Monday, 13 April 2015

A Year of Motherhood

One year ago today I became a mother to the most sweet, gorgeous, funny little boy in the world. Every day with him is a blessing and I'm so honored to be Hal's mum.

This past year has been a beautiful but challenging journey. There have been times when I've been at breaking point, where I've been so tired or in so much pain because of my CFS that I've struggled to feel like a good mum. But there hasn't been a single day where I haven't laughed, smiled or felt overwhelming love and pride for my little boy.

I thought I would share a few things I've learned during this past year of motherhood.

Don't compare yourself to other mums, and your baby to other babies. It's hard, as it's something that I tend to do automatically, but every mother and every baby is different and there's nothing wrong with that! 

Know when to ignore unsolicited advice. When you have a baby (or even when you're expecting) suddenly the whole world and their dog think it's fine to give you advice. Some of this advice can be helpful, but some really isn't and it's important to be able to ignore the advice you don't need.

It's ok when things don't go as planned! Every pregnant woman has an image of what motherhood will be like, of things they will or won't do. I was determined that I would breastfeed for 2 years, but ended up having to stop breastfeeding after 4 months due to complications because of Hal's severe tongue tie. I took this really hard, and felt like a failure for a long time because I wasn't able to stick to my plan. With my son due in July I'm hoping to be able to go easier on myself and although of course I still have plans as to how I will feed him and raise him, I'm hoping to be able to be more flexible so that when things don't go to plan it's easier to accept.

You don't have to do everything yourself. For a long time after Hal was born I felt guilty whenever someone else was holding him - even when it was my husband Pete! I felt like if I wasn't holding him and giving him my attention every second of every day then I wasn't a good enough mum. All this kind of thinking does is burn you out! Everybody, especially new mothers, need time to themselves. Once I started taking a little time to myself (even just 10 minutes is enough to make a difference) I felt more human, happier and more relaxed and that made for a happier and more relaxed baby.

Trust your instincts. There are so many different ways to parent, so many options out there for everything from feeding to sleep and it can be hard to know what's best. I've found out over this past year that just because something is right for other parents, doesn't mean it's right for you. We were told by various people that we should sleep train Hal, and although it was something we considered at various points, we never felt comfortable with the idea of having to train a baby to sleep. Hal eventually got into his own routine, and now sleeps like a log from 7pm to 7am! 

Treasure every moment. Babies grow and change so fast, I feel like it was only a few months ago that I was giving birth to Hal and now he's not a baby anymore! Take as many pictures as you can, steal cuddles as often as you can, cherish every giggle! 
I've loved this first year of motherhood, and I'm excited about what the next year will bring.

What did you learn your first year of motherhood?

Don't forget to see if you won Hal's Birthday Giveaway here

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