My girl is turning one soon. She’s walking. She’s babbling. She’s feeding herself (and the dog). She’s growing up quicker than I could have ever imagined. She’s gone from a tiny six-pound baby with spiky black hair to a life-filled 23-pound toddler with mostly tamed brown locks. Her blue eyes are more brilliant than ever before. Her tiny hands are reaching for me and the sky. Yet, I am the one who has learned so much over the last year.

I have learned postpartum blues can become postpartum depression and anxiety.

I have also learned it’s OK to fully rely on God and medication to get me through the darkest moments.

I have learned my body will never be the same. Ever. Again.

I have also learned my body brought life into this world and that is a miracle. Even if it will be a miracle if I fit into my size 8 jeans again one day.

I have learned you can ask for help and others will respond.

I have also learned you need to ask for help and trust that others will respond.

I have learned my husband will never fully understand how I’ve been changed by motherhood.

I have also learned my husband is my greatest ally when it comes to this journey of parenthood.

I have learned I am not enough for what I have been entrusted with—you.

I have also learned He is more than capable of allowing me to accept my faults and use my strengths to help mold you into a strong, compassionate individual.

I have learned I can see the world through a child’s eyes and see the good that is in humanity.

I have also learned I am responsible for helping you learn how to be the good in humanity.

I have learned what it means to once again use your imagination—whether it’s to play with a plain box or singing a song to capture your attention in the middle of a diaper change.

I have also learned your imagination is yours alone and I need to let you venture into your own adventures.

I have learned becoming a mother is an endless story of grace and love.

I have also learned becoming a mother is having your heart wander this world outside of your body.

I have learned what it is to love another person more than you love yourself.

I have also learned love can never truly be described because it’s different for each of us, yet so familiar at the same time.

My girl, you are turning one soon. Yet, I am the one who is changing more than ever before.

Ashley I. Arinez

Ashley and her husband, Matthew are raising their two daughters and their rescue pit bull Bella in St. Louis, Missouri. After three previous losses and postpartum depression after having each of her daughters, Ashley shares her journey to and through motherhood on her personal blog.