The first year of motherhood
The first year of motherhood has been the biggest and best thing I’ve ever done. My lowest lows and highest highs all smashed into 365 days (not to mention the 9 months spent incubating prior to that). As I reflect on a whole year of sinking deeper and deeper into this new version of me, I have so much to celebrate. So much fierceness to feel proud of. I’ll never forget when I turned to my midwife in the moments after being sewn up. She asked me how I was feeling and I just said ‘I feel like a bad ass’. If you want to ask me what was hard about the first year, I’ll gladly talk your ear off. But for now, let’s relish in the absolute beauty of the first year with a teeny tiny baby.
First year. I loved it for so many reasons. I love that it was the first days, weeks and months of me learning who I am as a mother. Looking in the mirror each day and seeing with more and more clarity that I am, in fact, the mother of a son. A baby boy who relies on me fully, with all the innocence in the world. I’ve loved that intensity. That every moment I’m with this little boy, I’m constantly reminded of the true awe of this thing we’re doing. I’m his mom! He grew inside of me, I birthed him without ever having done it before, and now he walks around and points to things and gives me kisses on the mouth. I never want to stop being blown away by this.
First year. With it, came breastfeeding. Something I intended to do but was never promised the success of. Somehow I was gifted ease around this journey and it has been one of my loves ever since. Breastfeeding has taught me about intimacy. Feeding another human from my body. The countless hours we’ve spent cocooned. The silence surrounding our untouchable bubble of rocking and cooing and pure peace. This ritual has been my anchor through everything.
First year. I’ve loved all of the joy that has come with spending every day with a baby and all of his baby gorgeousness. Like his cheeks. The softest, most pillowy pillows of perfection that generate a heart explosion like no other. And the wrist rolls. Or the chunkiest thighs that literally stop me in my tracks. The obsessive nature of this bond is truly a thing of chemical reaction because I could stare at his face and stroke his soft buttery skin for hours on end and never tire of it.
First year. I loved the momentous moments when I saw this baby grow. The first time he gave me one of those open mouth, globering infant kisses. The days when he first crawled, sat, stood, and walked and we erupted with cheers. The first time he brought a book over for me to read. The first time he laughed. Like fully belly laughed. And I felt like my tank had been refilled right to the tippy top. The first time he saw a butterfly and really really watched it in absolute silence on my lap. Seeing the little quirks and funny things that make him himself, separate from us, and remind me that I’m witness to his growth.
First year. I’ve loved the discovery of nature’s incredible power. More than I ever knew it to be true. Getting outside is medicine for our baby. Just walking over the threshold is enough to quiet the crying and fuss. All the miles we’ve walked, if only we had kept track. Baby strapped to chest. Baby strapped to back. Walking and walking, allowing mother nature to mother with me. The most incredible source of comfort for our sweet nature boy.
First year. I’ve loved it for unearthing the beauty in small things. For teaching me to love and appreciate a simple day. I crouch and crawl and see the world through new eyes. We like the way the light streams into a room, how dust gathers in the corners, the sound of cars whizzing by, investigating the crumbs that the vaccuum missed, and taking all of the books off the shelves each and every day. I get to experience all the things I never gave a second thought to and see them for the new and interesting moments that he does. It’s like a rebirthing of my mind.
First year. Back to that full belly laugh. I’ve loved the work that goes into making him giggle. And my unwavering willingness to put that work in. How many times I’ve been dripping in sweat from jumping and singing and repeating whatever weird and random thing I’ve stumbled across as a comedy act for little baby boy. It’s a state of giddy delerium that I never want to lose as a mom. A true place of presence and sheer determination to make my child squeal with laughter.
First year. Thanks for careening into my expectations for a clean and perfect home. I needed that. I have loved losing grip of this desire and just allowing it to fall way, way down my priority list. An exhale I deserve to take. When the big wins are showering, brushing my teeth, or eating, the expectations for a sparkling space surely get the boot. I’ve resisted much within this last year, but this isn’t one of them.
First year. I’ve loved the deepening of friendship between myself and other moms. Bonds that have been paramount to my mental health and sense of self. Sisterhood is necessary, I know this. Just knowing that someone else is up in the night or feeling lonely too or pulling their hair out in frustration. I can tell you from experience that feeling seen and heard as a new mom is vital. It’s life-giving. It’s like oxygen. Because there are so many moments when you think, ‘this can’t possibly be right’.
First year. I’ve loved seeing the sincere kindness of this baby’s heart and his impact on family and friends. His willingness to be held and snuggled by those who love him. His openness and courage to be curious about another person, smile at them, and study them. It’s been the biggest reward to observe how loving he is and his innate desire to embrace others.
First year. I’ve loved the steadfast lesson of resilience. My body’s strength to incubate, birth, heal, and nurture. My mind’s ability to weather hormonal storms, sleepless months, and anxiety at every turn. Our relationship steadying itself after rocky moments, charged by this new uncharted territory. Our little family’s ability to do this thing virtually alone while the pandemic unfolds. Resilience, resilience, resilience. I am eternally grateful to wholeheartedly KNOW this within myself and within our little unit.
The first year. The longest shortest time. Thank you for allowing me to become a mom. For filling our home with alphabet magnets, blocks, books, and toy trains. For turning laundry into a daily ritual instead of a chore. For every cherished bathtime, every sunrise we’ve seen, and for a very healthy, happy baby boy who we get to call our son.