3 Things I Learned In My First Year Of Motherhood
Happy Women’s Day!
This year marks the second year that I’ve been a mom, if you count last year as well (I was pregnant with Odin though). I’m not sure if that counts but I’m counting it—lol. When I pause and reflect on how far I’ve come as a mother, I’m very proud to say I think I’m getting the hang of it. Besides learning the basics like breastfeeding, learning Odin’s cues when he’s hungry or tired and being super protective of him, I’ll say it is one of the greatest honors of my life.
As a first time mom, adjusting to a little one was all new to me and in my first year, I soon learned that…
NO ONE KNOWS ALL THE ANSWERS
I entered into motherhood with some preconceived notions about how a woman can be a good mother. The ideas and traditions I learned through my Acholi upbringing mixed with the advice I encountered in internet articles and YouTube videos (yes even the birthing vlogs) helped give me some idea of what to expect, but there is NOTHING that could’ve thoroughly prepared me for being a mom.
Lesson: You just figure it out as you go. It’s a learn-on-the-job kind of thing. Though we do share similarities, as I quickly learned, every mom experience is just a little different.
TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF IS IMPORTANT
It is very easy to lose yourself once you become a mom. I’ve always been the type of person who does more for others than for myself and becoming a mother just magnified that fact. The first few months were all about Odin, even when I ate, I ate because I wanted my body to produce enough milk for him and not for the food to nurture my body. I neglected myself so much that I forgot who I was. Suddenly, motherhood felt more like a chore than what I’d read about.
Lesson: Always take time out to care for you. You cannot pour out of an empty cup so make sure your cup is full. Rest, get a massage, meditate, practice some downward facing dog or invite your friends over for games or girl talk. Whatever you need to do in order to rejuvenate, do it. You’ll be sleep deprived, so sleep when the baby is sleeping. I know there will be a lot of things you feel like you just need to get done but it can wait. When you feel great, it’s a lot easier to give your baby the best of you.
YOU WILL NEED HELP
After enduring more than 10 hours of labor pain, surviving the intense strain of delivery, then immediately becoming a human feeding machine, I was drained. Those days and weeks following Odin’s birth were exhausting beyond words. It wasn’t just because labor was intense or because my body was healing. It was the breastfeeding every two hours. It was the never-ending diaper changes, the checking every couple of minutes to make sure that he’s still breathing—it was remembering to put food in my own stomach. The list of reasons is long.
Honestly, I don’t know how I would’ve done it by myself. I’m so grateful for my mother, my in-laws, and especially for my husband because he was there through it all and picked me off the floor when I was blacked out from my exhaustion.
Lesson: When you need help, ask for it! I am the type of person who wants to believe I can do it all. I thought I didn’t need anyone’s help then and, even now, I catch myself getting burnt out with a gazillion things all just to prove, “I got this”, when really I don’t got it. So this is a lesson you can learn with me; ask for help!
Motherhood is a very rewarding journey. The journey is challenging but it’s one of life’s greatest learning experiences.