My son's first birthday has come and gone and with that came a lot of reflection. I look back and remember the steps my husband and I took before we even conceived our son. We paired down our hobbies, created space in our home, found community with similar values, stopped drinking alcohol, finished house projects, leaned on family for support, and eventually took the leap of faith that we were ready for this next chapter of our lives. Even with all of the preparations and education when we saw the positive pregnancy test it was a wild, mixed bag of emotions! What did this all truly mean?! We had only conceptualized this and now we would actually be parents!
I go into more detail about my pregnancy and the birth of Silas in a post here but I had many fears surrounding pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. I truly thought that having a child meant that my life would be over. Through a lot of un-learning and learning, I realized that this would not be true. And now a year into motherhood I am realizing it is partially true.
Obviously, there are many aspects of my life and personality that are largely unchanged. And of course, my life is not over. But when I really look, the life I had before Silas is gone. There is no going back. There is no bouncing back. There is no back. I am now a mother and the life I had before Silas is in the past. I say this with a tremendous amount of joy, gratitude, and peace because I am not trying to get anything back. I am, with my incredibly supportive partner by my side, working to create, grow, and build a new life where we can all thrive in our shared family life.
For us, that means we follow most of the needs of the littlest family member. I recently learned about attachment parenting and I would say that we typically follow these principles. I go to bed with him around 8/830pm, we prefer take-out or cafeteria-style restaurants, we plan travel around his naps, we are either really early or late, we have 1 maybe 2 activities a day, I nurse him to sleep and am still nursing on demand, we attend lots of family activities - the library is a favorite spot, Aaron and I have only had a few date nights but prefer to take a yoga class together, we encourage Silas to help out where he can, we go to him when he cries, we sometimes hold him for naps, we haven't left him overnight, we either have to divide and conquer a task or we get Oma's help, our house isn't as clean as it used to be, projects take a bit longer, we are pretty scheduled, and also still very spontaneous.
We do all of these things (and more) because he is our priority. We aren't trying to fit Silas into the life that we had but rather create new routines that work for everyone in our family.
I am not trying to get back to my 20's. I love that person for who she was and I enjoyed that part of my life but this motherhood journey is something I wouldn't trade for anything. Even on a tough day when I feel challenged and tired when he snuggles in close for a hug nothing else matters. All of that stuff before fades away and he has me once again wrapped around his little finger.
Now, do I wish at times that I had more time or that he would sleep past the 45-minute mark with his naps or that I could have a conversation that didn't get interrupted - yes. And, this year has flown by! My little baby is becoming a little boy with preferences, language, and so much personality. He continues to evolve and I know that this tiny stage of his life is such a small sliver in the bigger picture. So I hold on a little longer, give him my all, take the time I need to nourish myself and my relationship with Aaron, and watch Silas grow! We adapt with him and it keeps things fun and fresh. I prioritize what really matters and am okay when things take longer to get done. I meditate to keep my cup full. We all check in with each other regularly to ensure that this rhythm/routine/life is still working for us and if it isn't we make changes.
I feel this clarity in life and in motherhood and have another post about it because it is super freeing to let go of the past. There is less friction when I stop trying to live the life I had.
Joy, gratitude, and contentment have filled this journey into motherhood (along with tears, uncertainty, questioning, doubt, and frustration) for me. I believe it's because I have been transformed by birth. I have not only accepted but embraced that this is my new life and I really do love it all. So, there is no going back. I don't want to go back. I move forward with my family and we create this new life where everyone has their needs met and everyone is happy.