My First Year of Motherhood
People always ask me “So how’s motherhood?”, and honestly it depends on the day that you ask me. Some days I feel like I’m rockin’ it as a mom and others I feel like a complete failure. In some ways motherhood as come so much easier than I ever expected and in other ways it has been more difficult than I could have imagined. This first year has been full of joy, laughter and more love than I ever thought I would know or understand, but not without its tears, fears, anxiety, that oh so famous “mom-guilt” and yes, even some depression. My first year of motherhood has been an amazing experience and I’m sharing my story, my feelings with my fellow moms, moms-to-be, anyone wanting to become a mom, or those of you who just like reading blogs. Now, I always say that amongst other moms should be a “no judgement zone” and I’m sure that many of you mothers can agree with that, and hopefully all of you can keep that in mind as I lay my feelings out on the line here.
If you read my birthing story than you know that I did not have that “fall in love the second I saw her” moment, the exhaustion and shock of finally being done pushing overwhelmed me. But, that in no way takes away from the love I came to have for my daughter. Everyday my love started to grow for her, but so did my fears and worries. I thought I had anxiety problems before becoming a mom, ha! I was just starting to know what anxiety really was (I am not discrediting those without kids that do suffer from anxiety, we all have our own problems to worry about, but I realized mine greatly increased with my new baby). Before having my baby I always said that I would NEVER be that overprotective mom who didn’t let anyone hold her baby. I wanted to be very go with the flow and not worry too much. I’ve always felt like here in America people make such a big deal about every little thing meanwhile in other countries people are much more easy going and their kids are fine. Well, I did let people hold her whenever they asked but inside it bothered me so much. I never thought I would be like that! My mind was filled with what if’s. Even if they wash their hands, what if they are getting sick and don’t know it yet, what if they drop her, what if one of my crazy cats goes to jump on her and their reflexes are not fast enough to protect her. My mind went wild for every second that someone else held my baby all while I had a smile on my face and let everyone pass her on from person to person. I quickly learned that this was only the beginning of my fears and worries. I will not take you through every single one because this post would never end if I did, but by the end of this post you might have a glimpse of how my mind as a mother operates, lol.
My husband and I live far from family so the first few weeks we had a constant flow of family and some friends who stayed with us, it was nice to have the company and help in the beginning. Once the flow of guest stopped we also had a lot of helpful friends nearby that offered to make meals and come over, but eventually the constant help started to slow down as my husband and I started to “settle in” to parenthood. After my husband returned to work and all our guest left I realized that I was going to have to do this, take care of her all by myself. I thought to myself “people do this all the time, why can’t I?”. I really can’t complain though, in the beginning my baby was so easy to care for, it was me who had all the problems. Some days she slept all day and I cleaned all day and felt like a rockstar while other days I cried all day. Sometimes I cried because I felt alone and other times I had no idea why I was crying, I just sat there and cried. In all reality I knew I wasn’t truly alone, if I had called one of my friends nearby I knew I could have some company within a matter of minutes but I didn’t want people to know that I was crying, or ask me what’s wrong. I didn’t even know what was wrong, maybe I just wanted to cry, but then of course that led to mom-guilt which than resulted in more crying, it’s a vicious cycle y’all. But whenever I looked at my baby girl I was filled with joy and love. Then came the tears of joy. I was proud of myself for actually giving birth and for nursing through the pain and struggle (that’s a whole other story, who knows maybe another blog post! Lol) I was amazed at the beauty of creation and felt blessed that I was able to take part in creating this beautiful baby girl. I thanked God every time I held her in my arms and looked at her flawless face (and still do). I have never felt a love so strong and all I wanted was to give her all of my love.
As the days, weeks and months past I started to realize that motherhood was going to be a constant up and down. I never truly felt the expression “bitter sweet” until I had my baby girl and started to watch her grow. I was so happy and proud that she was growing healthy and beautifully but I was so sad that time continued to pass. I felt like I wasn’t truly taking in every single second of motherhood and like every time I looked at my baby she was bigger and older. Why does time have to pass so fast y’all?! I’m getting emotional just thinking about it. As she started to grow I realized that there is no feeling as amazing as watching a baby, your baby, learn. Every time she learned something new, even something so simple, I was so proud and amazed. I feel like I can just see the gears in her mind working when she figures something out. It’s a beautiful thing, it really is.
I am so blessed to have many friends with babies just months apart from my daughter. It’s wonderful to go through motherhood with a tribe that is experiencing the same or very similar situations. I have learned so much through their experiences and sometimes it’s just nice to share crazy mom stories, haha. I love that I don’t feel completely alone in this journey, however, with that also comes the comparisons. At first I did it all the time. I wondered why my baby wasn’t already doing something that another baby was doing or why she acted one way while others acted another. Don’t do it! Don’t compare your kids with others. I eventually learned that every baby is so different and you can’t compare at all. Just because one baby learns to turn over first, or crawl first, or walk first it doesn’t mean that your baby is slow or behind. It just means that they are different. I learned to stop worrying about when my baby did something because honestly, she will eventually learn to walk, talk, sleep through the night, use the potty by herself. Whether it’s at 6 months or 2 years (or more for some things), she WILL learn these things. I finally learned to stop comparing, but that didn’t stop others from comparing. My baby girl looks older than she is which has led others to compare her with babies months older than her. At first it would really bother me, I guess it’s something I’m still working actually, but I’m learning to let those comments go. I will not expect more of my baby just because someone thinks she “should be” doing something. A little baby doesn’t need that stress or pressure.
My husband and I have decided to raise our baby in the most loving way possible and just go with the flow. For us that works. Strict rules and schedules just frustrate me and stress me out. Though this may work great for some families I feel like expecting my baby to adhere to demanding rules and schedules is unrealistic. Every family should do what is best for their family without passing judgment on others. One of the biggest problems I am currently facing is dealing with opinions of others. In many occasions people have made me feel like a mom who is thoughtless or unaware of the needs of her baby. I am constantly having to remind myself that most people are just trying to help and are not intentionally trying to hurt my feelings while others just don’t think before speaking. I wonder sometimes how many times I have unintentionally hurt someone else’s feelings. This helps me to get over my feelings faster, but I’m still working on not getting offended at all and letting these comments just roll off my shoulder. It’s all a work in progress.
In my first year of motherhood I have gone through so much. I have felt so much love and happiness along with a whole lot of anxiety. I have spent many days home crying wishing I could be a better mom not realizing that I was already doing a great job. I have learned so much about myself and have grown as a person and mother. If I could give pregnant me some motherhood advice I would say to enjoy every single second of motherhood even the most difficult and stressful ones because it goes by way too fast. Always trust your instincts, Mama knows best is a saying for a good reason. People are going to make comments, give you advice you didn’t ask for, and even judge you. Don’t worry about it, let it go. Remember that before having a baby you did the same thing, sometimes people just don’t know better. And don’t be hard on yourself because you are going to be a great mom!
I love hearing the experiences of other mothers. What were some of your fears and worries? How did you overcome them or are you still dealing with them? What are some of the happiest moments you have had so far as a mother? Please comment below to share your feelings!