Taylor Swift’s 1989: A Musical Journey to Motherhood


This one goes out to all the new moms…

TS 1989 featured post (2)

It’s been one year since Taylor Swift released her record-breaking album 1989.

A year that most of us spent jamming out to songs we thought were about the emotional journey from heartbreak to self-discovery. However, after many a sleepless night, I’ve come to a conclusion I feel compelled to share: Taylor Swift, lyrical genius and my personal spirit animal, has written a musical guide to the emotional journey from pregnancy to motherhood.

That’s right. Read between the lyrics and you’ll find a step-by-step guide to surviving one of the biggest transitions you will ever go through in your life.

Think I’m crazy? Let me break down the track list for you:


1. Welcome to New York

Everybody here was someone else before…

The lights are so bright / but they never blind me.

In the opening track, Swift “welcomes” us to parenthood by using the metaphor of moving to New York. Having lived in NYC myself, I can tell you this is spot-on. Having a baby and moving to New York are two life choices best made when you are either: 1) young and optimistic 2) older and wealthy.


2. Blank Space

It’ll leave you breathless / or with a nasty scar…

But I’ve got a blank space, baby. / And I’ll write your name.

The day has arrived! Whether you give birth naturally (see: “breathless”) or via cesarean (see: “nasty scar”), you’re now faced with one of your first big parenting decisions— what to name that baby. Even if you’ve had the perfect moniker picked out for years, there’s no denying the weight each letter carries as you fill out that little blank space for the very first time.


3. Style

When we go crashing down, we come back every time. / Cause we never go out of style.

I struggled with this one. Was there really a hidden message to new mothers buried in a song about an on-and-off relationship that just never dies? When I thought about the track that way, then yes— this song is an ode to the new relationship you’ve just formed with another human. Being a parent is hard work. Being a new parent is scary hard work. But no matter the ups and downs, you’ll come back every time. Because the mommy-baby bond is forever.


4. Out of the woods

Are we out of the woods yet? / Are we out of the woods?

(Do I even need to explain this one?) You’re in the thick of it now. Every time you think you’ve got something (eating, sleeping, pooping, crying) figured out, you end back at square one.


5. All you had to do was stay {asleep}

All you had to do was stay {asleep} / All you had to do was stay {asleep}

OMG. She just gets it.


6. Shake it off

But I keep moving / Can’t stop, won’t stop grooving

It’s like I got this music in my mind / Saying, “it’s gonna be alright.”

This is your JAM. This is the song for those moments when you may be sad, sleep-deprived, covered in vomit, and eating your seventh donut— but you just know it’s gonna be alright.

P.S. While Swift encourages you to shake it off, I’m certain she would never condone shaking it off with a baby.


7. I wish you would {stay asleep}

2 am, here we are. / See your face, hear my voice, in the dark.

I wish, I wish. / I wish, I wish.

Here we are. Again. It’s 2 am, and someone’s awake. Sleep regression is a difficult thing.


8. Bad Blood

Now we got problems. / And I don’t think we can solve them.

So if you’re coming my way… just don’t.

Oh, girl. Someone just said or did THE WRONG THING at the WRONG TIME. Maybe the pediatrician seems annoyed to answer a few questions. Perhaps it was the mom at the park staring down your bottle of formula. Whomever it is, whatever it was, baby, now you’ve got bad blood.


9. Wildest Dreams

Say you’ll remember me. / Standing in a nice dress. / Staring at the sunset, babe.

A few weeks or months postpartum, you begin to wonder if you’ll ever be the same. Or at least look the same. This is the ballad to your former self. The self that (at least for now) seems to just be a distant dream.


10. How you get the girl

Remind her how it used to be. / With pictures in frames of kisses on cheeks.

I love that Taylor takes a track to pick up her guitar and reflect on how parenthood affects relationships. It’s hard, focusing on yourselves, let alone each other, after a baby. But it’s important— and Swift reminds of that with lyrics reminiscent of marriage vows.


11. This love

In silent screams. / In wildest dreams. / I never dreamed of this.

After addressing the struggles and the tears, Swift gives us this quietly powerful ballad in tribute to the incredible love you feel towards this tiny new being. A love you never dreamed of. A love you will someday have to let go free.


12. I know places

‘Cause I know places we can hide.

To balance the sweetness of the last track, Swift throws in a reminder that we all need a break sometimes, a place to hide. I like to listen to this track while cowering in my closet; a mother fox being hunted by a tiny baby on horseback.


13. Clean

When I was drowning, that’s when I could finally breathe.

Of course the “power ballad” is Clean. A single word to describe that moment weeks or months (or years) later when you finally come up from the dark. And take a shower.


So, there you have it. Taylor Swift’s musical journey to motherhood.

Is it just me, or do you relate to any of the songs as a new mom?

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Renee K.
Hi. I’m Renee. Last year, I left my full-time job in New York, moved back home to Texas, bought a house, and popped out my first baby. Luckily, I did this all with my awesome husband and our totally bewildered cat. Now that we’re living in the RGV, I’m getting to know a whole new side of Texas— which I love. I also love my little girl, public libraries, fresh margaritas, adult conversation, and anything funny or satirical. (I used to love sleeping, but I think we all know that’s a lost cause.) When I’m not adjusting to life with a toddler, I'm working from home as a freelance copywriter. Oh, and downing copious amounts of iced coffee.



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