Lessons from the first year of motherhood

My little one is turning one in a few days. I don’t know about you but I personally think that it is an accomplishment to make it through a year with a small human being who asks for anything with just a cry or grunt. If you ask me to describe the last year with a few words, my answer would be – love, joy, uncertainty, lack of sleep, diapers, diapers and more diapers. It has been an amazing journey that transformed me and redefined my purpose as a mother and wife.

I was not a patient person but motherhood has beat me to submission through its ups and downs. Besides patience it has helped me grow personally with lessons I might not have learned any other way. Here are some of the most important lessons I have learnt.

Delayed gratitude – all those sleepless nights you spent rocking and breastfeeding might not be recognized by your child now or for the next 20 or 30 years but it is worth that cute smile of satisfaction they give you. Whenever I had an argument with my mother as a teenager, she would usually say you will understand when you get children of your own. It took 30 years for me to understand her but that understanding has brought us more closer. I have learned to appreciate not only my mother but other mothers I know.

Expect the unexpected –  I used to think I would lose the baby weight fast and get back to work after four months among many other expectations but here I am with 22kgs of baby weight and working from home in a job I never expected to be in. Whether it is your body, career, relationship or the next diaper explosion, I have learnt to work with what I have at hand. This has helped me avoid disappointment and made me focus and on the way forward.

Comparison steals the joy – I think we are obsessed with perfection. And those 100+ pictures from other moms on our timelines don’t help at all. As a first time mother you want to do everything right but let us be frank, you cannot and it is okay. Everytime I compared my daughter to other children or myself as a mother, I ended up feeling down. I have learned to do my best and be content with it.

Giving time to yourself and partner – giving time to yourself through the 24/7 duties of motherhood may seem difficult but I have learned to do just that with a 30 minute bath/shower or a 5 page read. I have also learnt that unless you give time to yourself, it is hard to spend quality time with your partner. A few minutes of doing everyday things can do wonders for your relationship. Looking at my husband sharing a beautiful moment with our daughter is one of the happiest moments in my life as a family.

Treasure every moment – When my daughter was a few weeks old, I wished that she would grow up fast and start smiling back at me, when she was able to do that I wished she would start sitting and interacting with me more, the wishes never end but I have learned to treasure the moment. It is important to enjoy each stage before it flies away quickly. Special moments are printed in our minds but taking pictures is also another way but don’t be obsessed about snapping every moment and actually missing the moment. When taking pictures of your little one, I have learned to organize them regularly as you store them, it will be too much to sift through later on.

Mommy partners – it is very important to have a support around you that you can call at 3am about a cracked nipple home remedy or the color of your baby’s poop. It truly takes a village to raise a child and I was blessed with mothers around me who were always happy to lend a helping hand.

Hard times will pass – motherhood is full of ups and downs and I have learnt that in the moments that I felt so helpless and tired, knowing that it will pass helped me carry on. However difficult that sleepless night was or that first cold your baby caught, it will pass.

This first appeared on The Standard on 30th April 2017

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