the 6 things I've learned in my first 6 months of motherhood
Happy half birthday to our baby girl. Six months ago today our sweet Ava June made us parents and maybe it's cliche to say but I can't remember what life was like before her.
I thought it might be fun to memorialize this day by breaking down the 6 biggest takeaways from this first half year of being a mom.
1) there's a separate category of love that exists
You may not feel it all at once but it grows every single day. Filling up your chest cavity with warm beams of sun and your belly with butterflies. Until you literally can't fathom a life without this little person who brings you the purest form of joy and happiness. It's different from any love you've experienced and it's equal parts awesome and amazing.
2) the first three weeks are long and more difficult than anyone leads on
Yes newborns are snuggly and amazingly adorable, but parenthood is not for the faint of heart. Those first days and weeks are filled with fear, doubts, love (so much love you don't even know how to process it), anxiety, sore nipples, endless questions followed by endless googling, sleep deprivation, and fear you will never ever see the light of day again.
But then you do...
And then you slowly (very slowly) begin to 'get it'. You get a little confidence, and some of those things you googled actually work, and that confidence builds. And your village forms and they come to help, and bring you food, and make sure you shower every day. And you realize you're not alone. And that you're figuring it out. And you're doing okay.
3) momstrength is a thing
Let's set aside the fact that we actually grow this human and then proceed to birth them out of our bodies (um, what?), but motherhood has shown me how strong I really am.
Mentally strong - to push through 45 minutes of fussing to get the baby down to sleep, only to have her wake up 30 minutes later. To go to sleep after an exhausting day, and still have the strength of mind to wake up the next morning and have another go at it.
Physically strong - to make it up two flights of stairs with a baby in a car seat on one arm, an iced coffee in hand and three bags of groceries on the other. To take two excited dogs around the block with a baby strapped on to you. To run up the stairs two-by-two at least three times a day to grab the pacifier before it falls out of your napping baby's mouth. I can try to take credit for losing the baby weight but in reality, the day to day mom-grind is to thank.
4) my husband is more than just that
Because now he's a Daddy. And a pretty awesome one at that. It melts my heart to see how much this little girl already loves her daddy. Her eyes are drawn to him when he enters a room, and she immediately smiles one of the biggest smiles I see all day. I can't wait to watch them get to know each other, because watching my husband become a daddy in just these first 6 months has filled me up with an infinite amount of love for my guy.
But all that aside, he's no longer just my husband, but he is my daughters father. One of the most important and influential people she will have in her life. Ever. She'll watch everything he does. His words will effect her image of herself. Her body image. Her self worth. The way he loves and respects me will be the way she expects to be respected and loved by her future partner. Being a daddy is a pretty big deal.
5) free time isn't a thing
I truly can't figure out what we spent our time doing before Ava (B.A.). I mean, we must have had LOADS of free time! To lounge on the couch browsing the internet... to have a lazy Sunday morning, spend an hour in the grocery store casually picking out game day snacks and a long list of ingredients for a new recipe we're trying for dinner. To stay up late on the weekends, knowing we could just sleep in the next morning to make up for it.
That is no longer the reality. Errands are now a luxury, timed between naps and feedings. Browsing the internet is often done with one hand as the other entertains a baby sitting next to me. Dinners need to be straight to the point because baby is making no promises that she'll chill in the bouncer for more than 30 minutes while I cook.
"Free time" comes maybe three times a week. Likely during an exceptionally long nap, but still while I compulsively check the baby monitor and hope for just a feeeew more minutes to myself.
6) nothing can prepare you
For the way your life drastically changes.
You no longer need to just worry about yourself. Gah that was easy. I had that down. But now you will constantly be worrying about this little person. Are they eating enough? Sleeping enough? Still breathing?? Pooping too little? Pooping too much? It's endless.
You can no longer get up and go. It's not that easy and specific meet-up times aren't a reality. The 'cable-guy approach' is much more realistic. Let me give you a window of time when we will likely show up and I'll text you when we are actually leaving, ya?
For the love that fills your heart so high you think it will spill over
but it keeps filling up and growing bigger to accommodate all that love juice. Each day. More juice. You fear your other organs will slowly start to shut down as they get edged out by this massive heart that just keeps loving and growing and loving and growing. And it's awesome and messy and always joyful and sometimes stressful but the most wonderful and important thing you'll ever get to do. Ever.
Photos by Francesca Marchese Photography