Monday, June 1, 2015

Reflecting On Our First Year

Two Fridays ago, Baby A turned one! It was simultaneously the longest and shortest year ever. My online mom's group had a discussion recently about surviving our first year and it was interesting to see what everyone had to say about their most favourite, least favourite, and most surprising aspects of motherhood. I've been spending a lot of time reflecting on these things lately, so here are mine:

Most Favourite 
Without a doubt, A's smiles and giggles are the greatest thing I've ever experienced. They are what I live for. There is such a sweet innocence to them and so much joy in her laughter that it makes my heart burst. 

A close second are her kisses, which she gives without prompting. They often leave me with a wet face but they are the best. In third place is her little voice saying "mama," even though I am still not sure that she knows what she is referring to when she says it. I just love hearing it.

Least favourite
The production required to leave the house with a baby is really fracking annoying. Having to strategize leaving the house around feeding and nap times is a pain, too, but is certainly much easier now than it was during the first few months.

The lack of flexibility in our lives is also a source of frustration at times. We were never really super spontaneous to begin with, but it was nice to be able to pick and up go somewhere whenever we wanted to. Now it's a lot more complicated.

Most Surprising
I think what took me by surprise the most has been the sheer all-consuming nature of this gig.Once that baby is born, you're "on" and there is no "off" anymore. Knowing that intellectually before having a baby is very different from actually experiencing it. Mentally, physically, emotionally, everything was transformed in some way once A was born. It was exhausting in ways that I couldn't have imagined. Babies rely on you for everything and have zero regard for your own need to eat, sleep, or use the bathroom. When you're completely drained and don't feel like you have anything left to give of yourself, the baby cries/vomits/has a diaper explosion (or all three at the same time) and you have no choice but to keep on giving.

That cycle brings with it a complex web of emotions that also took me by surprise. I'm generally pretty even-keeled but both pregnancy and this past year have been a roller coaster. There's the heart-bursting love and pride that I have for this tiny human I helped create. There's also the constant worry about every decision we make and whether it's truly the best one for her in the long run. I remember when she first started smiling at us around 6 or 7 weeks and being totally overwhelmed by the need to prove ourselves worthy of her unconditional love and trust. Then there's good ol' mom guilt. Often, it's all of these at once.

It feels like I am making it out to be a far more negative experience than it was. It was just a really big adjustment and was not without its challenges. There are definitely things I now wish I'd done differently. But all three of us made it through Year One and ultimately, I think we did pretty well. Those smiles and kisses have made all the rest worth slogging through and I have no doubt that they'll keep us going through the impending toddler years!

1 comment:

  1. Love this :-) And it doesn't sound negative - it's honest. (And very true.) Happy belated birthday Miss A!