I cannot believe that in 42 days, my daughter will be one. I remember when I was first pregnant with her how excited I was. I had a miscarriage right before we conceived her, so my emotions were very heightened. Then about a week after I found out, I passed out, and then the next week I was so ill, the joy of pregnancy had pretty much been sapped right from me. The first trimester was nothing like I had expected it to be. I expected to be sick, but not like that. Oh no, nothing could have prepared me for what I faced. It was a very isolating and lonely experience. You’re told that pregnancy is wonderful, and then there I was in a tube getting an MRI after having vision disturbances from puking too much.
Yet on the flip side, my pregnancy was also amazing. I had a wonderful third trimester, and 2nd trimester was great come 20 weeks. I slept great and rarely felt uncomfortable. I walked on the treadmill the day I went into labor. This is what is enticing me into having another one. I think it was a trick so I’d forget those early horrific days. LOL.
Having baby doodlebug was also unlike what I expected, but I was prepared. Long labor, long pushing, and a c-section that I did not want but had to have. Nursing was a challenge latch wise, but we moved past that and got into a rhythm. What once seemed hard became so natural, so easy. I am certain that nursing my daughter truly bonded the two of us, and I am not looking forward to it ending. I know she is very attached, literally. There were some nights in the beginning when I truly felt extreme envy for my sleeping husband while I nursed her…nights when I wish he would grow breasts. We were very fortunate in that she was a good sleeper. We were getting good sleep for parents with a newborn. The hours she spent in the evening when she nursed all evening (during growth spurts at 4 weeks/8 weeks) were hard sometimes. I remember calling my husband crying, with the baby crying in the background. It was a rough night and she had been on the boob all evening, and I was starving.
After having such a tough time eating while pregnant, it was such a delight to find that eating a lot was a requirement for nursing. Sometimes though, it is a lot of work eating for two, although it has gotten a lot easier since she nurses less. There were many days when I felt exhausted and my blood sugar would drop from the demand that making milk puts on the body. My husband always said, “You just ate. How are you hungry?” But when he saw how small I became, even smaller than pre-pregnancy, he definitely understood I wasn’t joking about being hungry,
I think one of my most vivid memories of the first year was how daunting it felt leaving the house to go somewhere with her alone for the first time. Everything from getting her in the car with all of the stuff we needed–diaper bag, snacks for me, water, stroller, etc…lifting her and the stroller with my post-c section weakness….by the time I arrived at moms group, I was exhausted, yet I felt so triumphant that I had made it out. She was 4 weeks old at the time. I was back at the gym walking, but hadn’t lifted weights yet of course, and was getting out and about. I realized that even motherhood wasn’t going to keep me from being antsy. I can’t help it. I’ve got a lot of social energy to burn. I brought the baby around a lot of friends (healthy ones of course), and did my best to socialize her. I think I’ve done a great job with that. Making mom friends has also been pretty essential…I have quite few, but I am still developing those friendships. Being outgoing has helped me tremendously in this department. Plus I definitely crave adult conversation. I think as much as the dad’s world changes, a mother or the primary caregiver’s ( dads can be the primary caregiver of course!!) changes more. Suddenly your whole definition of you changes. It is hard some days. I miss me time. I miss seeing friends without the baby in tow, but I’ve gotten used to it. The hubby and I rely on each other hardcore, and while it was an adjustment for us both, we manage. I envy people with all this help.
I also miss time with my husband. I try my best in the extremely rare alone moments we have to not talk about her the whole time. We decompress together in the evenings–those when we are both home and not one of us working (that is hard…working and missing being home when he is).
I think something I did not expect was how having a child would make me look at my own childhood. I knew that I would do things both differently and similarly from my own upbringing, but I didn’t realize how it would make me look at some things that I had never paid attention to before with such a scrutiny. I feel like I missed out on certain things as a kid…and I definitely wonder how life would have been for me had I had those things. I am also glad I wasn’t an only child, and I truly hope my daughter will not be also. I wonder how it might have been though had my sisters been closer to my age. In my ways, I was an only child due to the age gap.
I also learned this year how having a baby wouldn’t help repair bad relationships with people. even though I had hoped it would. That has been a huge, but expected, disappointment. It won’t change if we have another, which I sure hope we do. My anxiety also hasn’t lessened since having a baby. No shock there. I am more aware of it, and i do my best to cope with it. Sometimes it’s fine and not there at all, but other days, it’s a thorn in my side. It’s the one thing I feel that truly brings me down. I do my best to surpress it when I feel myself having a bad day, so the baby won’t pick up on it.
And although intellectually I told myself working when having a baby would be hard, I didn’t realize how hard. Or how good working would feel at times. How nice it is to have an identity that has nothing to do with parenthood, poopy diapers, or leaking boobs.
Some friendships I felt would truly blossom this year did not happen, while all of my friends I was already close with spent time checking in with and seeing me often. Nothing changed after having the baby. I appreciate these friendships even more.
I also didn’t realize how much teething and separation anxiety would change my daughter’s resting habits…that was the hardest for us to adjust to after being so spoiled with a good sleeper—who never really napped. I still find myself surprised when the baby seems to just want her mommy. I guess part of me still can’t believe she loves me. I feel so lucky to have her.
I didn’t realize how annoyed I would be with moms who appear–or who don’t show–any bad moments or frustrations. And while I knew I wouldn’t love making dinner nightly, I didn’t realize how often I’d hate it, although I have to admit that I really love when the finished product tastes great! That it feels awesome when my kid eats what I make. I still cannot believe that my kid eats table food made by me and not a food company. Me! Me the girl who just learned how to use a crock pot.
That is something I’m truly proud of. I stuck through my commitment to nurse, and to make her food and try to somewhat follow a Baby-Led Weaning approach. I think motherhood has made me more confident and willing to try things even if I’m hesitant. Sometimes, I have no choice but to try, and this has helped me grow as a person.