What I’ve Learned in My first year of Motherhood

Motherhood, where do I even begin? I truly feel that as soon as you become pregnant, you are a Mother. You spend the next eight to nine months taking care of your body, growing your baby, keeping your baby safe, and preparing for their arrival. You read all the baby books, sing songs, talk to your belly, and daydream about the moment you get to meet them for the first time. What they will be like, who they will look like, who they will become. And then you give birth and your entire world changes. Not only do you meet your beautiful, perfect baby, but you meet a whole new version of yourself, YOU – in your role as a mother. This is something that I don’t think enough people talk about. We are so focused on the baby’s arrival that we don’t realize all of the changes we undergo – during pregnancy, labor, birth and the postpartum period.

Before Tallulah’s first birthday a few weeks ago, I spent some time reflecting on this past year. I do most of my work and deep thinking while she is sleeping. While lying in bed with her as she slept peacefully next to me, two things stuck out to me. The first was how incredibly magical and special it is to watch your baby grow. It’s an experience unlike any other, I often times find it very difficult to put all my feelings into words to describe it. The second was how much I have learned, grown, and changed. I was recently talking to a guest on the Healthy Balanced Birth and Beyond podcast and she used the word “metamorphosis” to describe what we go through as we give birth and become mothers. I feel that this word perfectly encompasses the changes that we undergo.

I cannot believe an entire year has passed since our sweet Tallulah Rose was born. What a wild ride it has been. I thought time flew by before having her, it goes even faster once they’re here. Before having Lulah, I had worked with babies, children, and families for years. I thought I knew exactly what I was going to do and how I wanted to parent her. Then boom, she arrived and most, if not all of that went out the window. (I guess this is why people tell you not to say, “I’ll never do _____ as a parent”, before you have your own – haha). Having a baby forces you to slow down. It gives you a look at what the world looks like through their eyes. For me, personally, it opened my eyes to the importance of following your baby’s cues and Mama intuition. This helped me quiet down any outside noise about following the “norm” or conventional way of doing things that our society pushes on us.

In my early postpartum days, I remember feeling like I should have been doing more. Not realizing that I was doing SO much every day. I was taking care of myself – my body was recovering from giving birth, I was breastfeeding around the clock, and I was taking care of a brand-new, tiny human. Looking back, I now know that I felt this way because our society has this mindset that women are supposed to have babies, bounce back, and go about their lives like they didn’t just undergo one of the biggest, most magical, and transformational times of their entire life. Do you know that in other countries, whole villages come together to support a mother after she gives birth? Cooking nourishing food for her, making sure she’s not on her feet too much, encouraging rest so her body can heal. It is rare to find that here in the United States.

I feel that many people do not realize how much emotional, mental, and physical work it is to not only grow a baby and give birth, but to also step into your role as a Mother. It’s new territory for everyone. You are learning your baby and your baby is learning you. My favorite way to describe Motherhood is a “beautiful mess”. Because that’s simply what it is in my eyes, messy, but beautiful at the same time. There will be days that you may feel exhausted, frustrated, and overwhelmed. But there will also be days that you are blissfully happy, joyful, and beaming from ear to ear. The messier days make the beautiful days that much more special. The hard moments make you appreciate the easier ones. There may be times where you feel like you have absolutely no freakin idea what you’re doing. Let’s be honest though, does anyone ever have it all figured out? Nope. Not even close. I remember reading a quote that said something like, as children we don’t realize that not only are our parents watching us grow up, but we’re watching them grow up too. This resonated with me now that I am a mom. We’re just doing our best. We’re showing up every day, loving our babies unconditionally, and figuring it out as we go. We will make mistakes, it’s inevitable. But what matters is that we’re trying. Trying to be the best parents we know how to be.

If there’s one thing that this first year of Motherhood has taught me, it’s that I MUST use my voice. Always ask questions, do my own research, continue to educate myself, and advocate for my baby. I am a fierce mama bear and protector of the people I love. The love I have for my daughter is a love like I’ve never known and has given me the courage to speak up about things that I may not have in the past. The things that matter. The things that I feel are extremely important, but not discussed enough in our world. This is one of my biggest goals. To create a platform that is a safe space, where people feel comfortable asking questions and sharing their experiences, so others can learn from them. I’m excited to see what the second year of motherhood has to bring.

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