I’ve made it through my first year of motherhood! Sh*t that was fast! The first year as a single mom has been a beautiful nightmare. One of the most rewarding, yet challenging things I have ever accomplished, but I wouldn’t change anything now that I think about it. The first few months were the hardest, but we’ll see after her terrible twos, yall might have to send help.
As a new parent you have to get to know your baby, and your baby has to get to know you, your family, and the world around them. It was a challenge for both of us, at the beginning. But it did get easier as the months past.
My first day of motherhood I vividly remember, after my c-section, they handed me this pale, puffy-faced, little human all wrapped up; I said, “Wait, are you sure, I’ve never held a baby before?”. They laughed, but I was dead serious, and from that point on I knew this little pale, puffy-faced, but beautiful, girl would be my world.
I also knew that this was going to be the best, and some of the worst times of my life, but I was ready for every lesson that came with motherhood. These are the 7 lessons I’ve learned in the first year of motherhood.
When I found out I was pregnant my first thought was “Sh*t, I don’t know anything about babies.” I did online research my entire pregnancy; I Pinterest EVERYTHING, read the baby books, took the prenatal classes, and still when I held her for the first time I felt like I wasn’t at all prepared. Honestly, you don’t know how to parent, until you become a parent if that makes sense. Her first feeding, her first diaper change, and her first bath were all a learning process. Although it was all new for me, it came quite naturally after the first few weeks. I knew nothing, still, I knew enough to keep her alive, thriving and happy. A mother’s intuition is REAL, and it will somehow all just click if you let it.
Don’t get me wrong though, almost a year in and I still feel like I’m winging it most days, but I think if you trust your gut, embrace the craziness, and rely on your maternal instinct, you’ll know enough to kill it!
This may be a no brainer, but even so, I have never felt a love like the love I have for my daughter. It sounds so cliché, but from the very moment I held her I was so deeply in love; I am getting teary eyed as I write this! She has taught me the true meaning of unconditional love. Everything I do, I do it for her. I have never been as selfless as I am today. You will never know a love like the love you have for your child. They will bring out so many different emotions in you. My daughter is truly an absolute blessing, and the love I have for her made all the late nights, early mornings and pure exhaustion worth it, to say the least.
After you’ve done the research and listened to your family and friends talk about how their experiences were, what they did and/or didn’t do, you’ll learn, your baby is one of a kind. Your child will not be like other children. Learn your child, and don’t let anyone else convince you what you are doing or not doing is wrong, you know your baby best.
For me, my daughter hated that expensive mamaRoo swing as a newborn. I expected her to be a little bougie like me, but she was not impressed.
I had read everywhere that the mamaRoo was a lifesaver. It was a must have on all the registries; babies loved it, moms loved it and it was basically the holy grail of baby gear if you wanted to get anything done. So, as you can imagine, when my daughter refused to enjoy it as a newborn and would cry hysterically in it, I was not only surprised, like “who’s baby are you, we like nice things?”, but upset that I spent $200 on it.
I quickly realized, that not all babies are alike; she didn’t use a pacifier, and she hated every bottle they’ve made. So, I’d suggest trying many different brands, makes and models of products and find what works for you, your baby, and your family, and do that.
THIS! My advice, if you have family or close friends nearby, let them help you! I was blessed the opportunity to stay with my parents for the first year of my daughter’s life.
My parents, my mother especially, were a real lifesaver. I was able to shower regularly, was able to nap when I was tired, and my mother even cooked dinner for us most times; the woman is a Godsend. I was able to pretty much do whatever I needed because I was open to receiving help from my family, her father, and his family.
Raising a child is not a one woman, or even a two-person job, it absolutely takes a village. Let people you love and trust help you. It’s usually their pleasure to have some time with the babe and gives yourself, and your partner, some time to do normal day to day things. It’ll help you and your sanity, trust me.
Being a new mom is a whirlwind of emotional and physical changes. Taking care of yourself throughout the process is essential. Self-care means different things for different people, so whatever it means to you, make it a priority. Getting a chance to do my hair and put on makeup every day made me feel better about myself and made me feel as normal as I could the first few months.
I was also able to clear my mind at night once the baby was down for bed, which allowed me to go into the sleepless nights level headed, and at ease. Meditation also made the long nights so doable.
Whether it’s something small like making it a priority to shower daily without the baby in the bathroom with you, or practicing meditation, make time for you! Motherhood is tough, and many times you sacrifice yourself for your child, and I get it, but make sure to prioritize time out for YOU.
So, the number one rule is there are no rules to motherhood. As long as you’re not putting your child or yourself in danger, do whatever the hell you want! My biggest thing is “screen time”. I know, no tv for babies under 2, but really, try working from home, cooking, cleaning, basically getting anything done with a baby relying on you for entertainment. I swear I turn the BabyCenter channel on, and that buys me at least 30 minutes of silence to do things I have to do. So what my child watches a little or a lot, of TV. She can talk, almost walk, and is super alert and active, so I think she’ll be alright. There are no real rules of motherhood.
People will tell you about all the wonderful things about being a parent. And they’re not lying. Still, at the end of the day, parenting is hard as hell! Having a little human solely rely on you for everything gets exhausting, very quickly. There are so many things about motherhood that were hard, breastfeeding the first few months, the inconsolable crying, and the lack of sleep is tough, but the little giggles, the sloppy open mouth kisses, and hearing them say their first words are so worth it all.
Being a mother is likely the toughest thing I will ever do in my life, but I can say for certain, that it’s dope, and worth it.
Motherhood is the best hood, and I am so glad I get to experience it with her! My first year of motherhood has been full of lessons and blessings, and I can’t wait to share more of my best, and worst, life with her, and yall!
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XO, Mommi Brittanie