I did it! *raises arms and exclaims with joy* My sweet, tiny 7 lb. baby boy with the head full of dark hair is now a one year old. When I look back now on first becoming a mom and those first few weeks of sleep deprivation and not really knowing what the hell I was doing, I wasn’t sure if I would make it out of that newborn up-all-night phase sane. (the sane part is still yet to be determined by my husband). Yet I must say, I learned so much about myself in this past year than ever before in my life. Honestly. If your looking to find out how emotionally strong you are, have a baby. You will be tested on so many levels that you never thought possible.
When I was handed my tiny son wrapped up tightly in his hospital blanket, I looked at him and instantly fell in love. I had absolutely no idea in the world what I was doing but pretty soon, it just came to me, and the role of being a mom was something that I knew I was destined to be. There were plenty of things about caring for a newborn that I was uncertain of and to be honest, I had a few trail and error along the way. But alas, we are here and made it. It was a long road yet at the very same time, it all went by way too damn fast.
So here it is: my 20 things that I survived during my first year of motherhood.
1. The first night home from the hospital
When I remember back to the first night in our own home with no nurses checking in on us every hour and left to care for our son by ourselves, it wasn’t that bad. To my surprise, I got less sleep because of my own paranoia by checking on B every 20 min. with every little move/sound he made. He slept for 2 hour stretches at a time and I probably got a whole 15 minutes. The whole night.
2. The breast-feeding struggles
Well, breast-feeding wasn’t too easy on us. Much to my surprise, I thought it would be as easy as putting a baby to my boob and that was that. Ha! Nope. So we struggled quite a bit. There were many late-nights of my frustrations and Beaux really sensed it and had tears of his own. There were many nights when we both cried together. But we got through it and found something that worked for us both.
3. The post-partum feelies
The worst! Never have I felt like that in my life- emotions all over the place; sadness, happy, loneliness, it was all there. They mainly triggered at night when I was up nursing and I would look at B and just bawl my eyes out thinking how amazing something like him was. Yeah, it was hell for about two weeks and then, just like a light-switch, I was normal again. Hormones suck!!
4. The many late nights/running on minimal sleep
I remember when I would wake up every 2-3 hours to nurse or pump and I thought I would never survive this. I will say that on many occasion, I did most of these things with my eyes half open and there were many times when I fell asleep with B on my chest on the recliner out of pure laziness of not wanting to move my body. But, your body magically adjusts to these demands and I was soon able to run on little sleep.
5. Getting peed/pooped/thrown-up on
It just happens and it’s gonna happen. I got spit-up on so many times that after a while, I just didn’t bother to change whatever he spit up on. Gross? Absolutely. But if it’s a smidge, then only you will know.
6. Getting through the “I have no idea what you need from me” phase
With a new baby, it’s a whole different ball game. This tiny human needs so much from you and in the very beginning, it’s so damn hard to figure out exactly what that is. I remember days/nights of me and Ricky doing everything under the sun and Beaux was still not a happy camper. But soon enough, I learned what he liked/didn’t like and we both adapted to this new crazy life.
7. Making it through the first series of shots
I cried right along with Beaux when he got his two month shots -but it did get easier for me. He also didn’t react well to his first series of shots- fevers and super cranky that infant’s Tylenol was my BFF. Thankfully, this has gotten better with age.
8. Dealing with the advice
The un-welcomed advice is only the beginning when your pregnant because it rears it’s annoying head full-force after baby comes. I heard about it all- how to feed my son, how he should self-soothe to sleep, how he should have baby cereal in his bottles- but here’s my advice: I did whatever I felt was best for my baby because at the end of the day, i’m the momma! (note to self: never be one of those people!)
9. Making it through being a ‘pumping-only’ momma
Eventually, nursing wasn’t cutting it so I went to just pumping for B and man, this was like a full-time job on it’s own. It’s hard and tiring and I wanted to give up so many times. Like I said earlier, BFing was way harder than I thought and now, I’m happy to be more informed and a little aware of what to do next time around. But if your out there and can only pump, keep it up- it’s hard but it’s totally doable. (we made it to 4 months)
10. Dealing with the remarks and feeling like a failure
When I decided to quit pumping, it did get to me for a while there. I felt like a failure and a bad mom, and remarks from people about how breast milk is the only best thing to give your baby made me feel even worse. I’m totally over that crap now and I know that I did what worked for me and B and he was on formula for the majority of his life, but he’s incredibly healthy and developmentally normal. Once again, whatever works best for you and baby is the only way to go.
11. Literally doubting yourself every step of the way
Does this ever go away? My guess is no. I foresee many days wondering and questioning if what I just did or said was “the right thing to do”- however, learning to accept that you will never totally have it all together makes it easier now. There will be tough and shitty days but it’s only one day. It doesn’t make you a bad parent.
12. Making it through the rough transitions
So far I’d say that has been sleep training and letting B cry it out. We’ve been doing this for months and I STILL want to race back in his room and rock him to sleep, but the glorious thing is now, he doesn’t even cry himself to sleep anymore, and in the morning, he will play and babble to himself until one of us gets him. Sleep training has been the best thing we could have done. *pats self on back*
The word itself is ugly. I freakin’ loathed this stage, and I felt like Beaux was teething for most of his short life. There really is nothing to do besides to stock up on Tylenol and hope for the best.
14. The first cold
I feared that day and when it came, it wasn’t that bad. B came down with a slight cold with a little runny nose and fever and it lasted probably two days.
15. The sleep regression
Oh this was is FUN. [sense the sarcasm] It was like 8 months when Beaux just decided to wake up every 3 hours and man did that get old quick. It didn’t last long, probably a week, but it was rough. I heard from mommy friends that there’s another sleep regression at like 18 months? I shall mentally prepare now….
16. The realization that you won’t ever get your pre-baby body back
Now this is really not true for most women, but if you’re like me then well, you can totally relate. Unfortunately, I was not blessed with the genes that allowed me to bounce right back to a flat stomach after child birth, so this kinda sucked. Once I realized that it’s normal to slowly lose the weight (because you put it on over 9 months-it isn’t gonna disappear overnight!) I came to terms with my new mom bod. And the truth that wearing a skimpy bikni will probably never be in my future.
17. Sex after child-birth
So I had to put it on the list because merely surviving this horrid action deserves praise. Let me tell you, I was scared at even the THOUGHT of this 6 weeks post-partum but eventually, it all becomes normal again.
18. Balancing life
At first, I was so overwhelmed with my new life and I thought I would never be able to juggle or find a balance between being a mom and being my own ‘person’. While I still haven’t figured all of that out, it does get a hell of a lot better (i said ‘better’ and not ‘easier’ for a reason. ha) and you quickly learn that the laundry,dishes, and scrubbing the floors can all be put on hold.
19. Making it through those never-ending hard days
Some days, are just plain hard. For any reason. The baby is cranky because he’s teething, or refuses to eat his lunch and throws every single piece of food on the floor and then wails an hour later because he’s hungry- these bad days never last. Naps and 7 p.m. are a Godsend.
20. Letting your baby have their independence
It’s bittersweet because I want B to stay small forever and for him to always need me. But letting him soothe himself to sleep, feed himself and accomplish a new set of skills is the beginning of letting him be the independent and successful little guy we want him to be. I want him to stay little and innocent forever, but he must grow up, and do amazing things!
A flashback of my favorite newborn shot of our tiny Tootie <3