When I think back to that first year of being a mom, I shake my head and smile.
I can do that now. I'm on the other side.
But when I was in it...man, was I in it! I was in that stage of full-on sleep deprivation, of never-ending baby cries, of fevers and ear infections and teething, of short naps and multiple night-wakings, of long work days and corresponding mom guilt, of juggling work and home and family, and of battling PPD.
I can honestly say that I was pushed to my breaking point and I thought it would never end.
The Magic Words that Put It All in Perspective
I can tell you that it did eventually end. And eventually there was enough distance between that first year and the present to make me feel like I could do it again, because just 7 months ago, I became a mom for the second time.
I made sure to give myself enough time to recover, but not too much that I would forget how hard it can be in the beginning.
And it was hard. I had many moments of deja vu as I rocked and shushed another crying baby, powered through long nights and days with very little sleep and returned to work facing reminiscent feelings of guilt and overwhelm. And I admit that there were points when I thought again...I will never do anything other than care for this new baby and keep my toddler alive.
But then I would think back to that very first year of motherhood.
And I would think of everything I accomplished, not the least of which was raising a baby, and I would say to myself "I did it".
You Are Doing It
Katie Lee, author, speaker and lifestyle designer, says "your daily life is your whole life."
Think about that.
Life doesn't jump from one milestone or major event to the next. It moves through daily life even when that daily life is comprised of nothing more than nursing, diaper-changing, rocking and sleeping.
It's always hard to see the change when you're closest to it. Just like when you see someone you haven't seen in awhile and their weight loss is obvious to you but not to them. They see themselves everyday and the change is so gradual that they often miss it.
The same goes for those early baby days.
It feels like the same thing day in and day out, but the truth is there is change. Change in your baby and change in you.
So when I start to feel disheartened, when I think that surely my body and mind are going to break from lack of sleep and physical exhaustion, I remember that I am doing it.
Everyday, I am becoming stronger, I am learning, I am growing and before I know it, these everydays will become a year. And I hope it's a year I can look back on with amazement, a sense of accomplishment, pride and hopefully a smile too.
I am doing it.
You are doing it.
We are doing it.