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'Sorry I thought co-sleeping made you weak.' An apology to mums, now I am one.

Dear Mama,

I’m sorry I rolled my eyes at you in Coles when you gave your screaming toddler your phone so that you could keep shopping. I now know you were frantically trying to ensure your two other children wouldn’t go hungry, in the five spare minutes you had that day.

I’m sorry I stopped speaking to you after you didn’t come to my 30th birthday party, three weeks after giving birth to your first baby. I now know you were nursing a colicky baby in an effort to silence its three hours and 57 minutes of screaming.

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I’m sorry I muttered, “f**king negligent,” under my breath when I saw you hand your child a chip from McDonalds at the RCH. I now know they had had surgery two days prior, they weren’t keeping anything down and you were worried out of your mind.

I’m sorry I gossiped about you to my personal trainer when you came for lunch in your maternity leggings, nine weeks after having a baby. I now know that, well, you’d just had a baby.

I’m sorry I laughed out loud when you told me that you’d had sex twice in the last year. I now know that you had three kids under five, including a four-month-old, and an episiotomy that got infected which led you to fear sex. Because it hurt. A lot.

I’m sorry I turned around and glared at you when your child kicked the back of my plane seat and you did nothing to stop them. I now know that you were travelling alone, 11 hours into a 13-hour flight with a toddler who hadn’t slept.

I’m sorry I felt let down when you left our dinner date at 9pm. I now know the chaos of the next day’s morning routine was already exhausting you.

I’m sorry I thought that you were irresponsible for drinking wine while breastfeeding when we last caught up for lunch. I now know that you were trying to manage your crippling post-natal anxiety, whilst also trying to maintain some sort of a ‘normal’ social facade. 

I’m sorry that my first thought when you told me you were co-sleeping was that you were weak. I now know that you were doing the only thing that you could to give yourself, your family and your baby some rest.

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Dear Mama - dear beautiful, strong, worn, ambitious, exhausted, overstretched mum – I’m sorry. 

I didn’t know.

I couldn’t have known.

I didn’t try to know.

But now I do know. 

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Now that I’m up every two hours at night and struggling to brush my teeth and still wearing my maternity clothes and crying in the shower and reheating precooked meals from the freezer aisle and leaving functions early and responding to texts late, I know. 

Now that I’m the one dreaming of returning to work and craving the connection of a friend and wishing I could just squeeze into those jeans or get my roots coloured or have my legs waxed, I know. 

Now that I have a baby of my own, I know. I know and I want to apologise. Because what I did and what I thought and how I acted was unfair and unjust and, frankly, unbelievable but it was also unintentional and uninformed. 

So, I apologise. With all my heart, I apologise. And I don’t want or expect you to accept my apology, because I don’t deserve for you to, but I just want you to know that I’m so very sorry and that I do know now. I know and I respect you and I see you. All of you. In all your wonderful, extraordinary, superhuman glory.

Dear Mama, I’m sorry.

Feature image: Getty.

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