Jessica Johnson, North Carolina

Editor’s Note: Jessica shared her poem with our audience to describe her experience as an exhausted and overwhelmed new parent. She hopes that those reading it know they aren’t alone if they are experiencing the same feelings.

Mother walking in the snow, carrying a backback, a baby and pulling a sled with a toddlerBags. Let’s talk about bags.
I feel like I carry the weight of the world these days.

How many bags can I carry– how many more bags can I carry, and pack in my car, and carry around and pack and unload and reload and forget to bring?

I can carry at least one more bag.

Sure, hand me the baby, let me put down the bag.

I always have room for him — I will carry him right here, next to my heart.

I have all these bags and none of them have what I need in them.

Let’s talk about the bags under my eyes.

They are there all the time.

I don’t even notice them anymore but they are there– I carry those around to work and to the store, where I always forget my reusable bags.

Milk bags. Freezer bags full of milk.

My breasts have become milk bags that I carry around every day every night making nothing fit… hurting. Leaking. Being sore.

Never enough.

What other bags can I carry?

How about the bags of skin on my stomach that will never be the same?

That was never that great to begin with.

All the emotional baggage that I have about being a mother and being a woman, and still feeling like a little girl sometimes.

When I get stern looks, or ill advice, or when I am constantly questioned about my ability and my decisions.

My decisions.

Yes I have a baby and he is mine.

And I make choices that are good for both of us and no, I don’t need your advice.

I don’t want to hear about rice cereal anymore.

Stop telling nursing mothers about rice cereal like it’s going to help us.

I’ve already got food in my bags.

Please send your story ideas to Amy at [email protected].

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