After my son's first birthday, I remember numerous people congratulating me on surviving the first year. It was true. I felt like I should take a bow or lower my neck to receive my medal. The first year is no joke. Yes, I feel proud and accomplished to have "survived" it, but part of me also wishes that I didn't have to look back on that year and remember it as an event that I survived.
Survived, to me, implies that I just did what I had to do to make it - to stay alive.
In fact, the exact definition of survive is "to remain alive or in existence. To carry on despite hardships or trauma." Why do you think they have a show called "Survivor" or why Beyonce sings "I'm a survivor, I'm gonna make it"? Is the first year of motherhood a hardship that we have to endure? The truth is, most of us signed up for or accepted the job. Whether or not we truly understood the job description and responsibilities at the time is another story (and I would argue an equally important one), but nonetheless we're talking about an entire year of our lives. 365 days. That's a long time to just survive.
Of course there are challenges, and some days it is just about making it through and doing the best that you can.
Sleep deprivation, hormone-driven-emotions, postpartum depression are all real things. But between the days of survival, there is also so much opportunity for growth. We just have to force ourselves to take a step back, look at the big picture, and see all that we are learning and doing despite the challenges.
I hope that the stories, ideas and guidance shared here at Mother Nurture will help new moms adjust your mindset to one of thriving instead of just surviving.
You can, and will survive the sleep deprivation, the breastfeeding challenges, the physical and emotional changes, but for everything else that happens that first year of motherhood, I hope you don't just survive it. Do what you can to thrive. Thrive in the amazing things you will be able to accomplish; thrive in the expanding ways in which you will love your kid and yourself; thrive in your ability to grow into a better you.
The next time you congratulate a new mom on surviving the first year, instead stand in awe of all she accomplished and say something like,
"What an amazing time that first year is. You should be so proud of all you accomplished!"
One of the first steps in moving toward a mindset of thriving rather than surviving, is to identify your priorities as a new mom and then commit to taking small steps everyday to show that these are the things that are most important to you. Focusing on what fills up your cup and not the many other distractions, will help you show up and be the mom, the woman, the professional, the partner that you want to be.
If you haven't already grabbed a copy of my Priorities Worksheet, you can download it here: