Reflections on My First Year as a Mother…

Today, June 5, 2012, is a year to the day that I brought my brand new baby boy home from the hospital. It seemed like a good time to reflect on the past year, the bitter and the sweet.

What an incredible year this has been. No one can EVER prepare you for the monumental changes in your life that occur when you become a mother. They are huge; the kind of changes that alter your very being. I have done a good job of hiding those changes externally, but internally, I do truly feel like a completely different person than before I had a child. I now feel like my life has happened in 2 phases; B.C. (Before Children)- the ego-centric, self-developing versions of myself, and A.D. (After Delivery)- the absolute focus on my child version of me. Both have had their ups and downs, their challenges and rewards, but the rewards with my A.D. self seem so much sweeter. When I look back over the year that has been my first as a mother, every part feels filled with highlights, lowlights and lessons.

From the day of Finlay’s birth (I so deperately wanted to have a natural childbirth and felt like I had failed, but then I having my beautiful, baby boy born healthy and thriving);

To struggling though the early days of nursing (gut wrenching pain and trauma from him being tongue tied and figuring out that something was wrong and getting it fixed) and now having nursing becoming the most worderful, bonding experience (that we still love to do together today);

To the early days of counting everything (every poop, every pee, every feeding, amount of sleep, any activity) to relaxing into my ultimate momma-groove where I chucked out the “expert advice” and mothered by feel, by instinct (I could never imagine how rewarding it would be to develop such a keen instinct for my child);

To embracing attachment parenting (skin-to-skin, co-sleeping, baby wearing, nursing, cloth diapering, baby-led weaning) and being able to shrug off any strange or silly looks that I got;

To the sleepless nights (of which there were, and still will be, so many. Most of which were self-induced from motherhood anxiety and insomnia) and realizing just how little sleep you need to truly function on;

To living through Finlay’s napless phase and realizing I can now add child entertainer to my resume (now he sleeps so well I can barely remember the months where he refused. Boy, we did a lot of baking, playing, singing, travelling/driving and activities together to get through that time!);

To the solid food drama (of cat-food like meat purees and vegetable pastes (no wonder he hated that so much) which told me, once again, to listen to my instincts and do something different (despite public health and doctors opinions) which led us to baby-led weaning which was such a wonderful gift;

To the uncertainty about childcare and having to face the reality of daycare and that other people would play a key role in my child’s development (ultimately, this was far harder on me than him as we found a wonderful place that he loves) and realizing that I could still be a good mother (perhaps even a better mother) even if I was working;

To learning not to wish for my son to be older or able to do things that he can’t now (that those things would happen soon enough) and that every phase in his development comes with pros and cons and need to be nurtured and celebrated;

To finally watching Finlay grow from a little baby into a little boy and realizing that I can’t stop or slow down this clock, so I must embrace and cherish every day as it truly is a special gift.

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What a year this has been for both of us!

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