Tuesday, February 11, 2020

What I've learned so far from having a baby (and life) - Five Months Update

It’s been almost six months since I had my baby. My first baby! Being a first time mom has shaped me into a whole other person. Of course, everyone can probably guess that bringing a human into this world and being completely responsible for him changes your life, but you really don’t know how much until you experience it. 

A few days ago I read a comment on one of the mommy Instagram accounts I follow (and have grown to love) from a first time mom to a two-week old baby: “I am just trying to get the hang of this so I can feel like my previous self again” she wrote. What crossed my mind in that moment was: girl, you will NEVER feel like your previous self again. To some, that is a pretty difficult concept to grasp and accept, understandably so. 

You become a different form of you the moment that tiny human comes out of you. You transform as in a metamorphosis from the old, sole, individual you once were, to a person that will forever have a part of themselves outside of their own self. It sounds intense and overwhelming, but it’s true. When you come to terms with it, however, when you let go of the person you were, of all the time you had available, of you being your only priority, it fills you up with a kind of love you’ve never experienced before. 

And that is one hell of a life lesson there: who would have thought that by letting go of some of your individuality, sleep-full nights, twenty-four hour/seven days a week unconditional time, care and attention, you would receive the most precious gift in life: love in its purest form. In letting go and giving, we receive. 

In letting go and giving, we receive. 

Even though it has been only six months, I have learned something else about motherhood and, in turn, about life: unpredictability. I can tell you, the moment I thought I had a hand on something, things would be completely different. Let me explain. Sleep deprivation has been hard since I had the baby. At three months, I remember, he started sleeping for longer stretches at night, I was so excited things were going to get smoother from then on. Boy, was I was wrong. A couple weeks later, he started waking up often again. I read something on an app about their milestones and how they can change everything. Talking to my cousin, who has two boys, she enlightened me as she mention how you cannot get used to anything because as babies go through so much growth and changes, not much actually stays the same; patterns of behavior, sleep, etc., come and go. She basically said: don’t get used to anything or you’ll be disappointed. She also said that with her second, she just let things flow, she'd let them be and wouldn’t get attached to anything because she knew better that it might change in a week or two, and of course it would. 

So, I tried it. I finally told myself: if he sleeps, enjoy it while it lasts, because it will change tomorrow. I only mention sleep as an example, but again, this pertains to pretty much almost everything else. And to my surprise, it was fine! From being a person that loved, and I mean, loved to sleep, having a constant interrupted sleep didn’t make me as tired once I started to accept it! Yes, of course I feel tired by the middle of the day when I have a “bad” night and sleep is important, but obsessing about how tired I was made it worse. Also, it then became easier to take at least a quick nap, which of course, helped.

The wonders that come with acceptance! I started to shift my mindset and think that I would be sleep deprived because I had a young baby and that it was temporary, why would it cause such a burden?! No way. Eventually I will sleep again, I know this.

Accepting your situation doesn’t make you love it or agree with it, per se, but it does give you peace. Accepting the unpredictability of this early stage of my baby’s life has made it so much more enjoyable. My baby is now almost six months old. I have a very analytical personality, which can be good. But because of this, I spent a lot of time in his early months analyzing his behavior, expecting things to stay the same or change into a way I expected them to. I look at his newborn photos now and think how small he was then... at the time, I constantly worried about the piling to-do list because he always wanted to be held. Now, he is bigger and he will stay by himself for a few minutes, looking in awe at the world around him. He doesn't need my snuggles as much as he did before. And if only I had just enjoyed being there, snuggled up with him in my arms, instead of trying to analyze things or wonder when I would have more time to "do things", I would have lived even more precious moments of when he was a tiny new-born, a time that is never coming back. 

So, I started to wonder: perhaps this has a deeper meaning. Not only is this early stage of a baby’s life unpredictable, life itself is so unpredictable! And perhaps, applying the same acceptance to the fact that the only constant in life is that it always changes, will provide a peaceful and happier life, one in which we stop and enjoy and cherish the moment before it’s gone and never comes back.

Not only is this early stage of a baby’s life unpredictable, life itself is so unpredictable!

Now, I try to do less analyzing and more being in the moment with my baby, cherishing the moment, because it is not coming back, he will never be this little. Who would have thought motherhood could teach you so much, even this early on.