My daughter turned one last week and I can’t believe how fast the year went by. Seriously, I feel like I was just posting pictures of my bump and trying the strangest home remedies to induce labor– steaming coffee in the toilet bowl anyone!? Don’t judge, when you’re almost 12 days late you will try anything someone types on the baby bump forum that helped her cousin’s-sister’s-friend go into labor that night. When that doesn’t work you pretty much force your husband to uh… well you know, against his will, because clearly your giant bump and crazy hormones make you oh so attractive. But damn it this baby is coming out so you tell him to shut up and do his thing haha. Sorry Matt. The joys of pregnancy. But guess what, that thing that gets the baby in there in the first place, also gets them out. So when someone tells you to sit over a steaming cup of coffee in the toilet bowl just keep scrolling. Although I must say, it was kind of soothing 😉 . Reflecting on the past year of motherhood I realize just how much it has changed me for the better. A wild ride, it’s been hard at times, seemingly impossible. I’ll admit at times I’ve almost wished I could go back to when it was just my husband and I. Everyone says “a baby changes everything” and boy, are they right. When I look around I see that my house is filled with toys, loads of laundry, and so much noise. It’s chaotic at times. I’m now chronically exhausted, more so than ever before. I started buying coffee in bulk. I deal with poop more than I ever wanted to (even more than being a nurse). Sometimes I wonder if that girl inside me is still in there, the one who is not a mom. The one who is carefree and fun and likes to stay up later than 10pm on a Friday night. But when I look inside myself I see that my heart is filled with so much joy, more than I could have ever imagined. Yeah life is different now. My baby did “change everything”. But that girl in me? She’s still there, only she’s stronger, better, and more determined. She’s not afraid to take chances. She’s no longer afraid to speak up for herself, or her child. She feels empowered. When I was pregnant a lot of people would make comments like “oh when you have the baby you won’t be able to do the things you want to do anymore” or “say goodbye to that for the next eighteen years”. Through motherhood I actually found myself again. Yes, getting things done becomes a little harder with a kid in tow. But over the past year I have done pretty much everything I wanted to do and more. Yes more things, because I am no longer scared or intimidated to do them. This blog being one of them. Why? I don’t really know. But I think it has something to do with the fact that I pushed a freaking kid out of my vag with no drugs. I think after doing that you can pretty much do anything. So who cares. Life is short. Take the risk. Motherhood doesn’t have to be the death of you. In fact motherhood can actually be the re-birth of you. See, moms can be pretty cool too. Here’s how motherhood has changed me for the better in just one year.
I can survive on no sleep
Before I had a baby I was one of those people who could not. do. anything. on less than 6 hours of sleep. Oh, I could force myself to get up and go to work like that but I was a beast. I was nasty to whoever was around me and until I was able to take a nap or go to bed again and get 7-8 hours, just steer clear. I often wondered how I was going to make it through the first year postpartum because I knew I did not do well on lack of sleep. I’m still not sure if it’s the hormone changes or just the fact that you have a tiny helpless human being depending on you to keep it alive, but suddenly a solid 4 hour stretch feels like winning the jackpot. I will admit those first few months were rough. My daughter woke up every 2 hours on the dot, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I imagined it to be. I actually don’t even know how I get half the sh*t done that I do everyday, but see that’s why having a kid makes you stronger. I went from being a lack of sleep beast, to lack of sleep beast mode. How’s that for awesome.
I’m strong, like bull
Mentally more so than physically. But physically as well. Especially in the arms hah. As a mom you are forced to do a lot of things on your own. Have to go grocery shopping? Well you better put that kid in a carrier or else your fridge stays empty again. Dog needs a walk? Most normal people can use a stroller which is still a workout to push. But since I have a special dog, I have to baby wear my daughter or else the stroller and I are teetering off the edge of an embankment on the side of the road because Fawn decided to go after a chipmunk in the woods. (Yeah don’t even ask) I lift things up and put them down (her) about 27,000 times a day. I carry her around while carrying like a bazillion other things and have learned to do a lot with my one free arm. I feel pretty good about my body, for the most part… (still working on that one). Pre-baby I feel like I gave up on things easily, especially if I felt like I was not doing well at it #perfectionistproblems. I had a lot of ideas of things I wanted to do, or go see, but was always too shy/scared to actually go them. I constantly find ways to get things done with a baby in tow, or as quickly and efficiently as possible while she is asleep. I take care of her, the housework, and still continue to work part time at a busy stressful job. Sometimes I look around and don’t even understand how it all gets done. All these things remind me of how tough I am, and that I can do anything I put my mind to. So instead of sitting around and wishing for something, I get up and do it because let me tell you, time FLIES. This past year was the fastest year of my life. OK, lets be real, sometimes the reason I go out and do things is because I need to get out of the house before I kill someone, or the dog. Who is barking. Constantly. Again. But hey, it’s all contributing to that mental strength!
I didn’t even know what love was
People will tell you this and it’s so cliché but it is true. I will admit before I had my daughter I was obsessed with my dog. Yes I was that girl, you know, the one who posts 57,000 pictures of her and her “fur baby”. I took Fawn everywhere and really felt like she was my child. When I was pregnant one of my friends said to me “just wait until the baby comes, the dog will be second.” Inside I was thinking, no she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She doesn’t love her dogs as much as I love Fawn. I really could not imagine Fawn being second ever. Then it happened. I had the baby and when I came home it was different. At first I couldn’t take her for our daily walk because the baby was up every 2 hours and I was a walking zombie milk machine. I felt bad for Fawn. As soon as I was getting a little more sleep and mastered the art of babywearing we went out. But it wasn’t the same. I still don’t go as much as I used to. That baby comes first no matter what. Now at times I find that Fawn is downright annoying. I think it’s part jealousy but she barks way more than she used to. It drives me nuts. I put her outside or lock her in the bedroom so I can have 10 minutes of quiet. I would have never done that before. My friend was right. Sorry Fawn, you’re now second.
Not only with my dog, but the love you have for a child is just indescribable. My husband and I both feel the same way about it. I would do anything to make her happy. I worry about her constantly. I pray for her future. I would die for her. I’m not sure I ever felt that way about something in my life. The first week home when postpartum hormones are rampant, I remember sitting in her room, rocking her in the glider, and sobbing because I didn’t want her to grow up and move out. She was a week old people- one week! My husband walked by, saw me, and came rushing in thinking something was terribly wrong. Nope, between sniffles, I choked out “I don’t want anything bad to happen to her” and “she’s going to grow up and move out” sob again. He backed up slowly and then ran down the hall. Which brings me to my next point…
Hormones are real, people
You think you know hormones because you’re a woman and every month that wonderful visitor comes and drives. you. crazy. Then you get pregnant and suddenly you’re like woah, ok this is legit. Crying at commercials, then raging mad the next second. At least that was me anyway. I was up and down throughout my pregnancy. Then you push the baby out and something happens. I was fine when I was in the hospital. On cloud 9 and in total awe of that little human I just gave birth to. But soon it was time to go. The nurse wheeled me down and then made sure we put the baby properly in the car seat. We drove about 50 feet and my husband stopped at the entrance of the hospital so we could take a picture of the sign to put in the baby book. Complete meltdown. I started sobbing and cried for the rest of the ride home. Stopping to look at that sign was the culmination of everything that we had been waiting for over the past 9 months. She was here, it happened, now it was over. Sort of. Now we had this tiny baby to take care of and the nurses couldn’t come home with us. I never took care of a baby before. I was slightly terrified of being alone with the baby. What if something happened? How would I know if she was getting enough breastmilk? Should I keep pumping? Ouch my butthole still hurts is that normal? What do I do with my life now? IS this even real life? Think anxiety on steroids. After a month it does get better. I’m almost back to my old self now, although I don’t think I’ll ever be completely the same.
I became more compassionate
I would like to think I was already a pretty compassionate person being a nurse and all. But I was always very stoic. I was the girl who never got emotional at anything, rarely cried, and always acted tough. Even at work patients rarely got to me emotionally and death never bothered me that much. Another day, another code is how I used to think. Well that all changed the second that kid popped out. I cry a lot more easily now. At work, in the moment, I do what I need to do. Later on I find myself thinking about how sad death can be. I think about how short life is and force myself to try to live more in the moment. I think about patients’ family members and pray they are doing the best they can. I find myself praying for people a lot more in general. I try to do little things to make someone feel better. I think about the childhood I had and things I would do the same, things I would do differently. I try to make Dakota know how much I love her everyday. I try to be nicer to my husband. I try to be nicer in general. Of course I have done all these things before but they seem to weigh more heavily on my heart now.
I appreciate my body so much more
I have struggled with body image for a long long time. I was starting to be ok with my body just before I got pregnant. I had lost a lot of weight (unfortunately from being sick) but I was working on toning up and I had goals for that flat stomach I always had wanted. (Can someone take me to that elusive kitchen where abs are made?) I am lucky in that I didn’t gain a ton of weight being pregnant and I lost it fairly quickly. I think it’s because I was fit before and during my pregnancy. Also, because of my Crohn’s I
am forced try to eat a healthy diet. Throughout my pregnancy I worried about how my stomach would look after the baby, being it was already my most hated body part. I worried if I would have ugly stretch marks, or maybe I wouldn’t be able to lose the weight. I worried if my husband would still find me attractive. I am happy with my body now (for the most part), although my stomach is still a little flabby. Yes I would like to be more toned. Yes I would like to have a flat stomach. Sometimes I have to force myself to get off instagram because I look at other women and start comparing myself to them. I’m definitely not slaying it right now (oh to be young again) but I have a beautiful babe and my body made her. And then birthed her. Birth is a really beautiful thing. There’s something to be said about bringing new life into the world. That baby absolutely loves me. For who I am….ok, so it might have to do with the fact that milk came out of my boobs for 11 months, but we’ll go with the unconditional love thing. She doesn’t care if I’m a little squishy right now. She doesn’t care that I have every intention of working out but I’m just too tired right now. She just wants to use me as a jungle gym and needs me to kiss her boo-boos when she falls down. The gigantic grin on her face when I walk in the room to get her from her crib is proof enough for me. Yes I need to work out more. Yes I need to tone up more. No I’m not 21 anymore. But I’m much more accepting of myself now. I don’t sit here in self loathing because I’m not a certain size or a certain weight like I used to. My husband still wants to have sex with me even though he watched what happened down there. Yup, women are pretty amazing. I’m lucky I was able to experience the ultimate act of ‘womanhood’. (Also, I’m glad men get over everything in like 2 minutes. Phew. Good thing.)
Bonus: I have an even better sense of humor now
Because if you don’t laugh, you’ll just cry.
So for all you moms to be, or for those who are interested in taking the leap but not sure, I say go for it! Or get pregnant by accident, like I did haha, (woops). But seriously, it is hands down the best thing that ever happened to me. I can’t wait to watch this crazy kid grow up. Hopefully someday she’ll be reading this blog laughing, thinking how crazy her mom is after cleaning up a poopy blow out from her little terror. ♥