Olivia is 13 months old and I've been thinking a lot all the things I've learned about the past year. I wanted to share my top 5 things I wish I had know before I became the mama to this beautiful little girl.
First of all, the first few months are insanely hard. I mean, it's not like I expected having a baby and recovering from childbirth to be a walk in the park. But I also did not expect it be so freakin' difficult either. I had a c-section after a looooong labour. Here's the thing: I am an independent person - I moved in with my fiancé at 8 months pregnant, after living alone for over 5 years. I was not used to relying on anyone for anything. And suddenly, there I was, unable to pull up my own pants after going to the bathroom. I could not drive, I could not get into our bed, I could not lift the car seat. I struggled with breastfeeding, I struggled with anxiety, and I struggled with no longer recognizing who I was outside of being a mother.
Second, and my least favourite discovery, you will still look really, really pregnant. A week and a half after Olivia was born, Boneto and I returned to our Birth and Babies parenting class. I walked in ahead of him and we met another father in the hallway; "Ah, still pregnant!" he said. I was crushed; I have since learned that I need to give myself some grace. My body did this incredible thing - it grew a HUMAN - and it continues to nourish her to this day.
Third, you might hate your partner a little bit. I have always known Boneto as a father, as I have a 9year old stepson. I never expected to feel resent towards him as his incredible parenting has always been something I loved about him. But I remember holding our tiny newborn at 2 in the morning and staring at his sleeping body and sobbing because I was so angry that he was asleep. I may have accidentally kicked him a time or two just so that we could be miserably awake together. I was angry that he got to go back to work and converse with adults - even though I wanted to be a stay at home mom and had no interest in returning to teaching. I hated having to depend on him after being self-reliant for such a long time. Here was this man that I loved so much, but also resented as I struggled with this new role.
Fourth, you will love your partner in ways you never imagined. Olivia had jaundice and we fought in the first couple of weeks to breastfeed without formula, to keep her awake to eat, and to get her to gain weight. There was a day in the beginning where, suddenly, Boneto was baking muffins in the kitchen; except, I had never known Boneto to bake anything. He was struggling too and I watched him attempt to do something, anything, to feel productive and like he was helping. I fell more in love with him than ever, watching him make those muffins.
Fifth, babies grow really freakin' fast. Like, unbelievably fast. People warned me but you don't really understand until it is happening to you. The first month is a blur, suddenly your baby is rolling over, and then you blink and it's their 1st birthday. My daughter is standing in our living room right now, babbling away in baby language, and feeding herself blueberries; and yet, it seems like just yesterday I was holding her in that hospital bed for the first time. In some ways, I am thankful for the speed with which the year has flown - the struggles seem distance and I remember less about the hard times and more about the magical moments that motherhood has gifted to me.
When something horrible happens in the world, you often hear the expression Hold your babies a little tighter.
Tonight, I did.
At bedtime, I did not feel my usual frustration; I rocked my 13 month old to sleep and held her much longer than necessary. I stared at her sweet, sleeping face and felt such thankfulness for her existence and such sorrow for the world we have brought her into.
I have always known that the world could be cruel place but it never affected me so harshly as it has since I became a mother. After all, we did not inherit the Earth from our parents; we borrow it from our children. I am left wondering what kind of world we will leave for Olivia. I am left wondering what we can do. I am left wondering why.
It is a darker world tonight. I cannot find the fairness in anything, as I lay, filled with gratitude, beside my sleeping baby, while a family in the same city is falling apart over the lost hope for the return of their own sweet baby girl.
We did the unthinkable...
It was a random Monday night and I made roasted brussels sprouts... And I LIKED THEM?! Who knew?! I'm almost 30 and I've always said, "Ew! I don't like brussels sprouts!" without ever giving them a chance! Who else has done that?? Totally rejected something before you even try it??
"I don't like veggies!"
"I don't do shakes!"
"I don't like working out at home!"
"I don't know how to cook healthy food!"
It's so easy to dismiss something you haven't done before because change is HARD. It makes you uncomfortable & forces you outside of your comfort zone.So, bite the bullet (or the brussels sprout, as the case may be) and make that change. Get out of your comfort zone and get uncomfortable - that's how you get to your BEST life!