Lessons learned in the first year of motherhood
Motherhood is a remarkable and empowering journey. Here are four major lessons one mother learned in her baby’s first year of life.
In a blink of an eye, the tiny baby I gave birth to began taking steps, laughing, saying first words and asserting her big personality wherever she went. Here are a few lessons I learned in the first year of her life.
It takes a village.
Something about pregnant bellies, babies and children captivates and draws people. Being very independent and slightly introverted, I found this quite overwhelming at times. I got used to answering a lot of questions, hearing a lot of advice and trying to keep strangers from touching my belly — and, later, touching my baby.
It forced me to connect with people with whom I might not normally interact and taught me to accept help and care. Raising a child can be so difficult and we need all the allies we can get. As much as welcoming community into your life can be messy, awkward and inconvenient, it is also beautiful, empowering and important. Motherhood continually pushes me to welcome the chaotic beauty that is community.
Breast-feeding is not all rainbows and sunshine.
Breast-feeding and its challenges played a huge role in our first year. I envisioned lovingly cradling my baby while she happily sipped away, but nothing was further from the truth.
If I could do it all over again, I would meet with a lactation consultant while I was pregnant to learn about pumping and other things to help breast milk production. It was all too overwhelming to try to figure it all out in the moment with a crying, hungry baby. My journey was very difficult and led to using donated breast milk, but each woman has a different experience. My advice to expectant and new moms is to reach out for support and don’t give up. Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital offers excellent lactation support and Tennessee now offers a 24-hour Breastfeeding Hotline.
Never say never.
This might be the biggest lesson of all. There are many things we have done and lifestyle changes we have made that I once declared we would never do. Natural unmedicated birth, donated breast milk, cloth diapers and baby-led weaning are just a few things to which I once said “no way.” Yet there I was, eating my words.
Motherhood constantly surprises me, pushes me out of my comfort zone and makes me reevaluate how we do things. Our daughter is our biggest adventure and teacher. She has taught us to open our minds and hearts to new opportunities and has guided us to living more intentionally and spontaneously at the same time.
It’s worth it.
Sometimes, a trip to Target by myself seems like the most heavenly vacation. I’d even settle for a solo trip to the bathroom — can I get an “amen”? Let’s face it, motherhood will stretch you in ways you didn’t know were possible. We grew a human inside of our bodies, birthed that baby, fed that baby, changed diapers and wore every type of baby’s bodily fluids possible on our shirts, all while keeping a home and/or working an outside job and caring for the other significant people in our lives.
It’s truly remarkable and empowering. At my weakest moment, on the most of tiring days, the simplest of my baby’s smiles reminds me that it is all worth it.
This post was written by Sydney Hutson, a quirky and relentlessy sassy blogger who loves dancing, thrifting, creating, theology and loving on others.