Last week my baby turned one. ONE YEAR OLD…. How did this happen? This has truly been the fastest year of my life. I know it is cliche but it feels like just a few weeks ago they placed my tiny, beautiful boy on my chest to meet for the first time. I remember it so clearly it can’t possible have happened a whole year ago.
But here we are one year later and so much has changed. I knew motherhood would be a learning experience. It would help me grow, change, and mature. In so many ways it has. Sometimes I feel like an entirely different person.
The transition to motherhood was not an easy one for me. I really struggled the first several months, and I still have moments where I feel like I’m barely hanging on. In fact the first time I had a true moment of feeling like “I SO have this under control”, (meaning the house was clean, I cooked every night that week and I actually felt rested) Jack was almost 11 months old and that feeling didn’t last long. So trust me, I didn’t just jump into motherhood having it all together and figured out. If someone tells you they did or appears to have it all together, trust me its not true.
There is so much I wish I could tell myself former self to prepare her better for motherhood, but I also realize that sometime you just have to learn from tough experiences.
So here is what I’ve learned, what I wish I could have told myself a year ago, and what I hope to share with other moms/future moms to ease their transition:
- Ask For Help (and be OK with it): This is still something I struggle with. I am better about accepting/asking for help but I still feel a lot of guilt. We received quite a bit of help from our parents and while it made a huge difference for us it made me feel guilty every time. I felt like less of a mom because I couldn’t manage on my own. Logically, I know it doesn’t make me less of a mom or mean I’m not capable. But it is still a struggle for me.
- Do what is best for YOU and YOUR BABY: Post-partum that is what matters most, doing what is best for you and your sweet new baby. Those first few weeks and months as you adjust you will hear a lot of “well I did this” or “my baby liked this best”. While most of those comments come with good intentions, do what works for YOU. Babies aren’t all the same. Parenting isn’t one size fits all! So do what you think is best and don’t feel bad if you do things different than everyone else.
- Move at your own pace: In the first few months of motherhood I was feeling pressure to welcome visitors, go out without my baby, try new sleeping methods, etc. I would hear moms say they moved their baby to his/her own room at 3 months or they had their first date night away at 4 weeks but I just wasn’t their yet. I felt like I needed to be doing all of this same things but it didn’t feel right for me. and THATS OK. Do things at your own pace. If you don’t feel ready for a night out then don’t go. If you don’t feel ready to introduce a bottle, then don’t do it. Do what feels right to YOU and on your own time frame.
- Stop Comparing Yourself: Just as every baby is different so is every mother. The chances of your motherhood journey looking exactly like someone else’s is rare. So don’t feel like you need to be on the same page as everyone else. Of course it is ok so seek advice and inspiration from other mothers but just know that your journey is going to be different than theirs and you can’t expect the same outcomes every time.