The evening sun dips down, lighting the sky to a beautiful shade of scarlet while making the water shimmer alongside The Embarcadero. We are out for another stroll, enjoying the stunning view along the port side. Mommies with strollers, joggers and pet parents with their dogs are a common sight in the evening. In the distance, I see a woman -- distraught and overwhelmed. Her baby's screams are audible; her desperate pleas are not. Her face is unfamiliar to me, but the scene is all too familiar. It's as if I'm looking in the mirror, only a few short months ago.
Her baby finally begins to settle as we pass her. I look her in the eye and smile politely.
It gets better. I promise.
I heard those words from a stranger when I was the distraught, overwhelmed mother bouncing a 5-month-old on the street. And, for me, it made all the difference.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of people walk this path each evening. Many will stop and acknowledge the beautiful bundle of joy in the stroller with a smile, a coo or a few sweet words. Few will stop and acknowledge the mommy behind the baby. So, this is for you, mommy in the mirror.
Every little pudgy, adorable roll on your baby's arms and legs is because of you.
Every giggle and toothless grin on your baby's face is because of you.
Every look of wonderment and awe in your baby's eyes is because of you.
You have given everything -- your sleep, your body, your career, your marriage, your life -- to this child. And, you, mommy, are doing an amazing job. It's the nights you are spending nursing him every hour that have made up every single cell in his beautiful little body. It's the hours you spend playing, singing and dancing with him that make him giggle, smile and learn about this brand new world he's in. And it's your unconditional, unwavering, endless and prolific love that makes him feel safe.
When he cries -- no, screams -- you feel like you aren't doing anything right. You feel as if all eyes are on you. You feel like a horrible mother because you can't calm that precious little baby you hold so tightly in your arms.
Your baby is crying because he wants to be held close to the greatest love of his life. He wants to smell your skin, be caressed by your gentle hands and feel the love that radiates from your body. He wants to be comforted by the warmth of the best home he'll ever have. Can you blame him?
It will take a while, but he will soon learn that your love for him is unconditional, unwavering and everlasting. He won't feel as scared and lonely when you aren't holding him. He'll want to explore the world with his own two tiny feet. And then, it will get better. You'll get your body back, your sleep, your marriage and your life. I promise.
This post originally appeared on The Adventures of a New Mom.