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12 Things I’ve Learnt in my First Year of Motherhood


May 10, 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Raising a Parent


12 Things I've Learnt in my First Year of Motherhood | Baby & Beyond

Baby N turned 1 in March and my little baby is officially turning into a toddler, though I have been in denial about this I think. I was sorting through some old photo archives and that’s when it hit me…just how much he has grown and how much we have evolved as parents. Time has been flying so fast, I decided to pause for a moment and reflect on everything that has happened in the last year.
That’s when I started thinking about all the things I have learnt in my first year as a mother. I’m sure there are hundreds of more things but I won’t bore you with them all. Here are 12 things I learnt in my first year of motherhood.

 

1. Nothing prepares you for what motherhood really is: Yes, I went for prenatal classes. I went through the reading materials given to us from cover to cover. I read a maternity book. I watched “What to Expect” videos and followed BabyCenter mails weekly. I watched my sister first-hand as she herself became a mother. Yet nothing prepared me for the actual ride that is motherhood. You have to just dive in headfirst and learn as you go.

 

2. “Sleep when the baby sleeps” is easier said than done: I am not one of those blessed souls who can fall asleep at any time and place. My body clock is fairly rigid and uncompromising. I cannot count the number of people who advised me to “sleep when the baby sleeps”, but try as I might, I just could not fall asleep at all the odd hours my baby was napping. I would just end up tossing and turning and feeling frustrated. Instead I found it more useful to use baby’s nap time to take a shower, eat an uninterrupted meal, do some chores, or even just put my feet up and watch TV or read a book with a cup of tea. I think in my case “rest when the baby sleeps” was far more doable.

3. Babies are resilient: Babies are incredibly strong, resilient and adaptive. I remember being scared for Baby N’s initial vaccinations. Yes, he would howl and cry in the clinic, but the minute we stepped out, he would forget everything and go back to being a happy playful baby. Whatever his little life has thrown at him so far – vaccinations, colic, teething, viral infections, even falling off the bed – I have to admit that he has been way stronger about facing it all than I have been. Looking at him take so much in his stride gives me the strength to face everything that comes my way too.

 

4. It does indeed take a village to raise a baby: No matter how much of a super-mom you are, you just cannot do it all on your own. You need a strong network of support in order to retain your health and sanity. Your network may be your family, friends, neighbourhood, community, nanny, daycare, or even online mommy groups. Don’t feel guilty about take help and support whenever you need it.

 

5. Babies are people too: They have their own likes and dislikes. They have moods and needs and feelings, they just may not always be able to express them in a way that we can always understand. We need to respect this just as we would for an adult. Expecting a baby to behave in a certain way all the time is futile because we cannot expect that of an adult either.

 

6. Motherhood can be isolating: I no longer go out to office and meet people. I often have to skip plans with friends because the baby is sleeping or sick or cranky or I just feel too tired. Having a baby can be extremely isolating. The one thing that helped me feel connected was interacting with other moms, in my own circle and on online forums. Connecting with other moms who were going through the same ups and downs as I was made me feel like I wasn’t alone.

 

7. My baby my rules: As a new mother, you will get a ton of parenting advice, mostly unsolicited. It is up to you to choose what to follow and what to ignore. You are the parent. No one knows your baby better than you do. What works for one baby may not necessarily work for another, so you need to make decisions for your baby based on what works for you. And then stand up for those decisions. Don’t worry about offending anyone. Your priority is your baby and doing what is best for your baby.

 

8. Corollary to the above – Never judge another mom: Every mom is just doing the best for her child in her own circumstance. I remember early on being judged on an online mommy group for making by newborn sleep in a cot by my bedside, as opposed to bedsharing which is what everyone else seemed to be doing. I stand by my choice. Having my baby co-sleeping in a cot is what works for us as a family for a number of reasons and I don’t care if anyone else feels it makes me any less of a loving or attached mother. Breastfeeding vs formula, cot vs master bed, disposable vs cloth diaper, daycare vs nanny, working mom vs work-from-home mom vs homemaker, baby-led vs traditional weaning, each of these is a choice and no one choice is better than the other. Live and let live.

 

9. Your body will be pushed to physical and emotional extremes: Pregnancy and labour is just the beginning. Everything from post-partum recovery, breastfeeding, sleepless nights (and days) will push your body to limits you never imagined you could face. And then there is the emotional ride. There are days when I feel exhilarated, on top of the world, like this is where I belong and what I was always meant to do and I am great at it. Then there are days when I feel lost, helpless and just want to hide and cry. And all of a sudden Baby N will give me a little giggle and all will be forgotten and I will be on cloud 9 again. Yes, hormones are definitely involved but don’t blame poor hormones for everything. This is just what motherhood does to you.

10. Mommy guilt is a real thing: When I’m playing with Baby N, I feel guilty for not getting any work done. When I’m working, I feel guilty about not spending enough time with him. If I end up getting some precious “me” time, I feel guilty about being too selfish. If I get no “me” time, I feel guilty about ignoring my own needs. Yes, mom guilt is a real thing alright and I know that the sooner I learn to let it go, the sooner I will be able to live in the moment and make the most of it. When I started sending Baby N to daycare, I would come home and aimlessly while away time feeling bad about leaving him there. Then it would be time to get him back and I would feel bad about having wasted 2 hours when I could have got so much done. Once I decided to let go of the guilt, I started spending those 2 hours on work (I am surprised at how much I can actually get done in just 2 hours) and the rest of the day I dedicate completely to him and enjoy every minute with him, without any guilt.

 

11. Don’t forget yourself: Your baby needs you, yes. But if you are too tired or unwell, you will not be able to care for your baby either. So take good care of yourself. Eat well, get rest, take a break and do things that refresh you – spend time on hobbies, go on a date night with your husband or for a wild night out with friends, exercise, sleep, get a massage – whatever re-energizes you.

 

12. Don’t forget to enjoy the ride: Ok so all of the above makes it sound like motherhood is a really tough ride and it certainly is. But don’t get so lost and overwhelmed in trying to get everything right that you forget to enjoy this moment right now. Babies grow up so fast. You blink and they have started crawling or standing or walking or going to school. Don’t forget to enjoy every bit of your time with your baby and click lots of pictures to reminisce later 🙂

 

What are some of the things motherhood has taught you? Head on over to my Facebook page or Instagram page to share your story.

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Comments
  1. Sana said on June 16, 2017 5:26 pm:

    All of those are so true!

    1. Baby & Beyond said on June 17, 2017 10:46 am:

      So happy to see that other moms could relate to this as well.

  2. Afsha Galar said on June 16, 2017 9:09 pm:

    Point no 2 and 7 is so relatable !!

    1. Baby & Beyond said on June 17, 2017 10:45 am:

      So happy to see that other moms could relate to this as well.

  3. Bushra said on June 16, 2017 11:01 pm:

    Very informative post especially for the new mommies indeed we all learn from real life experience

    1. Baby & Beyond said on June 17, 2017 10:44 am:

      SO true. Well said.

  4. Srishti said on June 17, 2017 10:01 am:

    Well I am not married yet…. So may be I will have to wait fir this stage yet😝😝

    1. Baby & Beyond said on June 17, 2017 10:44 am:

      Oh haha…well enjoy this single, carefree phase too. You will miss it post baby 🙂

  5. Bushra Khan said on June 17, 2017 11:07 am:

    This is really heartfelt and well explained.. Right from day one, you get to learn and re-learn everything you ever new.. Motherhood is truly a gift!

    1. Baby & Beyond said on June 19, 2017 11:15 am:

      So true about learning and unlearning. It is the best gift we could ever receive.

  6. Monika Sehdev said on June 17, 2017 11:50 am:

    Such a Lovely detailed review 🙂 thx for sharing !

  7. Kavita Singh said on June 17, 2017 6:11 pm:

    I loved this blog post and can relate with every point. My baby my rules is what kept me sane till date LOL. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on June 19, 2017 11:14 am:

      So glad to hear that. Thank you!

  8. Prisha Lalwani said on June 17, 2017 10:14 pm:

    There – every true fact about being a parent has been spoken out!!

    1. Baby & Beyond said on June 19, 2017 11:14 am:

      Thank you Prisha 🙂

  9. syeda Fatima (Hyderabadimom) said on June 18, 2017 12:37 am:

    This was a deep post…And I not only relate but agree to every single thing you have mentioned….Nothing can prepare us for the roller coaster that is motherhood…..Loved this blog post…do write more like these…Always good to find other moms to relate to 🙂

    1. Baby & Beyond said on June 19, 2017 11:12 am:

      That is so sweet. Thank you so much Syeda!

  10. Pradnya said on June 19, 2017 1:48 am:

    I can relate myself to sleeplessness…I am a night owl..since 10months..no idea how long my body is going to take that.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on June 19, 2017 11:12 am:

      Same here at 15 months. Hopefully it will get better for us soon.

  11. Elina Dawoodani said on June 19, 2017 9:25 pm:

    I absolutefreakingishisly loved this! Going through the same phase and can relate to each word 👍🏻

    1. Baby & Beyond said on June 21, 2017 11:22 am:

      Haha…thank you <3

  12. Sony said on June 23, 2017 1:05 am:

    Each and every point corelates to me or I would say to every mom 😀 When I get frustrated during those days I control my words and think my each and every word will impact the baby. Even I feel where is my existance, but when my baby smiles looking at me Oh God, that is the precious gift I have ☺☺ All my tension, frustration vanish like it never existed..

  13. Sonali said on July 3, 2017 10:46 am:

    All are so so true and I appreciate your thoughts of never judging another Mon. Love your blog..

    1. Baby & Beyond said on July 3, 2017 12:09 pm:

      Thank you so much!