Be Gentle, Mama

By Sarah Ingram


There is no magic on Earth quite like the first time you hold your baby in your arms. You’re so alive. So in love. So grateful. You’re immediately filled with a deeper sense of wonderment and possibility.

But I wish someone recognized that I, too, needed to be held and supported. I, too, was just welcomed into the world as a brand new mother. Welcomed into a world of comparison and criticism, instead of love and support.

I wish someone had sat me down and said, “be gentle with yourself.” Then when I laughed it off and said I would, I wish they would have reached for my hand, and again said, “be gentle with yourself.”

Becoming a mother is hard.

We’re held to impossible standards. You’re expected to mother like you don’t work, and work like you don’t have children. Choosing between formula and breastfeeding brings out every ounce of mom guilt we have. And just forget it if all your laundry isn’t done, and with a rainbow of organic food for every meal. Do this all on an hour or two of sleep—with no shower.

Be gentle with yourself, mama.

Your children won’t remember whether you used formula or breast milk, they will remember how you picked them up every time they cried and provided comfort. They won’t remember your house had Instagram-worthy walls, but they will giggle every time they see the speck on the ceiling of spaghetti sauce you just can’t get out after you let them cook their first meal alone. They won’t remember you trying to lose that extra 15 pounds you’re holding onto; they will just remember you jumped in the pool with them and were right by their side in pictures.

Be gentle with yourself, mama.

I know this girl lost all her baby weight, and that girl already takes her two-year-old to gymnastics. I know your neighbor sleeps when the baby sleeps, and her husband helps change diapers. I know sometimes you serve Dino chicken nuggets, and sometimes you feel so isolated you could scream. I know.

But you’re a real mother. You’re their mama. No one is more equipped to be their mama than you.

Be gentle with yourself, mama.

And if you’re pouring from an empty cup today, try these tried-and-true tricks for you and baby:

  • Get outside. Nature is there to nurture us. Soak in some Vitamin D and take ten conscious deep breaths in… and then ten deep breaths out.
  • Get in water. Seriously. Run a bath filled to the brim with bubbles. Turn on the sprinklers and run through them. Fill up a big pot of water and stir ice cubes in until they all melt. Let the water rinse your worries away.
  • Take a break from chores (dishes, laundry, meal-prep, organizing, and, yes, even the never-ending mental load) and make a personal connection with your littles. Look into their eyes and wrap your arms around them. Enjoy this miracle you created. Connect. Hold space. Just be.
  • Stop the comparison game. No one is more equipped to be their mama than you. They don’t need a perfect mom, they need a happy, healthy mom.
  • Have that piece of cake. Have two. Your children are seen, understood and validated—they don’t care what you weigh.
  • Go on a playdate. I don’t mean the one where you spend 23 hours cleaning your house and then you say, “Don’t mind the house, it’s such a mess!” I mean the one where you invite someone into your messy motherhood, so they too, can feel comfortable in their messy motherhood. That’s sacred space, that’s holy ground. It’s the reminder we are not alone, as isolated as we may feel.

Don’t worry if you feel a little lost right now. After all, mamas are the best at finding lost things. You’re not alone.

Be gentle with yourself, mama.

The Author

Sarah Ingram (AKA The Word Medic)


Hi, friends. My favorite titles I hold are "mama" and "wife." I live in the beautiful state of Colorado, chasing my toddler and my dreams. I traded in my degree in Journalism so I could attend Motherhood University. I anticipate this will be a lifetime of education. I like bad puns, and every Dad joke there is. I’m a firm believer that what mom’s need most is their mental health, so we can show up authentically for our babies. It is my passion to write and forever learn how to be a better mother, for myself and others.