It’s been 12 months since my life changed forever…
But I still remember the day like it was yesterday. After seventeen hours of labor with one final push I felt a release as my daughter came into the world. They handed her to me and with shaky hands I kissed her all over her little body. She was my sun, my moon, my stars and I felt a new kind of love spark in my heart. One I had never felt before.
Now I am standing in a park watching her eating strawberries. The photographer, Bess from Aurora Photography, was fluttering around Mishka snapping her picture. Mishka made no fuss. She simply ate her strawberries and stretched her red fingers out with a big smile. I cannot believe we just celebrated her first year on the earth. Her first year photo shoot by Aurora Photography was an amazing time to reflect on this past year.
Looking at her shining brown eyes I am transported back to the last twelve months.
There is so much about motherhood that you cannot learn from books or grandmas or WebMD. There is so much about motherhood and parenting and babies that you have to just learn as you go. When I think back on the first year I think about moments that were so amazingly blissful and other moments that were terrifying. I remember moments that were exhausting and stressful and moments that will go down as the best ones of my life.
Here are 12 things I learned from my first 12 months of motherhood:
1. You are so, so, so much stronger than you think you are
From the minute you go into delivery you put on your momma warrior costume and you basically never take it off. Motherhood requires you to be tough. Never in a million years did I think I would be cleaning puke off the kitchen floor while cooking and getting ready for work. Or the time when the whole family had a fever of 101 but shivering and sweaty I was still doing the laundry. Motherhood is not for the faint at heart!
2. Falling in love with your children is the most amazing journey.
“Because I feel that, in the Heavens above, The angels, whispering to one another, Can find, among their burning terms of love, None so devotional as that of ‘Mother.’” – Edgar Allen Poe
3. Taking care of yourself is not an option, it’s a necessity.
If you do not look after yourself you will fail at looking after everyone else in the family! Take time to look after you.
4. The simple things have the most meaning.
A walk in the park. Laughing together on the couch. Breastfeeding in a quiet room. I hope I will remember all these beautiful, cherished moments with my little Mish.
5. Don’t forget who YOU are while you are becoming a mother.
I see now how easy it is to get lost in being a mom. If you step fully into the mom role but forget that you are also a wife or forget that you are also a YOU, then you can go down a long and lonely road.
6. You will lose friends and you will gain new friends. And that’s okay.
The ones that are meant to stay will stay and the ones who are meant to go will go. New ones will emerge that are on the same path as you. Embrace the change.
7. Breastfeeding is hard, then okay, then hard again, then lovely, then painful, then so hard to let go of.
I have been breastfeeding for 14 months. It was very hard at first because I produced so much milk and Mishka was drowning. Then my boobs learned how to produce just the right amount for my daughter. Nowadays no matter how far away we might be from each other my body knows when my baby needs me. It’s remarkable. When my baby is sick my body produces antibodies in my milk to help her heal. The body is a remarkable thing!
8. Accept help when you need it.
When I first had Mishka I thought I was a supermom and could do everything by myself. Now when someone offers to look after Mishka or help with laundry or help me clean, I take them up on it. You are only one person and you cannot do it ALL by yourself. Accept help when it is offered!
9. Just because you are both moms doesn’t mean you will have ANYTHING else in common.
In the past I used to think “I just need to hang out with other moms.” Now I realize that just because someone else is a mother doesn’t mean you two will have anything else in common. In fact you might not see eye to eye on all other topics. Just because someone else is a mom doesn’t mean you will become BFFS.
10. Peaceful babies start with peaceful mothers.
And peaceful mothers maintain peaceful homes. I have come to the conclusion that my peace is very important, and that’s not just for me. In order for me to be peaceful I must practice mindfulness, meditation, silence, ritual, thankfulness, listening and so much more. Peace is a practice and because I want to raise a peaceful daughter I make an effort to check in with my own mental health.
11. Celebrate each other.
Each month I celebrated her life. Even if it was a simple, “I love you Mishka, you’re 11 months old today.” I wanted to remember these first twelve months.
12. The time really does go by so fast.
I used to think that was just something OLD people said. But now I guess I am an old person. Because this year flew by and I don’t know where it went. Hold on to the moments because they go by in the blink of an eye!
Thank you to Aurora Photography for the beautiful first year pictures of Mishka!