If you ask any mom to sum up her first year of motherhood, they will probably tell you about the lack of sleep, sweet baby cuddles, and how it goes “so fast.” While all of us new moms have probably heard (from literally everyone) how fast time goes, we don’t hear a whole lot about how hard that first year can be. It can make that first year of motherhood feel isolating at times. Being a new mom is wonderful in so many ways, but it can also be hard.
I remember the feeling I had when my husband and I left the hospital with our baby. We got home and looked at each other as if to say “now what?” Life had changed dramatically in just a couple of days and we were suddenly thrust into this new chapter of our lives. It was both exciting and terrifying all at the same time.
Those first two weeks after you have a baby are no joke.
You’re bleeding and swollen. You’re leaking milk everywhere. You feel like you’ve been hit by a bus and you’ve gotten absolutely no sleep. Your hormones are all over the place. And you are now responsible for this tiny crying human that is dependent on you for everything.
The baby blues hit hard those first couple weeks. My new baby boy was born with tongue and lip ties and had trouble nursing. And by trouble I mean he would not latch 95% of the time. Every nursing session ended with us both in tears. We struggled hard for a couple of weeks and it was definitely taking a toll on my mental health. I ultimately came to the decision to exclusively pump.
My first year of motherhood was difficult at times for a few different reasons.
In addition to breastfeeding trouble, we dealt with eczema, food allergies, and failure to gain weight at one point. There is such a learning curve to becoming a mother and it was overwhelming dealing with all the “normal” new baby stuff, along with all these other issues.
When my maternity leave was up, I didn’t return to work full time. Instead, I accepted a per diem position requiring that I only work a few days per month. I am a registered nurse, so to me, my job has always left me feeling fulfilled, knowing I was making a difference in the lives of my patients. Changing diapers and cleaning up spit up all day long didn’t always leave me feeling “important.” I love being home with my son every day and I am so grateful I am able to do that, but it took me a little while to realize that motherhood indeed, was a very important job… if not the MOST important job.
Relationships with everyone in your life will change after becoming a mom.
After having a baby, I could finally understand the love a parent has for their child. It has helped me understand the choices and decisions my parents made while I was growing up. Friendships change a lot over the course of a lifetime, especially after having babies. You probably won’t find us taking too many shots and selfies out at bars much anymore. But you will find us sipping coffee and having conversations that matter, regardless of how much time has passed since we last saw each other.
I think the relationship that changed the most was between my husband and I. Not only were we husband and wife but now we were mom and dad. We are both new at this whole parent thing and there have been things to work through along the way. But I have learned to love my husband in a whole new and different, but better way. Becoming parents has made us stronger.
In those early days of motherhood, I had to lower my expectations.
It took time to get used to a routine that was constantly changing. Babies grow and develop so much and so fast during that first year, it feels like a whirlwind. I also had to get used to my constantly changing body (turns out things change quite a bit between pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding). I could no longer just “run to the store.” It took an absurd amount of preparation to be able to even leave the house. Simple things like showering or taking the dogs for a walk were just so much harder to do with a baby.
I like feeling productive and when you become a mom, you have to look at productivity in a different way. It was unsettling that I could be home all day long and “get nothing done.” There were many days where I felt so busy. But by the time my husband got home from work, I felt I had nothing to show for it. If this sounds like you Mama, give yourself some grace. I know we’ve all heard it before, but this season of life does honestly fly by. And you will miss it.
While the first year of motherhood has it’s challenges, it’s also magical.
I don’t think anyone could have prepared me for the love I felt the moment that 6 lb. 10 oz. baby was placed on my chest. The minute our son was born I wondered how I ever lived without him. Witnessing the new things your baby learns and seeing the world through their eyes creates this new amazing world for YOU.
That first year of becoming a mom was the slowest and the fastest year of my life. Those who are experiencing the wild ride of motherhood, probably know exactly what I mean. Having a baby truly does change EVERYTHING. For those of you that are in the middle of new motherhood, in the middle of what feels like losing yourself and finding yourself all at the same time… hang in there. In my opinion, motherhood doesn’t get easier, you just get BETTER at it.