There are few things that compare to the first year of being a mom. Although this year is filled with more love and pride than ever before it is also a time that many women begin to question their maternal abilities, reflect on their relationships with their own mother and not just learn but live a life that is completely devoted to supporting someone else’s needs. Even though this someone else is their own child it can be a difficult year of transition and a hilarious year of changes that can turn any women into a poster child for Family Circle.
From the moment we become pregnant we become mothers. The first glimpse into real motherhood comes as our bodies begin to be taken over by a little person that we have never met. It can be wonderful and frustrating all at the same time bringing about tears of joy or those rooted with anxiety. We may find ourselves crying and not really know exactly why (which will last through the teen years) just because we are overwhelmed with mom-like emotions.
When the baby arrives there is no doubt a lot of hoopla involved in the birth. Seems like especially when it is the first child – few people seem to understand or respect the need for boundaries so that mother, father and child can adjust and begin to become a family. It is at this point that most of us learn that families are indeed made, not just born. So many of us hear about the extreme bounding and deep seeded feelings of adoration and love that sweep over moms after they give birth. Many of us struggle to find that. Lets be realistic, you just delivered a bowling ball, your tired and nurses are probing you every few hours, wrapping your baby so tight you think it would cut off circulation, helping you pull out your own boobs so you can try and nurse and making you feel guilty if you decided to formula feed and then giving this wrinkled little baby shots and tests galore. At this point all you really want to do is sleep.
Take heart’.this little child in your arms will take come getting used to and as time goes on you will only love it more and more. Bounding does not always happen overnight or in one single instant, certainly not in the confines of a hospital and it can almost be a letdown for a new mother to experience her newborn. After all at this point they don’t really care who is holding them and with the exception of our voice have no real clue who we are. In the first year of being mom you will solidify and form bounds with your child that will surpass that of any other ~ but there is no reason to expect it to happen instantaneously. If it does, great for you; but if it doesn’t it is no indication of your maternal instinct. It actually could be that too many people are hovering around you or that you are not being compassionate enough with yourself. If your birth experience was hard, disappointing or not at all what you expected this bounding may not occur until those initial feelings are dealt with. No worries, you have plenty of time.
Once you come home and adjust with life to a baby the joy of motherhood can truly begin. You will find that you walk around without makeup on more than at anytime in your life and that you have happily traded your favorite fragrance for the smell of spit up. Most of your clothes will become stained, you will begin to get excited about things like a diaper sale or baby convention and you will probably be in bed (not for long) earlier than you were when you were 8. You will go every where smelling like Dreft and your treasured Vera Bradley bag will be chock full of everything from Desitin to Baby Motrin just in case. This is how you know things are really getting good.
In the first year of being a mom, your living room and car easily transform into play rooms fit for a day care center and you suddenly notice every little hazard around the home. If you had pets before junior showed up you probably don’t remember their names any more and you spend more money than ever on photo paper, ink, portrait sittings and stupid clothes that make infants and babies look ridiculous. Your fridge, keychain and wallet are void of food (for you at least) and money and instead are jam packed with pictures that you annoyingly feel you must show everyone.
Another interesting thing that happens in the first year of being a mom is you realize how many ugly babies there are in the world. This isn’t because you are facetious, rather because yours is so darling and cute compared to everyone else’s. You and your husband or mother will secretly talk about other kids wondering if their parents know how smooshed in and alien like their faces appear. You might even pray for them hoping that they turn out to be cute toddlers. After all, not every baby can look like yours!
The first year of being a mom will also begin to make you dislike sex and wonder about why you chose your husband. You will suddenly be able to multi-task better than any man ever could, soothing a fussy baby while handling a conference call and loading the dishwasher. You become scheduled to the point of distraction, make play dates for a child that doesn’t care who is around them and begin to attend shows like Disney on Ice or Barney long before your baby will even enjoy them. Actually we spend much of the first year of being a mom stocking the house, the closet, the yard and the nursery with things that aren’t going to work out well until the baby is 2 at least.
We also spend this first year of being a mom walking around as a target of criticism for every grandmother that has ever walked the earth. They chastise us for not putting hats on our babies or dressing them too warm and watch us pick out items naturally inserting their two cents in on every decision we make. If one is behind you at a check out line it might be best to let them go first rather than reveal what is in your cart!. Although well meaning, this is just preparation for the older years when teachers, friend’s parents, principals, coaches and everyone else will want to tell you what you should be doing with your child. So relax!
One thing about the first year of being a mom that is truly remarkable and surprising is that it is definitely the easiest. You may be sleep deprived and absolved of any sense of self but once they walk, talk and grow up life becomes much more difficult. By the time they are 11 you will be questioning why people have babies to begin with. The advice is to enjoy the first year of being a mom and take the time to truly love your child exactly how you feel fit. Hold her as much as possible, rock him to sleep at night, lie on the floor and read books or build blocks; do whatever you want and never worry about making a mistake or about whether or not you’re a good mom. You are! Time will fly by and in just a decade or so you will blamed for every problem they have anyway, no matter what you do in this first year. So enjoy it as much as possible and sleep the rest of the time.