For my little sister as she prepares to meet her baby...

Dearest Ruthie,

As I write this, I know that you are at the hospital working very hard to bring your little baby into the world.  I'm writing because I am finding it very difficult to be so far away and so unable to do anything to help you. (Although I have to admit that even if I was right by your side there would be very little I could do to help you right now!)  Still, I wish so much that I could be there over the next few weeks to help you with the mountains of laundry that you're about to experience and to cook you nourishing dinners and delicious cakes to sustain you while you nurse your new baby.  

But I can't be there right now so I will have to offer what help I can in the form of advice and support.  I have been thinking a lot about how I felt after Ella and Jacob were born, trying to remember what I struggled with, what helped me most, but to be honest much of it is a blur of emotions.  Here's what I can tell you:

There will be times when you will look at your baby and feel like you will burst with love.

There will be times when you will want to put your baby out of the window.

You will feel elation and despair and everything in between, possibly all in the space of 10 minutes. 

You will cry for no reason.

Parenting can be difficult and stressful but also beautiful and amazing, often all at the same time.

You will be a wonderful mother.

I will always be there for you, to listen to your worries. I will be awake when everyone else around you is asleep. I am only a phone call away.

I am so unbelievably excited about your new arrival! Partly for you, because I know what an amazing roller coaster ride you're in for and partly for myself because I can't wait to have motherhood in common with you. I feel like it will be such a wonderful bond and I know that seeing our children playing together is going to be so special.  

I love you enormously and have complete faith in you. You will do a fantastic job of raising this brand new person and you will help them to be the very best version of themselves possible. 

You can do it!