Dear Friend,

As I write this, you are checking into your hospital room where you will begin the journey of birthing your daughter from the dark waters of your womb, into this world. Neither one of us knows what the experience will hold for you; my only wish is that it is everything you want and need it to be.

There is so much I want to tell you, so much I want to say that hasn't been said in the many conversations we've had, the emails written, and the texts that have been exchanged over the past 39 weeks. And honestly there is little I could actually say that would properly illuminate the journey you're about to begin. But there is something, something that needs to be said, something that won't make sense right now, but will in the coming days -

you are not alone.

All the questions you will have, every feeling you'll encounter - the fear, the guilt, the worry, the unrivaled joy, the frustrations, the happiness, the humility, the inexplicable anger and love, every fat tear that will fall - a tribe of women who have come before you, have felt the very same things.

You are valid in everything that has passed through you and will wash over you.

And in the coming days, when the high of your newborn daughter's arrival slowly begins to recede, if the tides of sadness edge their way in - don't turn a blind eye. It happens and it doesn't make you any less than the amazing mother you already are. Say something to someone, and ask for help. There is no shame, there is no defeat.

Forevermore, your heart will now exist outside of you. It will magnify whatever fears you may harbor about the evil that exists in the world. It will hold a mirror to every insecurity you have ever had. But, my friend - here is where your backbone lies. That same heartbeat is the one from which you'll draw a reserve of strength and patience you never knew existed.

When you birth your daughter, you will also birth a Mother.

Because whether it is your own muscle, or if she is brought forth by the hands of a doctor, it is still your body that gives her to this life. The two of you are intertwined - forged in the fires of labor and delivery. And it is that knowledge that the flesh now understands, that will stay with you long after the cord is cut. You are transformed through the single most life-altering experience.

Don't burden yourself to remember every moment of what is going to happen in the coming hours, and even in the coming days. The blur of events is dizzying.

What's important will stay with you. I promise.

Welcome, dear friend, to the Tribe.

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