Confessions of a First Time Mother- How I survived the first year.

Now that my son is a few days shy of  turning one, I thought I would come clean. Confess all of my deepest darkest secrets, memories, and well, things I feel are worth mentioning.  Being a first time mother/parent is super hard, but super duper rewarding. In order for both of us, no all three of us, the hubs, baby and me, to survive these past 12-months, corners had to be cut, books had to be burned, advice had to be ignored, improv needed to be had; our parenting style needed to emerge.

This first year was such a roller coaster ride, with loops, drops, tremendous hills to climb and of course hands-in-the-air sheer joy, but it took the following to make it all possible... (Oh, and feel free to judge me, but don't bother telling me, because I won't give a shit.  Have you seen my son?  He is a happy, super sweet and uber intelligent bad ass! Everything I did, was necessary to create the incredible baby and family unit that I have today.)

Look at that sweet face!

  • I barely remember much from the early days. I remember being tired and constantly living in fear of SIDS (Cot Death).
  • I would have given up on breastfeeding if it were not for FTD cheering me on and urging me to continue for just one more day, sometimes one more feeding.
  • I still don't love nursing. I love not dealing bottles or formula, but I don't love feeling tethered to my child.  
  • I drank my first beer when Oliver was 6-weeks old. I drank it right after I nursed him per my lactation consultant.  It was the best beer of my life.  Dragon's Milk was the name of it if you must know. To this day, I have not had more than two alcoholic beverages in any one setting, I am terrified of getting my baby drunk. Test strips for breast milk or not, it is just not worth the risk to me.
That's right I took a picture.
A good friend bought the beer for me-I promised her I would send a photo.
I pumped a bottle, poured the beer, took the pic and enjoyed!
  • I fed Oliver rice cereal in an expressed bottle at 6-weeks old, because I wanted him to sleep through the night. It did not work. At all. Oliver did not sleep through the night routinely until he was 11-months old. Thank God I didn't know that back then, I think I needed the hope that,"Tonight will be the night he sleeps 8 hours," to get me through the rough, "Please God, make this child sleep," days.  Knowing he wouldn't would have sent me to the padded room.
  • We started Oliver's bedtime routine at three-months. Solids-bath-nurse-bed. Every night. Yes, I gave my son a bath every night, not always soaped up and scrubbed down, but water on his butt and balls no less, and we played, splashed and laughed the whole time.  We always follow up bath with a great baby lotion.
  • We never co-slept with our baby.  It scared the hell out of FTD.  Oliver slept in his crib the night we brought him home from the hospital. Of course FTD stood over him, staring for 48-hours straight.  Seriously, he never let him out of his sight.  He was so proud, and SO scared of SIDS too. Sometimes I would be too tired to get up and nurse, so FTD would bring Ollie to me. We would both fall asleep after nursing, then FTD would sneak Oliver back in his crib.  He has slept every night of his life in his crib.
  • We lived in such staggering fear of SIDS we took turns watching and checking on Ollie around the clock for the first 6-weeks of his life. 
  • I washed all of my baby's clothes in special baby detergent the first few times, then bought regular dye-free and that worked even better. Not-to-mention, cost half the price!
  • I was a weeping mess around my 3rd or 4th month.  I was sure Postpartum Depression had taken hold of me.  I saw a therapist, talked through my pain and fears and over came.  I cannot recommend that enough!
  • I have struggled with losing my baby weight. Did I say struggled?  I mean, tried/halfassed/prayed/made excuses/worked out/failed and made empty promises. I am 34 and losing weight is a bitch.  I will do better when I am no longer nursing. <--- Those are my top two excuses I'm using now.  Bottom Line: It takes work, hard work and time, I don't have  am not taking the time to make it a priority. I have serious regrets over this. And if I get pregnant again, I will try even harder to keep the weight off, because it will be easier to keep it off, than get it off.
  • I have had to set Oliver down in his crib and walk away to catch my breath and regain my sanity on multiple occasions. The days at home are long and trying.  And when he didn't want to take a nap and I wanted him to, so bad, I would set him down, walk away, calm down, create a new game plan and then get back in the game.  
He is so awesome-
Even when he is not following the nap time rules
  • Parenting is frustrating as hell. From day one.  
  •  FTD and I fought hard at first.  My hormones, his fear, and our different ideas about parenting made things very trying at times, to say the least. We yelled at each other, I yelled mostly. All while standing over Oliver.  He is still happy and wonderful.  If you do this and are worried, don't be. I had other mothers tell me they did it too, and it made me feel better. Eventually, FTD and I found our groove, and I got some sleep.
  • My proudest achievement in my life, next to growing and birthing Oliver, is nursing him all the way through.  I did it.  I l DID IT!!!!!!  At 2-months I had no faith I would make it to 12-months.  I DID IT!
  • We suck at Cry-it-out.  Now that Ollie is a year and is terrible at getting himself to sleep, I regret that decision not to CIO earlier.  I am going to have a hell of a time weaning from this poor decision.  
  • I have strived to feed Oliver only all natural, organic, low sugar and salt foods.  I am obnoxious about this. Thank God FTD is not, and yesterday snuck him a super sugar cereal, AND he survived. There has got to be a balance in this child's life!

Daddy and Baby Balancing

  • It is so important to have realistic expectations. SO important.  Babies are resilient and will go with the flow. Unfortunately, at first I was not going to bend or flex, I had ideas, and eventually learned, they were wrong. This was my hardest lesson. 
  • Every baby is different. Comparing my baby to any scales, trends, or other babies was so incredibly stupid. MY baby is awesome because he is who he is and developing perfectly.
  • I need a break, a long one.  I want to run away.  I want to be young again.  I want to sleep, and drink and be irresponsible.  I want to live one day without the fears of motherhood. The anxieties of life. However, after a couple of hours away from my son, my heart aches.  I love him so much, that life without him scares me more than I can allow myself to process.

Yep, that's me, 4-months pregs!
This was taken a few years ago 
NO fear then.

  • In the heat of the moment, I followed my gut, not the books, advice or standard fix, and it pretty much worked every time. Moms, you and your baby know what is best, don't apologize for going with it, and most of all, don't second guess it was the right thing to do. EVER
I'm so proud!

That's it, for now.  Cheers to another 12-months! While I am no longer a new mom... I am still a First Time Mom!

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Two confused parents=One amused baby Hopelessly we are trying raise a baby who is clearly smarter than both of us. April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com


Unknown said...

Nawww, my favourite post yet.
Love your honesty, dunno if I'd have the guts to be as up-front about the challenges and fails I've had over the past 11-odd months. Seems like only last week you posted about trying to leave Ollie to CIO and I had a cry of relief that I wasn't the only sook about it (and yes, I still visit my mailbox on occasion haha)

Here's to another 12 months of semi-new, first time mom moments!

Hilary @ Peanut Butter Spoonfuls said...

I am cracking up reading this, especially all the stuff about the early days. I can remember checking a million times a night to make sure B was breathing, and really what was I going to do if he wasn't??

That picture of FTD building the tallest tower in the world is absolutely adorable. He's probably enjoying it more than Ollie :)

foodpixie said...

Can you believe we survived a whole year!!! Congratulations to all of us. Happy Birthday to Ollie. And since I now consider my child's birthday to be my real Mother's day, Happy Mother and Father's day to FTMAD!

Kristy J said...

Congrats on your first year!!!! And this is by far my favorite post!! I'm so glad I did a google search about post partum gas and found your blog!

Unknown said...

Oh wow- goosebumps! What a crazy journey!!! I love your confessions- always have- and hey, just think- when you're crazy enough to do it all over again, you can drop the new one off in Ollie's room when he gets irritating... just saying- that's what the oldest is for :) Kaely is stuck with Chase when he's being a jerk- because hey- mom has to go have a time out too, ya know?

Oh well, I am SOOOOO glad I found you guys a few months into the pregnancy forever ago! Happy almost 1 year Ollie!

Kathy Chen said...

Congratulations!!! You made it!! Now that you have conquered the hardest stage of parenting, anything is possible supermom!

Anonymous said...

A friend pointed me to your blog just yesterday... I am a first timer to a 3 month old and read this post just now at work, and not realizing what a mistake this was going to be, cried. Mostly because at 3 months I am feeling several of the things you just said and am fearful every day that I am alone in feeling this way. I'm not and that is so gratifying. Thank you.

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

Oh Shay we suck, and FTD worse than me. I can handle crying until it hits mad-as-hell. FTD caves when he cries at all!

P.s. we did it mumma

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

Damn SIDs! I think that steals more sleep from new parents than anything else! And yes, FTD plays with the blocks everyday, even when Ollie cannot be bothered.

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

Aww thanks you! I do think the birthday is soecial all around. FTD and I are having a romantic dinner that night, after Ollie goes to sleep of course!

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

LMAO! I should have put in a line about still crop dusting daily until 10-11 months postpartum. Watch out, my friend, your year will be up before you know it!

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

Jessika you have become such a wonderful friend. FTD and Ollie and I just adore you. I'm so glad we have made this journey together. And have boys the same age! Now, if only we could get down south for a play date!

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

Oh, Kathy, thank you! You are so wonderful and encouraging. I pray your year with HJ is magical and not too trying. ;)

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

Oh my friend dry your sweet tears, you are not alone. The first few months are so trying. Your hormones, lack of sleep, fears, everything! One day at a time. Or really just hold on tight, it all goes fast and furious. Breath and laugh when you can! Xx and a big thank you to your friend who sent you my way! Xx to her too!

Alissa said...

Love this post!! I just kept saying, yep... yep... been there.. uh-huh. How in the world did we survive this last year? James too didn't consistantly start sleeping through the night until a month ago... thank heavens!! Oh wait... I just signed myself up to do this all over again in 6 months. But as hard as it's been, it's also been the happiest year of my life and I will happily do it all over again (remind me that I said that in about 7 months). Happy Birthday to Ollie and all the other babies soon to be 1. Contrats to you and FTD for surviving and doing a job well done. To all you new mom, you CAN do it and we are all here to cheer you on.

Alissa said...

P.S. Your choice of beer at 6 weeks was AWESOME. That's one of Andy's favorite beers. I am sure you were good with just one, that's a hefty beer for someone who hasn't drank in 9+ months!

Kristy J said...

BAHAHAHAHAHA Crop dusting and all other fine things that come with being a mother. I know my year is fast approaching, with each day I love more and more about him and fear more and more about what is next.
Can't wait to hear about Ollie's birthday party!

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

Alissa, my dear friend, how in hell did we do it on two hours of sleep covered in puke, pee and poop?! And YOU! You are already signed up! OH, I cannot wait to find out if it's a boy or a girl!! I am just so glad you found me, and we have grown so close! One day we will have a play date... Hopefully sooner than later... or really before we have to move a small villiage of people to get to each other ; )

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

I found Dragon's Milk RIGHT!!!! before I got pregnant. I could not wait to have it again. Oh, it was so yummy!

fiftyfinally said...

I had been skinny all my life (well before kids anyway) so much so that I used to try to figure out how to gain weight. But then I got pregnant at 24 and suddenly got boobs. If i'd have known that was going to happen I would have gotten pregnant at 16 (not seriously) ...when boobs are really really important. At 24 somehow one gets resigned to not having any. I stopped looking at the scale when it reached 200 lbs. When one is skinny ...In my mind I'm always skinny. (to this day it amazes me that things are tight....how can that be?) so in my mind when I drop the baby, my old clothes would fit...duhhhh. I remember running around that night of the hospital visit and packing my fav jeans and t... for the trip home. Imagine my complete and utter shock that they didn't fit. I could not believe it. How come??? Where did that big buttttt come from.
I was mortified that I had to wear my stupid prego clothes home. And then spent months wearing my husbands big ass elastic waste sweet pants that he just purchased for himself while I was in hospital. I had to breast feed cause he was alergic to EVERYTHING ELSE. I finally got tired of the whole thing just short of a year and started solids and that was the end of that whole thing. We started building a house when the baby was six months. It's amazing how fast the weight fell off once I had the anxiety of sub contractors and mortgage $$$ to deal with during that whole process. ANd I had to breast feed almost the whole time. Coarse I lost the boobs faster than the ass. Didn't see them again until the next baby.

Layes Landing said...

i loved this!!

cyndiflannery said...

I remember still being afraid of SIDS after Thomas' s first birthday & having to remind myself the took is almost gone after one. Now that he's two, however, he sleeps with everything in his crib from a dinosaur bigger than him to a large plastic dump truck!!

Unknown said...

When I was young I stopped breathing during the night. My mom made fun of my dad all the time for checking on us every night, but that night when he checked on me he slapped my face and I started breathing again. He saved my life. Don't ever be ashamed of checking on your kids at night.