Over a Year Later

>> 12.10.2012

So, it's been a full year since Ada was born. Almost 13 months, actually. Pregnancy and birth are distant memories. It feels silly even writing about it now.


Physically:

  • I wavered for a while, but -- ultimately -- I am (still) at 5 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight. I even tried dieting for a couple weeks (with less gluten, beer, dairy, etc., just to see what would happen) and absolutely no budging. Breastfeeding was not some miracle weight-loss cure for me. Yes. I'm bitter.
  • My stomach (still) sticks out. Quite a bit. I don't think I have muscle separation, but I think those muscles were definitely stretched to the max. I imagine unless I do some intense ab workouts, which are my least favor EVER, it'll stay this way. (And why kill myself if they are just going to be stretched again in the next couple years?)
  • My arms are ripped from lifting Ada all day long. She started crawling early and walking just recently. That's a lot of months I had to carry her around. 
  • But my back is killing me. I try my best to have good posture, but sometimes holding a baby on one hip and stooping down just can't be done in a good way. I am now starting to do at-home yoga a couple times a week to help stretch.
  • I haven't gotten my period yet. I was at a doctor appointment a couple months ago and they asked me when my last cycle was. I had to think. For a long time. Uhm . . . February 2011? I do get cramps every now and again that are no joke.
  • I am a faster runner than I used to be. Part of this is training, but I can't help thinking that my pain threshold is different now that I've gone through labor. Could all be in my head, but I'll take it.
  • Breastfeeding is great and all, but I am happy we're down to only three feedings a day. I'd like to be down to only morning and night by 18 months. Wean by 2 years. I told Stephen I plan to sit in bed wearing a turtleneck sweater, drinking beer and watching movies -- ALONE -- when we hit this milestone.
  • That's because Ada hasn't had any bottles for months now. She's been fed directly from the source, and I haven't been away for longer than 5 hours. I am a bit overwhelmed to write that. But it's true. And that 5-hour stretch I'm referring to happened a long while ago.
Mentally:

  • I am not ready to have another baby. It's often the question of the day now that Ada is a year old. Another child isn't something we're thinking about until after Ada's second birthday. I want to give Ada enough time to have her special moments and -- in return -- give any new baby that same privilege. Plus, I just don't think I could handle two under two. Props to parents who do!
  • I find it difficult to see Ada as a toddler. The first year went so quickly, it blew my mind. Everyone will tell you this about his/her own child, I'm sure. Now I look down and she's talking and walking. It makes me wish I had savored all those newborn days that much more versus complaining about them. Mommy guilt reason #133,567,895.
  • You all know this already: I feel like I should have my life more together by now. But I don't. I've been in this constant struggle to be a more perfect version of myself. A more perfect mother. In the one year of wisdom I've accumulated, I think it's my best bet to just roll with things now. 
  • I isolate myself. Partially it's because things at home are so busy. More, it's my laziness. But if there's one area I'd like to improve, it'd be to get out there more and see my friends/call my friends. Make new friends, too. I think I could really benefit from finding (or starting, which is what the case seems it needs to be in my area) a mom's group.
  • I'm too hard on myself. Most moms are . . . most women are. And we are on one another, too. In this first year of motherhood, I've seen more than my fair share of judgement. I'll admit from my side, too. There are plenty of things I could/should/would be doing differently, but that's my business and mine alone. Understanding this cruel phenomenon has made me happier and less judgmental of others.
  • I shut down when I get over-stressed. If Ada's cranky or if I've piled on too much to do, it happens. But what I've learned over the last year is how to break out of those heavy chains. It's as simple as taking a jog around the block. Works every time.
I have told Stephen a million times over that whenever we choose to have another child, I already feel like I am going to be so much more relaxed. Obviously I'll know better when the baby is hungry versus sleepy or cranky. On another level, I look back on things I have written in this past year and laugh at myself. Or feel sad, really. I tried so hard to magically figure out being a mom -- my relationship with motherhood -- from the instant Ada entered our lives.

That's not how it happens.

And I think it's an easy trap for first-time parents to fall into. Motherhood is a process that will take place over the rest of my lifetime. Just as there have been so many new stages with her this first year -- there, too, will be a million new stages as she grows into a kid, teenager, adult, etc. I don't need to have it all figured out. Who am I kidding? I WON'T have it figured out. We'll figure it out together.

Yes. Of all things I learned this past year, this thought is the most important: Being a mom doesn't mean knowing everything. Doing everything "right" by whatever standard is set any given day. Having all the "right" advice and know-how. In other words, being a supermom. (Who even started this whole supermom terminology? It's ridiculous.)

Most parents do the best they can with the resources they have available to them . . . incredible, above-and-beyond things for their children. I tried the whole "right" and "wrong", "black" and "white" way of parenting. It didn't work and just lead to unnecessary stress and disappointment.

What has worked? Being there to watch Ada grow and support her in the ways I can. Sharing in the joy of this time of my life with Stephen and my family. I think that's pretty super, rewarding . . . and way more fun.

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