We recently celebrated our daughter's first birthday. Approaching the big anniversary of her turn around the sun, I was all over Pinterest. I prepped and prepped and prepped for a big party, mobilized family and other helpers, planned my daughter's outfit (forgetting mine), and searched recipe upon recipe to find the perfect "healthier" cake. I really went for it!
Along the way, I checked in with myself from time to time to see where in the world all my energy and determination was coming from for this party. What I kept finding over and over again was two-fold:
1. I adore my daughter to the moon and back and was very very excited to be able to give her and our family and friends a great party in celebration of her, and
2. It's been a loooooooong, lesson-filled year of joy and struggle, and I felt a sort of magic buzz inside me, a thrill at having made it through the first year, and to find myself nearly on the other side of it quite happy.
I imagine the first year of the first baby is not a major deal for some moms. I imagine. However, from what I've heard from many I know, and as it was for us, it's a hell of a twelve months for most of us! For us, adding up all the sleep-deprIvation, feeding and baby weight gain issues, negotiations of unwanted advice and the ramifications of deflecting said advice from well-meaning friends & family, being far away from my own family, the wear and tear on my and my partner's relationship over day-to-day and all co-parenting bumps and bruises, all those cloth diapers and no dryer, agonising over every little red spot, cough, teething pain, and off-kilter moment that could be a sign of ill-health, my whack-tastic hormones, my struggles to be PERFECT, wanting my partner to be PERFECT, and so on and so on, well... we've had the time of our lives, a time that any amusement park ride worth its weight in salt would envy (um... can I get a hallelujah?).
BUT subtract from all that neurotic tension all the gorgeous freshly-rested baby morning smiles, darling dear cuddles, hooray-worthy development milestone moments, blessing upon blessing that this being came to us to care for her, hearing her SING, watching her wrinkle her nose at new foods, seeing her have fun with other babies, and chase the cat, and say "mommy" and fall asleep on my chest in her Boba carrier, feeling myself come into my own as a mother, and on and on and on, and the math comes out in our favor, big time! But, still... here's a few thoughts on ways to help make that first year a little easier for new moms, some shared from experience, some shared from the "I wish I had..." perspective: