At this time last year, I was laying in my hospital bed holding my day old baby boy.
Here are a few things that I’d tell my brand-new-mom self if I had the chance:
- Breast feeding is not as easy as they make it sound in the class. It’s difficult, painful, time consuming, but ultimately worth it. You’ll make it 10.5 months. You should be so proud of yourself. If you are blessed with another baby in the future, you now know a few tricks that will make things easier and you won’t play tough when you show signs of mastitis. Mastitis is the worst. Mastitis three times in six weeks is unbearable. Promise yourself you won’t do that again.
- You will be more tired than you ever imagined you could be in the beginning. Somehow you will still function. You may not shower and it’s a good day if you brush your teeth, but you’re doing just fine by your son.
- Just when you think you you’re starting to get a hang of this mothering thing, you’ll head back to work. Starting back to work is terrible but leaving him at daycare the first time is worse. One of the smartest decisions you made was to start back to work on a Thursday. Also, pumping at work is hard, but you’ll get the hang of it. Stick with it. Also, feel confident in your decision. You are your best self when you can balance work and motherhood. That balance is hard to find, but cherish your professional time and run out the door at 5pm so you can soak up every moment with your little guy before bed.
- You will take him with you everywhere and people will think you’re crazy. Do it anyway. You’ll look back and realize that babies are significantly more portable at six weeks than they are at eight months. Sure, you were a little nuts for taking him to a Major League Baseball game at six days old, but what a great story, right?
- Packing away the newborn and 0-3 month clothes will cause many more tears than you thought possible. It doesn’t really get better when you pack away 3-6, 6-9, 9-12, etc.
- You will count down the days to some milestones and wish away others. You will eagerly await that first smile and beg those first steps to hold off for a few more days so you can laugh at that silly little crawl for just a while longer.
- You have always prided yourself on not being very emotional, but that has quickly disappeared. Tears come quickly and frequently. I read somewhere that this is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of life. Believe it.
- The “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Bushel and a Peck” have amazing fit-reducing properties. Sing it out, lady. Your baby knows nothing of perfect pitch and that you don’t have it.
There are so many more things that I’d tell myself, but mostly I’d say, you’re enough. You’ll doubt every decision, but you’re doing your best and that’s what’s best. You’ll look back at a year gone by and wonder how it went so fast. As you chase your toddler and try to keep EV.ERY.THING. out of his mouth, you’ll feel a bit of longing for those sweet days when he’d sleep on your chest for hours. But then he’ll give you a high-five and a funny four-tooth grin, and you’ll remember THIS age is your favorite. Just like every age before.