By Kelsey on June 6, 2012 23

A Letter to My Future Self

Dear Future Me,

When you think you’re ready to have another baby, reread this and this.

If you don’t get pregnant right away, know that God’s timing will be perfect.

If you plan to deliver without medication, more power to you, but remember what it was like last time.

Expect a birthmark.

Give breastfeeding another try. But if at any time it is not MUTUALLY beneficial, stop. And don’t feel an ounce guilty about it. You need to make choices that are best for your family rather than doing what you or others think you should do.

Don’t fear if he or she is not back to birth weight two weeks after the birth. Most likely, it will be OK.

The only way you will get to know your child is through lots of experience. You will soon be the expert. Hold him or her as much as you can in those first few days.

Seriously consider placenta encapsulation to ward off postpartum anxiety and depression. (And don’t care if people think it’s weird.)

Remember that the first days weeks months are really tough. A newborn is surely more work than you remember.

Sleep deprivation and hormone changes make you kind of crazy.

If you lose your appetite, tell someone. It’s your first warning sign of oncoming postpartum anxiety/depression.

Check the tongue for a tight frenulum. And watch for a constantly tilted head. It’s cute but can be a more serious issue.

Consider sharing the baby’s name beforehand. Last time you were against it, but you missed seeing people’s reactions in person.

Enlist help for the first week when you bring the baby home, but then try it on your own. You can do it. You will be able to leave the house again, I promise.

Last time you took nine weeks of maternity leave. Try to take 12 next time. (More for the baby! Day care can be a lot of stimulation on those little ones!) Or, maybe, stay at home forever.

Convince Eric to take two weeks off work. But save for it so it doesn’t affect your budget.

Let your baby take a nap on you at least once a day. They outgrow that stage quicker than you’d think.

Take newborn photos before the baby is a week old. They’ll sleep in any position when they’re that young.

Dig out your favorite newborn gear and re-watch this video.

Do some things for yourself and your marriage because a new baby can really shake things up.

By day five postpartum, you may have taken a small step toward feeling like your old self again.

But sometimes it’s two steps forward and one step back.

Give yourself grace.

It will get better.



Your Past Self (at three months postpartum)



I love my husband, my kids and the Internet.

  1. I love sharing in your family with you. Thank you for being open and upfront about your experiences. It helped me more than I can say and it inspired and encouraged me to be open and upfront with people. I’m convinced my openness is what warded off a major postpartum depression, and I’m not sure I would have been open if you hadn’t shared your experience. So thanks!

  2. Aww, this entry made me teary! You hit every nail on the head, Kelsey. And you go with your possible placenta capsulation! I’ve heard it works.

  3. “give yourself grace” – this is the very best advice. we’re often too hard on ourselves, whether it’s as mothers, wives, employees, friends, housekeepers, whatever. we need to extend grace to our own shortcomings just as much as we do for others.

    and i don’t have kids, but the three month mark was when all of my friends finally turned a corner and settled beautifully into the many roles they have as a mother, wife, and friend.

    • i’ve found that “giving myself grace” is really so much harder in practice that i’d like it to be. i’m still trying to figure that one out…

  4. This may be a letter to your future self, but I consider it great advice to my future self as well — someone who wants to start a family but hasn’t taken that step yet. The idea of motherhood is little scary for me, but I really take comfort in this post! It’s so honest and from the heart and I just want you to know I appreciate it.

    • I’m glad this provides comfort for you. As much as I discuss my struggles with motherhood, it is really amazing. I was just thinking earlier today how much I really love it. Good luck to you as you take the journey :)

  5. hey, i have a question regarding baby names… were you worried that when you finally “met” rooney, she wouldn’t look or seem like a rooney? did you have a backup name just in case?

    • i guess i wasn’t really worried about that. i was more worried about what other people would think of it. before she came, i felt like i knew a little bit about her from carrying her for so long. i didn’t know everything, of course, but i guess enough to feel pretty confident in her name. i thought she would be a good mix of eric and i and that the name would be right for her. i believed it enough to give her the name without stress.

      i think even after the baby comes you can continue to question the name. we had a conversation about that after she was here for a week. we still didn’t feel like we really KNEW her, except for her physical characteristics and that she was fairly laid back. babies sleep so much in those first few days that their personality doesn’t really come out. so even if we had waited to choose her name, i’m not sure we could have felt more confident in a name in the days following her birth. (to answer your question, no, we didn’t have a backup name. but maybe that was because nothing else we had thought of came close to rooney, in our opinion. we were never really deciding between two names.)

      we don’t use her name much yet, and i feel like we’re still trying to get to know her and her name. but i think it fits. when we picked it, i envisioned a 3-year-old toddler dancing around, so maybe ask me again in a few years. :)

  6. I just sent this to my sister-in-law who is 2 weeks postpartum and struggling. You articulated this so well I had to share with her.

    • Thanks for sharing it, Amy! I went through a very rough time when Rooney was born, and I want to make sure I am more prepared next time :)

  7. I like this post! I did placental encapsulation and it was not as weird as I thought it would be :). Just another vitamin to add to all the others I take. I don’t know what life would have been like without the pills and I still struggled in the first weeks, but I was glad I did it. Certainly didn’t hurt anything.

  8. You’re amazing! I think every woman needs to do this because it can seem like the end of the world at the time, but each phase is so short-lived and you don’t want to miss out on anything. Love you!!

  9. Kelsey, I didn’t have encapsulation done with Samuel, but Pleasant Postpartums is a woman I know who does it in Des Moines. She comes to your home to do the encapsulation. Her name is Laura and they have a facebook page. Check her out, she is great!

  10. I love your honesty through this experience and can’t thank you enough for sharing. I feel like you wrote this letter to my future self. I’ll bookmark this for when I’m ready to have a baby. Thank you!

  11. Melanie Johnson June 6, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    It’s so crazy (and a little sad) that being a firsttime parent can seem so lonely and isolating. It feels like no one could possibly understand what you’re really going through. But with my first, I experienced every single thing on your list and could relate so much to the PPD. But in truth, everything that you experienced is so *normal*. It’s just that no one talks about it because we feel shameful and that we must be doing something wrong. What I’ve learned is that parenting is hard not because we’re doing it wrong, but because it’s HARD. I also want to encourage you in that everything was completely different with my second. No PPD this time around so you may also have a different experience and will have to write a whole new letter to yourself! :) thanks for your openness and honesty!

  12. I can’t say anything about the honesty of this post that anybody hasn’t already said. Truly heartfelt and beautiful!! :) I just wanted to share our experience with sharing names…when my husband and I were expecting our son 6 years ago, we did not find out the gender, but we did share name selections. We got ALLLLLL KINDS of unsolicited name suggestions and opinions! It was, to me, very irritating! This was our baby, not theirs, and I felt like the opinion givers should have minded their own business! We are expecting another baby in just under 5 weeks and, again, haven’t found out the gender and decided this time to not share with anyone our final name selections and it has been so much less stressful on me!! I guess so many people find out the sex AND reveal the name, not leaving a whole lot to anticipate upon delivery. So, I would personally encourage you to save something just for yourself to reveal upon delivery!! But, that’s just me! :) I love the blog and reading about your journey…

    • so true. thanks for sharing, since you have done it both ways! i will have to see how i feel about it next time we’re pregnant. eric REALLY wanted to share it this time but i held him back, and then i found that maybe it wasn’t such a huge deal and that next time we can share it if he still wants to. but someone just this week told me they didn’t love Rooney’s name, and that was hard for me to hear…so maybe my emotions can’t handle it! :)

  13. “Give yourself grace.” Best advice!! :D

  14. out of curiosity, do you know anyone who’s done placenta encapsulation?

    i’m 36 weeks with my first babe, and our midwives asked me this week if i was interested in having it done. i’ve heard of it and i’ve read up on the benefits, but i have never met anyone else who’s done it! i think it would be one of those things my husband and i would keep to ourselves… we’re planning a home birth and people already think we’re nuts! i also don’t live too far from you guys, and it seems to be much more common on the coasts than here in the midwest, so i’d love to hear what you’ve found out! feel free to shoot me an email if you’d like!

    • Hi Maggie! No, I don’t know anyone who has done placenta encapsulation. I had never even heard of it until after our baby was born. Now I’m mad at myself for telling my midwife to throw away my placenta! I struggled with PPD, so next time I want to give it a try.

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