Throughout this last year, I’ve been very open about my struggles with motherhood. I’ve spoken about my issues with breastfeeding, my need to let my pre-mom self go, and my experience with postpartum depression. I’ve written about the hard parts while also highlighting the good that came out of them.
More Sleep and Greater Independence
But in these last two months, a new shift has happened in my motherhood journey.
It’s gotten easier.
My eleven-month-old daughter has started crying less and laughing more. Her newborn sleep schedule eventually phased out as she began sleeping for more extended periods. And when she started sleeping through the night, so did I. She has started to entertain herself. She holds her own bottle and wants to feed herself solids rather than rely on me to spoon-feed her.
In short, she’s started needing me less.
When I Began Loving My Baby Differently
When I was five months postpartum, a mother of two said to me,
“Soak up your baby. Every day she is growing further and further away from you.”
Her words hit me like a ton of bricks. They made me realize my baby was growing older by the day. Yes, the days can seem long at times, but each one brings with it another wonderful day of loving my baby.
As a new mom, I often found myself just trying to get through each day. Between her newborn sleep schedule and my exhaustion, I’d forget to take in the moments I would miss someday. After that conversation, I started to look at my time with my daughter Annabell differently.
- When she woke up in the middle of the night to feed, I would hold her a little longer when she was done.
- I would close my eyes and feel my arms around her.
- I would feel her heartbeat on my chest, her warm body asleep and heavy on mine.
- I would nuzzle my nose into her neck and take in her baby smell.
I would, if just for a moment, soak her baby-self in.
The Motherhood Shift
This made getting up in the middle of the night something I looked forward to. It changed the way I looked at this time in my life. It was no longer about me trying to survive life as a new mom. Instead, it became about intentionally loving my baby and not missing out on her babyhood.
Here I am, six months into motherhood, and Annabell no longer wakes up in the middle of the night. She no longer lingers in my arms after feeding. She no longer needs me as much as she did just a few months ago.
Just as that woman said, she’s moved a step further away from me.
But with this new transition, I take with me the memory of those nights. And now, I capture new moments in time for my memory bank. Some of these moments I can see so clearly in my mind, moments I’ll treasure forever include:
- When she plays on the floor and turns around to make sure I’m still there, she’ll flash me a big, beautiful smile.
- When I hide around a corner and see her head peek around the corner with that “I’ve got you” face.
These little moments in time, these seemingly inconsequential little things, I always make sure to remind myself to “Remember this.”
Continuously Soaking in All of Motherhood
I can’t change the fact that Annabell is growing up. I can’t make time stand still, but I can promise to enjoy the “here and now” as it comes. I can find the newness of each age, and I can be fully present with that.
I can, every day, find moments to simply love her. And to love my motherhood journey.
As she moves steps further away, gaining more and more independence, I will watch over her from a distance. I’ll let her know I’m here watching her grow, cheering her on, and most importantly, soaking her in.
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