My daughter is quickly approaching a year old and the year has gone by in a blink of the eye. It seems like yesterday I was swaddling her up tight and praying she would sleep for at least two hours. Now she’s walking and getting into everything but I’m still praying for her to sleep well. I posted before about the things they don’t tell you about having kids; Mom guilt (which hasn’t changed), crazy hormones, breast feeding, and love of your child. As time has gone on I’ve learned so many things about being a Mom. The things they don’t tell you is that you can’t begin to understand how hard it is until you do it. People can tell you how hard it is to go without sleep but until you’ve actually taken care of a baby when you haven’t slept for almost 24 hours you don’t get it. You find a new kind of strength. They don’t tell you that you will find a way to get through it. Whether it is family, friends, or your spouse helping you will survive. You might not feel like it at the time but you will get there. I think the first 4 months are probably the hardest. I was afraid I was doing everything wrong. I was recovering from a c-section, I wasn’t able to breast feed, and I had postpartum depression. If you don’t know what depression and anxiety feel like it’s that lying voice in your head. You’re not good enough, you can’t do this, it won’t get better/easier, you’re doing it wrong. At the worst part of my depression I thought I would never feel better, and I was ruining my daughter’s life. When you are in it you can’t see out of it. I got help for my depression and I’m doing much better now. The thing they don’t tell you is that postpartum depression doesn’t care who you are. It has nothing to do with being strong or not. You might not realize what is happening until you’re deep into either. I had to give myself permission to not be okay. I felt like I was letting my baby, and husband down but in truth I was doing the best thing for my family. I couldn’t be a good Mom or wife if I didn’t change something.
The thing they don’t tell you is that watching your child grow and learn new things will become your favorite thing. You will become that “parent that”. The parent who thinks your child to so smart, strong, and a super baby. But who cares. The joy you get from watching your child play with a water bottle is pretty great. I can’t tell you how many videos and pictures I have on my phone. I want to save the moment and feeling forever. I’m a boring Mom but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
The thing they don’t tell you is that all the “firsts” will be so amazing that you will forget the hard times. The first smile, words, steps, and holidays will fill your heart up so much you won’t be able to imagine it getting much better. We just celebrated my daughter’s first Christmas. I wanted everything to be perfect; the tree, the gifts, the clothes, and plans. I made myself a little crazy about it. It wasn’t until I sat back and relaxed that I realized it all didn’t really matter. Being together with my family is really all that mattered. After rushing around to get everything just right and making to it church to get our seat I finally let it all set in. I had my husband off work and was at church with my family. I started to get emotional as we waited for church to start. I realized I have what I always dreamed of, a loving husband and a child. Celebrating my daughter’s first Christmas with my husband was one of the best days I’ve had. My heart was so full of love and joy. They don’t tell you how amazing things can be and I’m grateful for it.