I’m coming up on my first year of motherhood. It’s amazing how slow and fast this time went. It’s been a blur but also felt like forever. To be honest, I felt like this year so unfair to us. It’s nothing like how I envisioned motherhood to be.
The world shut down just a few short weeks after I brought my daughter home from the hospital. Only my immediate family and a few friends were able to meet her. I envisioned those first months having help from family, friends bringing food over, a mini-vacation as my new family, joining a mommy group to meet new friends, and showing the world to my sweet baby girl.
All of that was taken away from me.
My husband and I had to learn parenthood by ourselves. There were no breaks to leave the house, our mothers couldn’t come by to give us a much-needed break, and we weren’t even able to have our monthly check-ups with the doctor to make sure we were doing everything right. I didn’t get to go to the gym and work with a trainer to get my pre-baby body back. I slowly felt my identity slip away from me. Despite having my husband with me, I felt so isolated and alone.
I remember a week where I would cry each night because I didn’t know if I could do this.
I loved my little girl so much, but I felt like I could not give any more emotionally or physically. I wanted my old life back. I would get so upset but then tell myself I need to get over it because I have so much to be grateful for. It was a vicious cycle of being sad and then being mad at myself for feeling the way I did.
One day, I realized that I needed to be honest with how I was feeling to not only those around me but also myself. I had a phone conversation with my mother, who finally told me it’s ok to grieve the vision of motherhood I pictured for myself. That this situation is not fair, that I am alone in a moment where I need the most help and that I’m an amazing mom. I don’t know why, but hearing that I was an “amazing mom” shifted my whole perspective on what motherhood was. Whether you become a mom during a pandemic or not, it’s not picture perfect. Being an amazing mother means pushing through the mess. Getting through those tough moments is what defines us.
So when we celebrate my daughter’s first birthday, I’m also going to be celebrating me. I’m so proud of myself. I carried my daughter for 9 months despite being sick the entire time, delivered my baby with a failed epidural, navigated how to feed my child whether it’s breastfeeding, exclusively pumping, or formula, worked on my marriage to become a better partner, made career changes so I could be a mother first and figured out how to confidently care for my daughter. I’m grateful for little one because she taught me so much. Looking back at this year, I realized that I did lose a piece of myself, but I also gained something. This year I got the title of being a “mom.” I joined a tribe of amazing women who fight through moments of “I can’t do this” and get to look back and say, “wow, I did that.”
I’m not the person I was a year ago, but I’m so proud of the person I am today.