A year ago, I was off work and on torture bedrest, going to the hospital every other day to have nonstress tests. I spent a lot of time thinking about how different the 28th year of my life was going to be with a child. I had no doubt I’d look ten years old, feel a hundred years older, and have slept less in the preceeding 365 days than I’d slept in the last month. I braced myself for a lot of love, puke, and sleepless nights.
Let’s just say I learned a lot more in these past 365 (give or take a few) days than I have in my entire life. I hardly ever think about the sleep that I miss because my son is a much better sleeper than I ever thought a baby could be (minus that witching hour business). I don’t look ten years older because I don’t wear makeup anymore, but that’s because there are more important things to do than gop goo on my face these days – there are smiles to share, giggles to create, and memories to store. I certainly don’ t feel a hundred years older, either.
I hardly ever think about those four days I was in labor and those four hours I pushed, but those days were the defining moments of my life for so many reasons; they were the moments that led me to become a mother and in the process, showed me that tremendous strength is just a mindset away. The scars on my body are fading, and my obstetrician tells me that a year post-surgery they are 90% healed and will never be the same. My body may have healed to 90% their original strength but my soul is as strong as ever.
When I think back on this last year, I don’t think of those painful moments very often. Instead, I think of all the warm snuggled we’ve shared while my son has been wrapped. I think of all the new adventures we embarked upon, made possible by the confidence I’ve gained as a mother thanks to babywearing, online mothering communities, and making like-minded parenting friends. I feel pride that my body has sustained my son not only for the nine months of my pregnancy but also the twelve (and counting!) months of nursing and caring. I’m humbled by the bond my husband and I share, and the moments where we are both overcome with love for something so tiny and perfect.
In reflecting back on this year, I think of the ways in which I have changed…the way I recycle now, all because of cloth diapers and this primal urge to protect our precious earth for my precious child. I marvel at how we succeeded at so much that seemed so difficult at first, and how easy and natural cloth diapering is now. So much about me has fundamentally changed. I can’t believe I didn’t want to bed share, because now those early morning snuggles are my favorite part of the day that ground me and remind me of all that is good in the world. I can’t believe there was room for more joy in my life, but it seems there always is. In this year we have traveled, snuggled, learned, and grown. Most importantly, we have made memories that are embedded into our hearts and souls each and every day.
When I think back on the first 365 days of my son’s life, I know I’ve changed just as much as he has each day. What a wild ride this parenting rollercoaster is. I have no idea how I lived my life without it.