Today, my sweet Griffin turns 1 year old. It’s so hard to believe that it’s been a full year since I gave birth to Griffin. In many ways, I feel like an entirely different person. I’ve learned sooo much about life, love, grace, and stepping into this new world-of-mom. I’ve shared a couple updates along the way: an honest (and raw) look at 3 months postpartum as well as an update at 6 months postpartum. But today, at one full year postpartum, I want to share 5 things I learned from my first year of motherhood.
My First Year of Motherhood
Expectations are Overrated
While I was pregnant, I had a vision of how I wanted my labor and motherhood journey to play out. Sure, I fully “expected” things not to go 100% to plan, I just had no idea how far off the tracks the train would derail. Andrew and I were both apparently “perfect” babies, so I expected Griffin to be a well-behaved, always-sleeping, “perfect” baby, too. Those were bad expectations. 😂
Things went very, very far from plan. Griffin cried a lot. A LOT. And I think if I hadn’t set those expectations for the start of motherhood, I would have been able to handle things a little better.
My Mental Health IS Important
After I had Griffin and read (what felt like) a million posts from a million mom groups on Facebook, I learned something critical: My mental health has to come first.
Yes, I also have to take care of my baby, but if I’m putting myself in jeopardy, then
Bending the Rules is OK
I might get some backlash for this, but I had to learn to be OK with bending the rules. For example, I was adamant on not letting Griffin sleep in our bed. However, when we were 3 weeks in and running on 90-minute sprints of sleep, co-sleeping started to look real attractive.
It didn’t become a regular thing because I’m still not a huge supporter of it, but desperate times called for desperate measures. It allowed us to get an extra couple hours of sleep in the morning and we were all happier.
The Love Will Come
I couldn’t wait for that “instant connection” every mother apparently has with their baby. Except, when Griffin was born I didn’t really feel that. Just minutes before I had experienced the most excruciating pain from a vaginal tear with no epidural and was exhausted from labor. Then, they set my baby on me who had a big mop of black hair which I did not expect. He didn’t really look like my baby. 😂
The weeks after were difficult and it wasn’t until 7 months postpartum that I experienced that mama-bear love everyone talks about.
AND THAT’S OKAY.
I felt guilty for not “loving” my child like other moms. What mother wouldn’t? I want other mamas to know that it’s okay if the love doesn’t come right away. It will come. Just keep on keepin’ on.
I Need to Give Myself ALL the Grace
I’m really, really, really hard on myself. I expect a lot from myself and I beat myself up if I don’t meet my expectations. I felt like mama-duties were just a part of everyday life and not something I deserved a pat-on-the-back for. Well, I had to chuck that mindset out the window.
Being a mom is a full-time job. Or, 2 or 3 full-time jobs. Plus, blogging and pursuing other endeavors on top of that is exhausting. I had to take a minute, reflect on everything I do during the day, and give myself grace when I didn’t finish everything – especially in the first year of motherhood! I had to make little tweaks here and there when needed. And work myself into this new-mama lifestyle that required more attention in different places than my previous free-spirited life.
While I’m really excited to celebrate Griffin’s first birthday today (and our Sesame Street party this weekend!), today is a big day for me, too. It’s been one year since I became a mom and embarked upon the biggest journey of my life. No doubt, it’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Would I change some things about my first year of motherhood, if I could? Absolutely. But it’s these hard journeys that make us grow the most, and I’m choosing to be grateful for the path I’ve walked and I hope I can help at least one mama who might have felt these same feelings.
What did you learn from the first year of motherhood? The whole journey? I would honestly love to hear about it, so share in the comments! ❤