BRAINERD — The newborn phase was challenging for Laura Radniecki when she became a first-time mom.

Last year, when her sister-in-law announced a pregnancy, Radniecki began thinking back on her first days of motherhood. “The change of routine — or the lack of routine, more so — was really hard for me, and the encouragement that I wished that I could have, I wanted to write for her,” Radniecki said. “So I thought, ‘Oh, that would be a neat book.’”

So a book it became.

Published in March, “Dear Mama: 100 Letters of Encouragement for the Milestones of Motherhood” is exactly what the title implies. It contains short letters meant to inspire hope and provide a little bit of support for new moms at each step of the journey.

It begins even before a baby is born, when aspiring parents decide to start trying for a baby, and wraps up around the time a child is kindergarten age with “Letter #100 For you, when you realize even though you are tired and weary, you wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

“It was a labor of love, for sure,” Radniecki said. “... It was very close to the heart, so I edited it myself. I didn’t have anyone else read it or anything before I published it.”

Among the letters are those addressing topics like infertility, labor and delivery, breastfeeding, returning to work, the first birthday, sleep deprivation, mom guilt and the first day of kindergarten.

A mom to 7-year-old Raleigh and 4.5-year-old River, Radniecki drew on her own experiences with young kids, not necessarily offering advice, but love.

“I’m still totally figuring things out. I’m definitely not an expert in any realm of motherhood,” she said. “It’s camaraderie and encouragement and support.”

And it’s just the beginning.

The book is the first in what Radniecki has planned of a four-book series, each dealing with another stage of motherhood as children grow up and become adults.

The next installment will approximately cover kindergarten through middle school, with the third going on to the teenage years and fourth and final work hitting on parenting adult children.

Because her kids are still young, Radniecki plans to crowdsource some of the information from friends and family.

“I have a lot of supportive people,” she said. “... And they have older children, and so they’re helping me kind of pick the topics because I’m not to that middle phase yet.

But I’m basically drawing on what I think I will want to hear and also maybe what my mom would have wanted to hear.”

While Radniecki starts working on the next books, she’ll still be basking in the thrill of her recent publication.

“Overall, it seemed to flow easier than I expected it to, which makes me feel like I was meant to write it,” she said, noting seeing the final product in print is both surreal and amazing.

Radniecki will be at the Brainerd High School craft fair May 13 to promote and sell her book, days before Mother’s Day, along with other craft items. Books are also available on Amazon.

If there’s one thing new moms get out of her book, Radniecki hopes it’s reassurance.

“That they’re doing a good job, that they’re gonna be OK no matter what the situation or the phase or whatever they’re struggling with.

They’re doing the best they can, and everything will be OK,” she said. “And that they are enough, and they have what it takes to be the mother that their kids need.”

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at