Ahhh parenthood. ❤ Last week, I published my first post in over a year – the introduction. I have been itching to share my parenting experiences, curious to see who relates and who thinks I’m batshit crazy. October 3rd is an important day (no, I’m not wearing pink. Lindsay Lohan has lost her damn mind again, she needs therapy not meme-royalty money). It’s one week from Sophie’s birthday. In one week, my little doll is going to turn 1.
HELLO HORMONES. I could sit here and write down my feelings, but then this post would be unfinished due to me drowning in a puddle of my own tears. So I’ll try something different, an empowering reflection of things I’ve learned over the past year of being a parent:
1) 👏👏👏MAMA TRIBE for the win: Think about the journey of a brand new mom. You spend months pregnant, your hormone levels shift making you cry at every sentimental cute thing Chrissy Teigen posts (hmm just me?), body contorting and expanding every coming day, trying to fathom what your little one is going to look and feel like. Cut to when the baby arrives – you have eight different types of swaddle blankets, your body feels like you’ve gotten mauled by a really rude tiger, and you no longer get to sleep in. Ever. What comes to your rescue? For me, it was my tribe of beautiful mamas.
Whether it was my cousin whose sweet little daughter was born a few weeks before my own, or my wombie whose gorgeous baby boy was born a few weeks after – I went to them with every little question I had. I was thankful for my experienced mama friends here in Dallas and the Bay Area who were checking up on me at all times, asking how I was, and reassuring me that whatever I was going through was normal. These beautiful women sending me a simple text of encouragement, or calling to check up on Sophie meant the world to me. New/First Time Moms (or Dads), understand the importance of fellow parents – chances are they have gone through (or know someone who has gone through) a similar set of emotions and experiences. In a culture where we’re connected via the internet and our phones, it’s an excuse to reach out to people within your own mama tribes, and allow people to come to your rescue when might need it most.
2) Baby Blues/PostPartum Depression are a REAL THING. These feelings deserve to be talked about, processed, and understood. I did not have postpartum, but for months after Sophie was born, there were some tough days where I’d walk in to my bathroom or closet, and literally cry my heart out. I wasn’t feeling right. I wasn’t feeling like myself mentally, I didn’t feel witty (like sometimes I can be funny, but man my jokes would not hit), able to communicate properly, writing for pleasure was difficult, and I did not think anyone in the world understood my exact situation. It was during this time, that I realized I wouldn’t just “get over it”, that I needed to talk about it. A friend once shared that if after the baby, I ever felt like I was sinking or off, it would be crucial to talk through these emotions and remember the role of hormones – and that I’m not just going loony. This was something I internalized and I would tell husband anytime I was having a bad day, and we would talk. Some days I needed to cry, and other days I just needed to vent – the important part was that I was understanding and talking about my emotions, that helped getting them out of my head. Credit goes to my husband for his patience during these times. A few soon-to-be mommy friends asked me what was needed on their registries – in hindsight, I would tell them that it’s more important to have an honest discussion about postpartum emotions with their significant other before baby shows up – setting up a foundation for discussion, and even a course of action for what to do if some days get tougher than others.
3) Baby bragging is annoying. Even humble baby bragging. Not all parents or babies are created equal – so be kind, and be mindful of what you say to one another. Every birth story and parenting journey is unique and this is a gentle reminder to let every mom and dad know, that there is no reason to brag or judge one another. We are all just trying to raise good people.
4) That bond may take a while, and that’s okay. From the second that Sophie was born, I felt this instinct to protect her at all costs. Aggressive, I know, but it’s true – that was my experience. Other moms have shared how in love they are with their babies the second they show up – that’s their experience. I’m here to assure that those bonds will form, in their own time – to not compare your bond to anyone else’s. Comparison is stupid.
And for what it’s worth, when that deep love does hit – it’ll be remarkable. I’m in love with my little baby. She is everything. ❤
5) ME TIME. #GETYOURS Part of being a good mom is to have some time away from the baby, to indulge in things that make you feel like you again. Pending you have time and childcare is handled, whether it’s a 5-10 minute walk around the block, getting brunch and a pedi with friends, or grabbing drinks (FYI, being hungover and taking care of a baby the next morning.. I shudder at the thought) – do something that makes you happy. You’ll be a better mom for it, returning back to your baby mentally rejuvenated and ready to take on a blowout diaper or three.
6) Nurture your marriage. Date night has never been more important.
7) You are not “just a parent”. Explore your interests. I’ll be the first one to admit that getting back to my passion of writing has taken me forever to do. It not only took me time, but the confidence to get back on track. Having trouble figuring out what you want to do? Start with exercise. Exercise does wonders for the soul. I got back to Hot Yoga, which for me has been a full-on mental cleanse.
8) Cut yourself some slack. You’re not going to do everything perfectly the first time (or even the 12th). Your baby may cry for no reason. Not every baby has a chill temperament. This parenting shit is HARD WORK. And parents who are putting in that hard work, day in, day out deserve a HUGE round of applause.
Holy shit, I wrote an essay. I knew I should have split this up, but I was on a roll. Who knows, maybe I’ll still do a Part 2. 😀 Did I miss a good point? Send me a note!
And I think I will write that piece about Sophie turning 1 next week after all. 🙂