I See My Postpartum Self When I Look in the Rearview Window

When you reflect back on your journey as a mother—can you see all of your milestones? We hope this helps you to see how far you've truly come.
One writer shares her journey to learning to love being a mom—and accepting it's okay to not love the first few months. Follow her journey.

I was driving back from a mom group meet-up, choking back the tears.

It had gone well enough. I exchanged a few numbers. I left the house the first time—alone—with my newborn baby. It was a success, I guess.

Traffic was heavy, as were my eyes—my daughter had yet to distinguish her nights from days. Taking the highway would be faster, but I was crippled with anxiety that forced me to take the slow, less-scary roads home.

My daughter was napping in the backseat, tummy full from the bottle of formula I still harbored guilt for giving her. I glanced at her every few seconds to see if she was breathing. If she was okay.

Even though…I wasn’t okay.

Everyone asked me how she was doing. Marveled over cute photos. Sent her gifts. I put on a brave, happy face—so they never thought to ask about me. Even if they did, I’m unsure what I would have said.

Could I confess my fears that I thought I was a bad mother?
That I wasn’t adjusting as well as I expected?
That I missed my old life?
That I sometimes thought she deserved better?
More than I thought I could give her?
That I questioned if my own child loved me?

When I’m driving now—on all sorts of roads—I think of that fresh mother. Six weeks out from the most significant identity and life transformation. I can still feel those shameful tears splashing down my cheek. The spring sun on my face, yet feeling the darkness. So alone. So lost. So sad.

Instead of falling completely apart, I summoned courage and called my best mom friend. While on a walk with her daughter, a few states away up the East Coast, she asked me how I was really doing—a question with a connotation you only understand after becoming a parent. I felt safe, so I confessed what I was feeling—preparing to be met with shock.

Instead, it was only empathy. A shared experience—a promise that if she got through it, I would too. That I had her—and all the mothers who came before us.

It’s a rite of passage, unique to every mother but a universal journey we all walk. That spring day still felt heavy—it wasn’t an instant relief. But it was the start of allowing myself to feel, express and forgive myself for struggling in my new role as mom.

This conversation would spur a dozen conversations to eventually create Mila and Jo Media, and our postpartum microsite, The Mother Chapter.

Now, I see my daughter through the rearview mirror, filled with joy. She’s my wildest dream of a toddler come true: curious, funny, brave and wonderful.

My love for her knows no bounds—and I am confident in my ability to mother her. I don’t always feel like a good mom every moment, but deep down, I know I am.

I give her my best most days, and on those I can’t, I give myself grace. I look at her, dancing and singing in the backseat, calling my name to make sure I’m still there, and I’m in awe she’s mine.

And I’m in awe of the journey we’ve weathered together.

The way I’ve evolved as a person and as a mother. The red lights I’ve run, the stop signs I’ve obeyed. The gas pedal I’ve pushed to the floor. The speed limits I gave myself — and the open highway I see before us. It’s mostly blue skies—with a heavy chance of rain. But I’ve packed the snacks, and I have Ms. Rachel downloaded, so I don’t fear the storm.

Me and my girl, we’ll be okay. And you will, too—you have us. Just turn right at the next light—and follow the road ahead. We can grab coffee for the drive.


  • Lindsay Tigar

    Lindsay Tigar is the co-founder of Mila & Jo Media, an award-winning journalist, two-time entrepreneur and mama to Josefine. She's also a parental leave certified executive coach. She's a frequent-flier, Peloton addict, and a coffee and champagne snob. Her friends are her family and her lifeline. Lindsay calls Asheville, NC home but spends much time in Denmark, her husband's home country.  Follow Lindsay on Instagram. and visit her website.

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