Ava’s first birthday is a week away and I honestly can’t believe how fast this year has gone by. Those early months crept by, started speeding up towards the middle, and then I blinked and realized she’s going to be a year old. I’m not going to lie, this year has many ups and downs and tested my strength and patience to the fullest. But, it’s also been the most rewarding and joyful year of our lives. I wanted to share what I’ve learned in this first year, incase there are any other new moms or soon to be moms reading out there.
1. No matter how baby savvy you think you are, you’re WRONG.
I was 11 years old when my younger sister was born and I was pretty much her second mother. I felt pretty confident that I knew what to expect having a new baby and I knew it wasn’t going to be all sunshine and roses. But, I didn’t expect how hard it was actually going to be. Ava ended up having silent reflux & is ‘high needs’ (more on that here), which I was seriously unprepared for. So, no matter how much baby experience you have, just remember there will always be a curveball thrown in there somewhere. It may not be as intense as my experience, but I think every baby has some surprises up his or her sleeve.
2. Enjoy the newborn stage and the snuggles.
Because I had such a hard time with Ava in the beginning, everyone told me to enjoy her being small, that it wouldn’t last forever. But, I was so stressed and sleep deprived that I couldn’t, all I wanted was for her to get older so things could get better. I became convinced that each month older she got, the better she would get. It was probably the only thing that got me through most days, thinking there was a light at the end of the tunnel. But, now I see why people told me that because now I have an almost one year old who doesn’t keep still and thinks snuggles are lame. I hold my friends’ newborns and my heart aches for those days and I wish I had enjoyed them more.
3. Don’t feel bad if you don’t have that ‘new mom bliss’.
People would say to me, “Isn’t it great? Don’t you love being mom?” I would outwardly gush, but on the inside I was thinking, “Yah, it’s alright. I guess.” I felt guilty for not being as enthused as I was supposed to be, I mean wasn’t this what I’ve always wanted? Why aren’t I more happy? And I seriously missed my freedom. I remember thinking pre-pregnancy that I was ready for a baby. My husband and I both had great jobs, we were done with going out and partying til the early hours of the morning. But, when you have a baby and you don’t even have the option for spontaneity, it’s a completely different story. I just want to get my eyebrows threaded, not even go to the movies, but I can’t even do the mundane without pre-planning. I was always the person who got my haircut on a whim, I never made appointments for anything. Not so much anymore. Being a mom is a give and take, priorities shift and it’s okay. I miss being able to what I want when I want, but not as much as I miss Ava when I’m away from her (even if it’s only for an hour).
4. Do what you think is right for your child, ignore the peanut gallery.
I nursed Ava for the first 3 months, and I would have gone longer if I could. I remember people making comments like ‘oh she’s still hungry’ or ‘I think she need formula’. I did question myself at times, but I didn’t let it change my mind. Or when Ava started with stranger anxiety early, people said ‘oh just let me hold her, she’ll get used to it’. I always took her back when she cried, she obviously was not going to ‘get used to it’. Or when people told me not to hold her too much, because it would make her spoiled. SMH. You’re the mom, the one who makes the decisions because you know your child best. Don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise.
5. You’re stronger than you think.
There were many days I wondered how much I could handle, I would wake up and wonder if I could take any more stress and worry over Ava’s silent reflux issues. There were weeks I didn’t sleep at all and wondered how I’d make it through the next day. But, somehow I always did. It wasn’t easy, but I did the best I could. The love you have for your child will always guide you through, even in when you feel your lowest.
6. Seeing your baby happy is unlike anything else. (#mommybrain I just noticed my title and my list don’t quite match up!)
I remember the first time I made Ava laugh I did the same silly noises over and over again to keep her going. And I recorded the whole thing and watched over and over again. I still watch it even though she laughs pretty easily now, just because of how special that moment was to me.