2013: My first year of motherhood – highs, lows and in between
For me, reflecting on 2013 is intertwined with reflecting on my first year of motherhood – since my baby girl was born on New Year’s Day and all. If you get sentimental come the end of another year, and around your children’s birthdays, then you might understand how I am feeling today.
Here are a couple highs, lows and in betweens of 2013:
All the firsts – the first smile, the first babble, the first crawl, the first steps.
Heading out in a torrential January downpour to see a lactation consultant with a 8-day-old baby in tow who wouldn’t stop screaming. Turns out I wasn’t producing enough milk to satisfy her (hence the screaming) because of a poor latch (hence my cracked and painful nipples) Breastfeeding slowly got better after this day, but it took awhile to really find our stride. To all you new breastfeeding mamas out there – it gets better.
What I’ve learned
Motherhood is harder than anyone can convey, but also easier and more natural than I expected. I know that doesn’t make sense. The challenges, sleep deprivation and sacrifices in the first year of motherhood were more than I prepared for, but they also came easy. It’s an instinctual, almost compulsive kind of sacrifice that just takes over and does its thing. Understanding this now, my unsolicited advice for soon-to-be moms is that the first year is simultaneously harder and easier than you can imagine.
What I’ve found
That I’m an introvert and that’s OK. I truly enjoy spending time with Joe and Baby G and our wiener dog. But beyond that, I don’t need to fill my life with tons of social events to be happy. I’m content with my family, my books and my hobbies. And I’ve found that I’m no good in groups, especially “moms” groups… More on that later.
Fourth degree perineal tear, and the long postpartum recovery. Joe and I were talking just the other day about whether we want another child someday. We realized that we are both still very much traumatized from the birth experience and its aftermath. He’s frightened that if we were to have another baby, “it” would happen all over again.
Hearing my husband and baby girl squeal with laughter from another room. This year, I got to see Joe morph into a man who loves and provides for his family, who smothers his baby girl with kisses, and who puts our needs before his own. We married young, practically still kids ourselves. (We were 23 and 22.) Just 4 1/2 years later, he’s the kind of man who wakes up before the sun, works all day, and still comes home ready to be a father.
Here’s to another year full of mistakes, lessons and fresh starts. See you on the other side.