I can’t believe that I have been able to officially call myself “mama” for a year now! Didn’t I just write this post sharing her birth story?! As I look back on the past 364 days, I have a few reflections to share about the experience as tomorrow is Sophie’s first birthday!
I never want it to seem like I “have it all figured out” because I most definitely don’t. Most days I’m just winging it! But if there’s anything I can do to pass on any knowledge I’ve gained to help others’ lives go smoother, I am more than happy to be that resource and friendly voice! In the spirit of sharing, here are ten lessons and learnings from my first year as a mom:
Experiencing pregnancy and then observing your baby grow up outside of your body has to be one of the coolest things I have ever witnessed. The way nature just *happens* is mind-blowing and I have felt SO lucky to be experiencing it firsthand, especially since I get to spend all day with Sophie so I never miss a moment.
I can’t believe how much my perception of time has changed after having Sophie; it just seems to be perpetually in fast forward now. Everyone warned me this would happen and I sort of understood [conceptually] what they meant, but after having actually experienced it for myself… now I GET IT. Everything feels like it’s in warp speed! I don’t know if this new rate of speed for time is because babies develop sooooo much within the first year or if it’s just going to be like this from now on. I’ll have to report back. 😉
I was not prepared for the way random things trigger big emotions now (like rotating baby’s clothes out to the next size up, moving to crib from bassinet, or putting the formula machine away when they move on to milk and solids). They all just feel like physical reminders of how quickly time is passing and each step breaks my heart a little bit.
Speaking of feelings, I still haven’t fully adjusted to the daily conflict of paradoxical parental emotions. I am beyond proud and overjoyed when Sophie finally accomplishes a milestone that I’ve been watching her work so hard to achieve (like rolling, crawling, standing, etc.), but then also simultaneously emotionally destroyed because it means she’s that much closer to being a grown up. 😩
It’s amazing to look back on her development over the last twelve months… she’s come SO far! She used to just be the tiniest little snuggle bug that would only eat, sleep and potty and now she’s crawling, playing, standing, feeding herself and getting into mischief all day and my heart could just burst from all of the emotions I am feeling.
Watching your baby discover and explore everything around them is the most amazing thing. Seeing the world through their new eyes is pretty damn cool; I love watching her fascination and wonderment with every little thing. I do regret not being able to share more of the world with Sophie in this first year, but I have been pretty nervous about exposing her to germs unnecessarily and have made an extra effort to protect her health throughout this pandemic. Now that we’ve got her vaccination on the horizon I am determined to get out of the house more often!
As a Type A person I have really had to learn to let go of always trying to achieve perfection. Some days, just getting through the day is my only objective. Other days that has meant letting baby take a contact nap on me during the time that I had earmarked for getting the kitchen straightened up. I have had to accept that I can’t get everything done with only so many hours in a day and Sophie only needed me for contact naps for so long. Putting the chores off was sooo worth it; I promise the dishes and laundry were still there waiting for me when our snuggly nap was over. 😉
Another Type A thing that I struggle with is allowing baby to get messy and have the full sensory experience during playtime or while eating. It just takes ALL of my self control not to constantly be tidying and wiping up every 30 seconds. 🙈 It’s hard, okay? But I’m working on it.
One major takeaway I have gotten from motherhood is that I am a lot stronger than I used to think that I was. Pregnancy was challenging, giving birth was scary and challenging, parenting is challenging… but we’ve made it this far and I’m so amazed with the growth of our little family.
Admittedly, I am still coming to terms with my new body, but am trying to learn to love it and appreciate everything it has done for me and for Sophie. Giving myself grace isn’t something that comes easily for me, but every day I’m inching closer and closer to acceptance. My body felt so foreign after Sophie was born… I barely recognized myself and would often cry in the shower because even bathing myself just felt so different. It has taken time for me to come to terms with how things have changed, so if you are also struggling to adjust just know that you aren’t alone.
I have found that most other people are a lot more patient and kind than we give them credit for. This doesn’t include everyone, of course, but majority of people are very sweet and understanding. It’s always so moving to me when a complete stranger offers to assist me when we’re traveling with Sophie. I recall what a brat I used to be when I was younger and how I would react poorly any time a baby started crying on a flight or in a public space and I’m honestly embarrassed by it.
Parents are just doing their best and we need to cut them some slack. The fact is, kids are going to cry and sometimes that happens in public. A little compassion and understanding goes a long way, especially with new parents. Please be kind.
I have always known that I wanted to be a mom, but I don’t think I realized the sense of fulfillment and absolute joy that being a parent would bring for me. Sophie is everything I have ever wanted in a child and more — even better than I could have possibly dreamt. I love this motherhood journey more than I can ever possibly hope to express. It is hands-down both the most challenging thing and the best thing that I have ever done with my life.
This is not only a celebration of Sophie’s life, but I am also considering it a personal celebration of “making it” as a parent for our first year! And what a memorable year it’s been. Those first few weeks were brutal… barely functioning on very little sleep, we had absolutely no idea what we were doing, terrified we were going to make a mistake, and then day by day our confidence has grown and now here we are twelve months later and while I still don’t feel totally confident that we “know what we’re doing”, I feel pretty damn good about this past year and how far we’ve come.
Cheers to parenthood and to our wonderful baby girl! We can’t wait to see what this next year brings! We love you, Sophie-girl!
Thanks for being along for the ride, friends.
Sending hugs —