A Letter From Me to Them by Gelsandra Guzman

I never knew how it felt to receive affection from a mother. That warm feeling of motherly instincts was far from recognizable to me. My mother was anything but nurturing. I would’ve done everything in my power to have her lay on the couch and hug me when I was younger. Little did I know I would grow up with my dad. He played the role of both parents very well, and he made sure I lived a good life and had ample opportunities that would allow me to reach my dreams. All was well until I had my first child in 2014.

I was living in New York City, and I thought I had motherhood all down packed. When the time was coming closer for baby to arrive, I started putting together the nursery, making sure I had all the living necessities for my baby to be transported home safely. I read books and took classes. I never thought that when I would come back from the hospital with our son, that I would fall into postpartum depression. Living in a small space, the same four walls, days where I never saw the sun peek out, where I felt a sense of despair and sadness, and cold winters all affected my depression.

I had not spoken to my mother in almost a decade.  The last husband she had was no good for her, and we went through some bad situations where she chose to believe him over me. In my heart, I knew I was done with trying to look for that motherly love and affection, which I never had received. I had my son, and I thought I might not be a perfect mother, but he will know every day exactly how much I love him.

The weeks went by, and I was still struggling with my depression. I felt disconnected from my son and wondered, “What will I do now?” I have a little human who depends solely on me. I was a person who was independent and never thought twice about making decisions. Accepting all the signs the universe was throwing my way, I decided that medication or denial was putting a Band-Aid over a wound that was too deep. I would never fully heal unless I uncovered from the root. After a few sessions of therapy, I slowly started realizing that I had some trauma lingering inside of me. I couldn’t build a connection with my son because I wasn’t in a right place with my mother. Something in my heart told me to pick up the phone and call her.

I didn’t want to discuss the past. I tried to listen to her, to let her know I had become a mother myself, but that I also needed support. I needed my mom to be nurturing for once. I needed her to know I wasn’t ok, physically, and mentally. Our past was interfering with my family and me. I needed to close the chapter and know more about her experience becoming a mother. How was she able to go so many years without knowing if I ate, if I had a place to live, if I was in school, if I was alive or if I was suffering?

The conversation unfolded into a pool of emotions. My mother felt deep pain.  She was absent from my life for over a decade, and it disturbed her. She found every way possible to connect with me, to show me that motherhood too was difficult for her but that there’s an underlying beauty in all of this. Being a mother truly is magical. At this point, I was confused I wanted to reconnect with my mother, but how in the world could I connect with someone who, in my eyes, had done so much wrong to me?  I took a step back, and now as a mother was able to understand life from a different perspective. Birthing a child doesn’t make you a mother. It’ raising them with principles, character, humility, and love. Although I had a missing gap with my mother, she had done more than birth me, she had hustled to offer me a better life and accepted all the struggles that came with it.

‘Slowly we started building our relationship. It’s been six years, and I can honestly say I am at peace. While we have moved past our difficulties, the gap of the absent mother will forever affect me. Sometimes I feel it lives so deep within me that there are days I close my eyes and cry because it hurts. I had my daughter in 2018 and now we are a family of four. I am blessed and grateful to have an amazing and supportive husband and father. These two men have carried me on to becoming an entrepreneur. Their belief in my vision and support for my goals gave me the strength to push forward and bet on me. I went to school for Fashion Merchandising, graduated with my BA in 2010. In February of 2020, I launched my website and blog with my styling services. Simultaneously I partnered with my sister-in-law and launched Posh Palma Styles, an e-commerce Fashion Boutique in June 2020. Although these are my first steps to becoming an icon; more importantly I want uplift and empower women to feel confident in their own skin.

Like most parents, living through a pandemic has completely impacted our family’s life. It has been one challenging ride. When this all started, I kept thinking this will be over soon. The days went by, worldwide shutdowns started occurring, the number of cases skyrocketed, and my anxiety levels escalated. I the midst of launching my styling business in February of 2020, I had a few clients. Still, the fact that my services are considered a luxury, not a necessity, my business was hurting. Between managing distant learning with my son and my daughter, who’s a toddler, I found moments where I needed to focus on my breathing and not let the chaos get to me.

By understanding my own childhood and that the lack of connection with my mother, I knew this was something I wanted to be better at with my kids. I had willingly become a mother and truly felt it in my heart, the abundance of love and affection towards my family. There is no such thing as a perfect mother, and as long as you know, you are doing all in your power to care and love for your child, and that is enough. It makes my heart smile to hear my son tell me- “Mommy, you are the best!” Moments like these make it all the struggle worth it.

The first few weeks were a blur. I would wake up crying, and then I would fall asleep just thinking, How will we get past this?” Everyday home, nowhere to go, not being able to be productive, and get ahead on my business, I started losing motivation rapidly. It was another dark and scary time. I started looking for communities where I could speak up and be heard, where other moms could relate, where I could get some assurance that I wasn’t the only crazy mom in town running wild with the thought that life itself was coming to an end.

I took some time to educate myself with the proper tools and resources, such as articles, podcasts, blogs, mommy community forums, etc. I started scheduling blocks within my days, added my morning workouts and meditation session early on before the kids wake. Also, I made it a point to get dolled up, take my time finding that perfect outfit to compliment me and my confidence. There were times I added the red lip, which was always an instant way to uplift my mood. Staying intentional was vital. The days are starting to get sunnier, and the grass greener on the other side. The mind is a powerful tool, and it could be detrimental if you don’t feed it with true love.

I know every day is not perfect. We are human, and sometimes we just want to accept the now and allow ourselves to be vulnerable, and this is also OK. The biggest lesson I have learned about being a mom and living “this new normal” is picking my battles and letting go. We can’t control the uncontrollable. We need to live for today, enjoy the now, be creative, explore new things with our family. Kids need to be allowed to get crazy and busy parents need to take advantage of these precious moments that regularly, we would take for granted.  Time is the most precious gift anyone can give you. Our babies grow up so quickly, so be intentional. I ask the universe for health to allow me to live and build a legacy for my kids, one in which they will appreciate everything I do and know that I do it all for them with the sincerest love.

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