This month has been a flurry of Pinteresting, Michaels trips, taste testing & crafting. Yes, that tends to be a normal month for me but this one is different. You see, in a week we will gather with our closest friends and family to celebrate baby girl’s first year in this world. A whole year figuring out this world and how to navigate it. With today being E’s actual birthday, I can’t help but think, “Well Melissa, how has your first year in #momlife been?” Let’s see, I knew there would be sleepless nights, endless love, occasional exasperated fights with my husband and countless moments of overwhelming happiness…but there are so many things I didn’t expect. So, while this year has been full of all of the above and countless other beautiful, silly, crazy moments…here’s what I’ve learned most from this little one year old.
I will never look at the news the same. Never again will I hear the news of an Amber Alert without getting sick to my stomach. I will forever cringe when I hear that a child has lost their parents. My joy has also found new highs. A sense of exhilaration and excitement shoots through me when hearing a baby has found a donor or accomplished their dream against all the odds. It’s incredible the compassion I feel for total strangers because there is this inevitable sense of, “I am a parent and I get it.” It’s as if I was emoting at 70% my whole life and I needed to become a mom to gain that last 30%. My baby, just by being born, has heightened my emotions to a place I didn’t know possible.
I will never look at my body the same. I had accepted that in order to carry a child I would gain more weight than I may naturally be “comfortable” with…let’s be honest…carrying a child is not always comfortable. It’s a crazy thing for anyone I think but especially for women to see numbers on a scale that you’ve never seen or even imagined you’d ever see. Yes, it’s a beautiful thing to know you’re carrying your child and also kind of terrifying to think about a person growing inside of you. Of course my body will never be exactly the same. But I love the work I have done over the past year to be the healthiest me. It took me 10 months to fit back into my pre-pregnancy clothes. While this isn’t the “thinnest” I’ve ever been, I can tell you without a doubt I am the healthiest both physically and in how I view my body that I have ever been in my life. My baby, just by being born, has made me love myself more than I ever thought I could.
I will never look at my husband the same. Don’t worry, this is a good thing :). I have always strived to show my guy I’m his biggest fan. I’ll be honest, it’s pretty easy to do. He’s one of the sweetest, most clever and loving people I’ve ever met. I knew he would be an amazing father and couldn’t wait to see him in this new role. I could picture in my mind him nervously holding our little baby for the first time, strapping him/her into the car seat and getting aggravated trying to figure out the stroller. What I hadn’t expected was to see him through new eyes. To hear the squeals of excitement that come out of E when she sees him. To see her eyes light up and her whole face scrunch as she gives a baby tooth filled smile because he acts like her high-five knocked him over. To hear her babble “dada” and “daddy” even if she hasn’t connected the dots yet. She knows exactly who this man is for exactly what he so simply is – a loving caretaker that will always guide her, make her smile, protect her and do anything for her. My baby, just by being born, has made me fall in love with my husband all over again. I will never underestimate the #momlife community. Not too long after E was born, I decided to give some mom groups a try. I knew getting out of the house, having baby girl interact with other kids and just having other moms to chat with about methods of tummy time and child rearing woes was healthy. Even though the fear of the “judgey” moms was a totally valid fear, I was part of the “mom” community now and I should join it…whatever that may mean. Thankfully, while there may have been moms I didn’t connect with, there were also wonderful, passionate, talented and sarcastic women out there in the same boat as me. But what truly took me by surprise was that meeting these women and watching them interact with their children has made me a better mom. I was no longer in our living room, wondering if me talking to her as she stares off at the fan was really for her or just to keep me from going insane. I was seeing other moms doing the same thing, trying new things I hadn’t even thought to try or going to new places I didn’t know existed. My baby, just by being born, has given me a new sense of community and faith in others.
So thank you sweet, wonderful, beautiful, inspiring baby girl…just for being born. Mommy and Daddy love you. Eat as much cake as you want…for today.