Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

Your first year of life hasn’t at all been what I had imagined, I’ve said it a hundred times.

I gave birth to you, my precious girl, my first baby, just months before the pandemic started in the height of cold and flu season. You were so tiny and new to the world; you and I spent the first months of your life in self-imposed quarantine as I feared you would catch the flu from strangers in public places where I couldn’t control whether or not they had vaccinated. I had read the heart-wrenching stories of babies contracting RSV and spending weeks with their tiny, fragile bodies hooked up to a ventilator in the NICU. I was determined to keep you, my sweet baby, safe and healthy.

RELATED: Don’t Be Offended if the New Mama Doesn’t Hand Over Her Baby

There would be time later for us to explore the world outside the safe confines of our own home.

I returned to work in early March after a 16-week maternity leave. I cherished every single moment with you during my leave and I was filled with trepidation at returning to work, not spending every moment with you. By mid-March, just when I thought we would be ending our self-imposed quarantine and joyfully introducing you to the world, I found out that things would continue as they had before but there was a new and scary threat on the horizon, and the rest of the world would be joining us in quarantine. I would also now be working from home full-time and caring for you full-time, without the help of a babysitter while fulfilling the demands of my job.

RELATED: This is Why Working Moms are Stressed

I’ve read a lot of articles about the challenges of parenting school-aged children and working during a pandemic—and I feel for the parents who are making the hard choices about whether or not to send their children back to school in the fall, and oscillating between homeschooling and staff meetings, but what I haven’t read a lot about are the parents who are splitting their time between conference calls and their infant’s near-constant need for attention.

No, you’re not learning how to read or write, it’s true. But you are learning about your place in the world and whether you can trust that someone will come when you cry, and that feels big and important to me, too.

You are only a baby once and I am worried that I am messing it all up by dividing my attention between you and my work—but what choice do I have? I didn’t have any practice to prepare me for being a full-time, work-from-home mom without access to my support system.

I thought that the first year of your life would be spent surrounded by loved ones—your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and close family friends. Instead, it’s mostly been just you and me. I’ve treasured every single second we’ve spent together, and I believe we are closer than we would have been if life had gone according to plan.

RELATED: We’re Still Making Beautiful Memories in Quarantine With a Newborn

So, on the days that it’s hard, the days when I am on deadline and have hours of back to back conference calls and you’re crying for my attention because let’s be honest, you deserve it, and I feel like I can’t possibly do it all, let alone do it well, I will remember to be thankful for each extra moment I have had with you in the safety of our own little bubble.

There will be days and months and years for us to do all of the things I’ve dreamt about later, but for now, it’s just you and me.

Your first year of life hasn’t at all been what I had imagined, I’ve said it a hundred times, but in so many ways it’s been better and I wouldn’t trade one single moment.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Chelsey McCarthy

Chelsey is the mama of one sweet baby girl and one grumpy bulldog. By day she is the Executive Director of a rare disease foundation. She is overly sentimental and an aspiring writer. 

My Baby Had Laryngomalacia

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding baby on her shoulder

Life’s funny, isn’t it? Just when you think you’ve got the whole motherhood thing figured out, the universe throws a curveball. And, oh boy, did it throw me one with my second baby. There I was, feeling like a seasoned mom with my firstborn—a healthy, vivacious toddler who was 16 months old. Our breastfeeding journey had its hiccups, an early tongue-tie diagnosis that did little to deter our bond. Fourteen months of nurturing, nighttime cuddles, and feeling powerful, like my body was doing exactly what it was meant to do. Enter my second baby. A fresh chapter, a new story....

Keep Reading

A C-Section Mom Simply Needs You to Hear Her Story

In: Baby, Motherhood
Newborn baby crying in doctor's hands

As an expecting mother, I was told all about the sleepless nights. People made sure to give their opinion on whether I should bottle feed, breastfeed, or exclusively pump. I was told which swaddle to buy, which sound machine worked best, and when to introduce a pacifier. They told me about sleep training but that it really didn’t matter because I wouldn’t get any sleep anyway. Whenever I would mention how scared I was to give birth, I’d always get the same response: oh. honey, don’t worry, your body will know what to do. I remember listening to calming meditations...

Keep Reading

Feed Them—and Other Ways To Help NICU Parents

In: Baby, Motherhood
Parents holding hands of premature baby in NICU

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about our reality as NICU parents to a healthy, brilliant NICU graduate. Our child was born very prematurely and spent weeks in the NICU so he could grow and stabilize. My first experience as a mother of a baby was shattered in so many ways. Trauma still lingers, but I am so grateful for all I have learned from our time beside our little baby in his isolette bed. One thing I learned was that some people who really want to help support NICU parents really don’t know how they can. Here are some...

Keep Reading

From Baby to Boy

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Toddler boy asleep with legs tucked under his belly

The sweet snuggles and sighs are slowly making way for more crawling climbing and exploring each day. And just when I think my baby is gone, you snuggle into my chest, convincing me I’m wrong. I watch as you excitedly chase after your sis and giggle as you share with me your slobbery kiss. RELATED: They Tell You To Hold the Baby, But No One Warns You How Fast He Grows Daytime hours bring playful adventures as I watch my baby leave, but then a sleeping bum curled in the air makes me believe that these cherished baby moments haven’t...

Keep Reading

Having Two Under Two Was the Best Decision I Ever Made

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Toddler and newborn lying next to each other on a bed

My baby was 14 months old when I found out I was pregnant with baby number two. He had just learned how to walk, still requiring me to walk behind him holding both of his hands above his head so he wouldn’t topple over. In other words, my baby was still very much a baby, and I couldn’t believe I’d be adding another baby to the mix. Excited, but mostly terrified, I researched and read more articles than I can count on what it’s like to be a parent of two under two. These articles more often than not use...

Keep Reading

I Thought Failure to Thrive Meant I Was Failing

In: Baby, Motherhood
Baby drinking bottle, color photo

Failure. That’s all I read. It’s all I saw. It was the only thing I could focus on. I’m sure the doctor said it at some point during the appointment, but it wasn’t until it was right there staring at me in black and white that it clicked . . . “failure to thrive.” I was officially failing my daughter. A couple of years down the road, I now realize how irrational and far from the truth that was, but at the time, it was all I could focus on. I wish more than anything that they had a better,...

Keep Reading

You’re Becoming a Big Sister, But You’ll Always Be My Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Pregnant woman with young daughter, color photo

The anticipation of welcoming a new baby into the world is an exciting and joyous time for our family. From the moment we found out we were expecting to just about every day since, the love and excitement only continue to grow. However, amidst all the preparations for the new addition, I cannot help but have mixed emotions as I look back at old videos and pictures of my firstborn, my first princess, my Phoebe—for she will always hold a special place in my heart. As the anticipation grows, my heart swells with a mix of emotions knowing we are...

Keep Reading

New Mama, It Might Not Be Okay Now but It Will Be

In: Baby, Motherhood
New baby looking at camera, black and white image

It was 2:30 in the morning, I was sitting on the bed with tears streaming down my face, my 7-week-old son crying in my arms. Everything hurt—my engorged breasts, my cracked and bleeding nipples, my back where I had taken two epidurals. It hurt to sit, not only from birth but from the stitches, and I was tired. “It’s okay,” my husband said, rubbing my back in small conciliatory circles, but it wasn’t okay. When they placed my son in my arms for the first time I cried tears of joy, made promises for the future, bolstered by the love I...

Keep Reading

“Please Help Mommy to Be Patient, and the Baby to Stay Alive in Her Tummy.”

In: Baby, Loss, Motherhood
Toddler with hand on mother's pregnant belly

“Please help Mommy to be patient, and the baby to stay alive in her tummy.” It was my little girl’s daily prayer during my pregnancy. That prayer for patience—it stung a bit even though I had told her she could pray that I would be patient. It wasn’t necessarily that she or her sisters were testing my limits, but this pregnancy rage had gotten to be a real thing. If there is one thing motherhood has taught me, it’s that I can’t do it on my own. I need the help of my Heavenly Father, and I need others. I...

Keep Reading

I Know I’m Done, but I’ll Always Want Another Baby

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother touches nose to baby's smiling face, close up color photo

I was sorting clothes into tubs to donate, consign, or keep for my 1-year-old, and I came across a newborn outfit amongst a bunch of bigger kid clothes. I had gotten rid of all of my 1-year-old son’s newborn and infant things last year, but he still seems small and baby-like to me, compared to my 5-year-old. But I’m telling you, when I held up that teeny-tiny outfit, my heart broke. It looked too small to be real. To fit anything other than a doll. But, it did. My older son wore it on his first Christmas. I know I’m...

Keep Reading