Where did the year go?

I’m posting this a day before our little girl’s first birthday and I’m sat here going through the birth in my head again. The first months of her life are a blur but her birth is so fresh in my mind like it happened yesterday. It wasn’t traumatic, it was a water birth, no drugs. Just gas and air and me breathing like Darth Vader.

Fast forward to this evening where she fell asleep peacefully just after 7pm, I opened a bottle of wine, started cooking, and felt just so content and at peace. When she was a newborn I remember telling myself, it will get better, it’s just a phase. Well, she still goes through phases when she’s fussier or sleeps worse but boy, has it got better! She’s never been a very difficult baby, sleeps well, is calm and chilled out most of the time and I keep hearing: “She’s such a good baby!”, which slightly irritates me because no baby is bad! But it’s got better in a way of me being more confident in being a mum. I no longer question myself every day and can finally say that only I know what’s best for my baby. I’ve trusted my instincts and have done everything opposite to what most of the sleep training books recommend and my approach of ‘she’ll do it when she’s ready’ has made me less stressed. Lesson number one – trust that you know what’s right for your baby! What worked for your friend might not be the right solution for you and your baby. There is so much information and advice out there, almost too much. I spent ages on Google trying to find answers to all the problems I thought we had but most of the time I still ended up doing what I thought felt right and it always worked out somehow.

The first year is/was incredibly hard and I’m so proud to have made it! Coming home with a newborn felt like starting at a new job without any instructions, handover notes or manuals. I felt so out of my depth. There were evenings when I would just cry once she had fallen asleep and my husband repeating “we wanted her, now we have her, you’ve got to do this and you can!” Sometimes he’d say that I was doing really well and I’d always ask “really?” like I never believed him… Thinking back I cannot quite explain what made me feel like that or why I needed so much reassurance. The fact that she was growing beautifully should have been enough confirmation… I think I just felt stuck in a rut feeding, burping, rocking, changing nappies, bathing and soothing her cries and perhaps I was worried that I didn’t enjoy it as much as some other mums. Lesson number two – never compare! Whether it’s how your baby is developing or how you’re feeling.

I’m not going to lie, I didn’t enjoy the first months. All I seemed to be doing was breastfeeding. I was parked on the couch with my phone, glass of water and TV remote and watch repeats of Great British Bake Off, Strictly Come Dancing, and The Apprentice. My husband would cook and bring me food.

Sleeping newborn

During night feeds I would get him up to help me with the latch. Ahh… breastfeeding. Nobody really tells you that it can be so difficult. I wrote about it in my last post during World Breastfeeding Week. Lesson number three – seek help! In my case it was going to breastfeeding clinic because I was adamant I needed to get it right. By the end of the first month I was doing so much better already. I also asked advice from friends and my sister, people who I could trust. Google isn’t your friend!

I’ve learnt that things get better, then they get worse again, until they get better again 🙂 . They grow and change so fast and what might have been a problem one week is long forgotten the next, until a new problem arises. And they’re not actually problems! It’s them discovering the world, be it rolling, crawling, or getting new teeth or… the list is endless, isn’t it?

Becoming a parent is the hardest thing I’ve ever done but being a mum is indescribably rewarding. It doesn’t feel like it in the beginning and you might not appreciate it, I know I didn’t. But it really is such a privilege, to know that a tiny human being solely depends on me and my husband…

So, tomorrow, her first birthday party is really a party for us. For surviving the first year and not completely failing at being parents! 😀

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