure you did, but now you don’t know.”

    Yes. This resonates with me deeply.

    Thank you so much for this.

  • The last days of pregnancy are the hardest. I remember thinking before my daughter was born that it will be a relief to not be number one anymore, and it was, the selfishness thing takes care of itself. My mother gave me great advice that I often remember, enjoy your kids!

  • Amber

    I’m praying for you Lele, and sending love over the ocean! 💕

  • Hannah

    I can’t read this because I’m still post partum hormonal and just the first sentence made me cry, but I just want to say — you got this. My mom told me beforehand to think of the billions of women who have given birth before me, and somehow that helped, thinking of joining their totally badass ranks gave me strength.

  • Michelle

    “Can you love your life but hate yourself?” this.

    Beautifully written post. Big life change ahead for you. I can only imagine the array of thoughts and feelings you must be experiencing. All the best. What an exciting and nerve racking time! You’ve got this:) xx

  • sjdjd

    I remember crying to my husband when my daughter was 5 or 6 months old, that I no longer felt like a person. My person. I was just a shell or something making sure everyone else’s life continued on. His response was “Me too. I didn’t even watch March Madness this year.” Which made me cry more, because he had no idea what I really meant. I hadn’t even pooped alone in months, let alone have a private thought about anything other than the baby. But someone else said that the center of your universe shifts to your children, and that completely describes the feeling I had but makes me feel less desperate. My life does not revolve around myself anymore, but it orbits around someone fantastic who loves me. Now that she’s 18 months, I do have private thoughts and talks with friends and personal ambitions that seem possible, not just something lost. And her hugs, omg. Her hugs seem to physically calm every nerve I have. Every time.

  • Sarah

    My favorite thing you have ever written. ‘Can you love your life but hate yourself?’ That sentence made my heart do a little summersault. You amaze me. You are going to be an amazing mother.

  • Full Drawers Blog

    This was so beautiful to read. I can’t see a truly selfish person being able to share these feelings and thoughts. I saw myself reflected even though I am not pregnant nor in the same situation. Thank you.

  • Zoe

    Thank you for sharing. I guess you can never truly prepare for becoming a mother or giving birth. (The actual thing). I always compared it to jumping out of a plane: once out, there is no way back in so you have to let go and do the things you have to (flying, steering, landing) to get there safe. And you will do those things. All of them. 😊 There is no way to really prepare for it on the ground either because it just can’t compare to the real thing. At all.

    Same with giving birth; every birth is different, every body is different and everyone’s experience is different. There is no amount of yoga or other birthing class or whatever to truly prepare for it because it is different every time and for everyone.
    I gave birth last year and turned out, despite all my efforts I really wasn’t prepared at all.
    Things I wish I stumbled onto before giving birth were Lauren Ohayon (website) and the fourth trimester (book) by Kimberly Johnson.

    After giving birth all ‘experts’ around me came up with was: ‘listen to your body and do what feels good’. well, since nothing felt good and things needed to be done I just pushed through the first weeks -new babies sleep a lot of short naps, perfect for running around and doing things quickly- and got injured because of it. My advice: take the time to heal and lie in that bed and rest.
    I love being a mom, whatever that is. (Still not sure). The fun thing is, you can do mom-ing exactly your way (the only hurdle being societal expectation maybe -and or social pressure and ofcourse your self) and whatever or however that is, you’ll figure it out.😊 ‘letting go’ is a big part of it. Take a deep breath and jump! It’s fun!

  • Natasha

    Thank you for sharing, Leandra. As always, your words strike a chord with so many of us. Good luck and be kind to yourself, no matter where this rollercoaster brings you!

  • Rhondda Bosworth

    I love your writing, Leandra. ( I am 73, live far away in NZ.) You are wonderfully eloquent. Your babies will give you such a major purpose that everything else will seem irrelevant. yeah, what could be more important than giving birth to them and taking care of them? All the best!

  • Maureen Krezel French

    I know this is the hardest thing to accept and hear…but …Relax…what your about to go into IS NOT EASY….but it is FUN, and JOYOUS, and unbelievably rewarding…I am a mom 22 years…..and there were no blogs or websites around to get advice from, or vent…( a few really ridiculous magazines existed)…but bottom line is you will figure it all out…or most of it …and you will probably be anxious…and selfish….along the way… Some people tell me that being a mom is a thankless job… so one of the very first things I taught my children, was to thank me…for the simplest things, like taking them to the park, or fixing a snack. To this day, I here the words “Thank you Mom” from each one of them almost every day. And that is something that makes all the anxiety, all the fear, all the “I can never do anything right”s disappear and mean nothing. I wish you the absolute best wishes as this world changing event approaches….(my nieces are twins…foreshadowing…you will need to grow another arm!) I truly admire your personal writings…and again..RELAX….

  • Don’t know about your Absolute Personal Selfishness Factor or its uses and abuses, but I sure hope you can retain some useful relative selfishness in the years to come. Two girls can’t be too easy 🙂 and they might adore a mother with a life of her own.

  • Maria Fernandez-Davila

    “I felt gratitude, third, the heart-wrenching kind, because my body proved it could do this even after I was so sure it couldn’t.”

    this is so beautiful. You’re going to be the most amazing and coolest mom Leandra, can’t wait for you to meet your beautiful babies!

  • ModernGrace

    I think everyone is in awe and terrified of their newborn, but it works out.

  • Tigg

    Leandra, enjoy your last days being “just you” (you’ll never feel it again!) and breathe… you’ll need to breathe many times… and this is it. We love you…

  • Caroline Parker

    I’ve been silently and anonymously loving your writing for years, but I had to say something after reading this because it made me cry. You are so brave in acknowledging your vulnerability and immensely strong because of it. Thank you for sharing. So excited for you, and sending all the love your way.

  • Karyn Faszer

    You don’t have to loose the old you. I believe that your “self” is an ever expanding and changing thing. There is great beauty, wisdom and pain to be had because of that and it’s a wonderful thing. .you are going to find your way to do motherhood. There are going to be ups and downs but overall, it will be just right.

  • ApocalypsoFacto

    Mama, it’s going to be fine. I was so terrified in the days before I gave birth – I ended up having to have my baby early, and when they told me, I started bawling my head off and keening, “I CAN’T DOOOOO this…I’m NOT READDYYYY!!” Right there in the doctor’s office. Embarrassing. But he was born and it was fine and you figure it out. You figure out all of it. Not just feeding and burping and diapers and how to shower when the baby is crying like a banshee, but the work part and the marriage part and all if it. I’m not going to say you never miss your old life – you will – but your new life is filled with these amazing moments of transcendent wonderment, and it all balances out. It’s all good and all fine. You got this.

  • mimi

    I so relate to this eternal confusion of expectations, reality and past experiences. We tend to look in the future like it’s a repetition of the past, but it’s only up to us to change our expectations and do it differently.

  • gfy

    Omg, these links I consider indispensable prep for all women (the first one) and the others are for those who want to explore the options!!!
    Hope they load:

    The Business of Being Born:
    Birth As We Know It:


  • gfy

    Omg, these links I consider indispensable for all humanity, links won’t load here so you’ll have to look them up:
    The Business of Being Born documentary (free on youtube)
    Birth As We Know It Educational Version (free on youtube) (orgasmic birth documentary free on home page) (amazing ‘gentle birth’ process for anyone who can handle it… : )

    • gfy

      Feel a need to clarify further: one of my “theories” is that women might suffer postpartum depression (hormonal of course, yes, but everything works together, for or against…) because of the lack of control we usually have in the process. The current system surrounding birth is literally barbaric and pregnant women KNOW THIS no matter how ‘little’ they actually know or want to know. It is therefore VITAL for anyone who might be prone to depression to empower and educate yourself in order to regain control of what can easily become one of the most glorious experiences of you and your new family’s life. It is an event that most hospital birth systems simply are not equipped (in either perception or framework) to accommodate.

  • Katherine

    It will be hard and unfun. The liquids will keep leaking. But they will change over time. From amniotic fluid to blood to breast milk. To tears. Many, many tears. Tears of pain, of sorrow, of joy, and of love. You will bend in ways that were to your previous self, unthinkable. But you will not break. You will find a wholeness and newness with each sorrow and loss. The sound of your babies’ breathing will become the beat of your heart.

    Your old life will live inside of you. And yes, there will be days where it will want to come back. But you can only go back for a visit. Once you cross the river, the river has been crossed.

  • Mia

    Absolutely incredible. Thank you for being so raw. From one pregnant woman to another.

    – M

  • Yasemin Erol

    even i don’t know you personally, you are one of the most inspiring women i know, and i also know that you will be a great mum!

  • nat6

    Very touching piece! Reading your words conjured memories of very similar feelings felt 19 years ago, just prior to the birth of my first child. Any life changing experience is both exhilarating and frightening. But as others have stated in their responses, “You’ve got this!” Remember to be kind to yourself as you learn your new role as mother…patience will be your friend and fend off doubt.x

  • Genevieve

    I cried throughout. THIS is truly special.

  • Cecilia Nardini

    Wow Leandra. This is amazing.

  • Lauren Holt

    Beautifully said, beautifully wrote, beautifully honest. Brava! <3

  • Thank you so much for sharing this. So beautifully worded, and just what I needed to read right now.

  • LPaup

    I’m 3 weeks away from my due date and share so many of the same feelings, it’s almost as though you’ve read my mind.

    Thank you as always, for being so candid and real.