So, this is it. The end of another year and what a year it’s been.
On the 31st of January, I gave birth to the most amazing little girl. I knew that it would be hard work, but I think nothing can ever prepare you for the mental and physical changes you’re going to go through.
I’m not afraid to hold my hands up and say that I have struggled this year. I have and it feels good to say it out loud (well, write it out loud, but you catch my drift). Admitting that I was struggling was the best thing I could have done for myself, my husband and for little E. It’s helped me to start accepting more help, albeit begrudgingly, but slowly, I am learning.
Being a mum is NOT for the fainthearted. It’s a round-the-clock job. Yes, we get little breaks and yes, we have help, but essentially, it’s all mum until your baby really forms their attachment to their dad/grandparents/other mum/other caregivers. That doesn’t really come for a good couple of years, I believe. Yes, they love them, but nothing replaces their mummy. When that dawned on me, I broke down. I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t be the one person that this tiny little person depends on all the time. You know what? I am. I have done it and (so far) I’ve come through the first year relatively unscathed. Yes, I’ve got the rest of E’s life for her to depend on me and that is also terrifying, but it’s an exciting kind of terrifying. Plus, with my husband by my side, we can conquer anything we put our minds to.
Surprisingly, I don’t think everything is all doom and gloom. This year has also been the most rewarding of my life. Seeing E grow from such a teeny, tiny helpless little bean to a strong-willed, smart little cookie has been amazing! It’s weird to think that in 11 months, she’s gone from sleeping, feeding and pooping all the time, to crawling, pulling herself up, cruising on the furniture and babbling along so I feel like she’s having a conversation with me. What babies go through must be so much for them, and when you think about it like that you really do appreciate those cuddles and those feeds just that little bit more! I’m so proud of the progress she has made in what is such a relatively short space of time. I’m constantly in awe of the new skills she’s developing and what a beautiful girl she’s turning into. Bring on the next 12 months with her, it’ll be hard, but it will be more than worth it.
I’m also incredibly proud of my husband. When E was born, a dad was also born. From the moment she was placed on my chest I could see the love in his eyes. He’s struggled this year too, I know he has, but he has never, ever failed in building me up and supporting me. He has been amazing throughout this journey and has really kept me going. He doesn’t know how much just seeing him walk through the door lifts my day and I will never, ever be able to thank him enough for being my rock day in, day out. I won’t go on (because, I could go on for a whole post) but, my husband deserves the absolute world for helping me through this year and I wish I could give it to him.
Finally, I’m actually proud of myself. It’s not very often (read: never) that I will say that, but I am. There have been so many times that I’ve said “I can’t do this” with tears streaming down my face, but do you know what? I’ve done it. I may not have always made the best decisions, or had the best temperament, or even been the best mum, but I’ve got through the first and hardest year of my baby’s life. I’ve also been breastfeeding for nearly a year too. I always wanted to get to 6 months, but nearly gave up in the first few weeks (cluster feeding is no joke!). I didn’t and I’m proud that I haven’t. I aim to make it to a year, then who knows. We”ll see how it goes. It’s been stressful and painful, but honestly, it is so rewarding.
There are numerous other people that have helped me to get through this first year: my parents, my in-laws and my mummy friends to name a few. They’ve reassured me that everything I’m doing is fine, everything is completely normal and that no one really knows what they’re doing when it comes to parenthood, we all just wing it and hope for the best (even when your child has grown and has their own child). I’m eternally grateful for the people in my life that support me everyday. I might not tell them every day, but I should, because without them, I probably wouldn’t have been leaving this decade with the positive outlook that I have.
My resolutions for 2020 are pretty simple:
- be a little more organised (mainly out of necessity); and,
- survive another year of parenthood!
Here’s to another decade, let’s see what it brings!