Hannah turns one on March 11 and I am shocked. I have been told, time and time again, how fast time flies with a baby and I have to say, it's true. Somehow time just speeds by and you are left wondering where the last year went. Yet in the day-to-day, time sometimes seems to stand still. Funny, isn't it.
With Hannah's birthday quickly approaching, I have spent the last few weeks reflecting on the past year and all that has happened. Something about birthdays that just make you reflect....especially first birthdays! A year ago I was a nervous wreck, 9+ months pregnant and ready to pop. I so wish I could have seen into the future and told myself some things. If I could have, here's what I would have said....
You are about to jump on the craziest roller coaster ride of your life! It is absolutely amazing and incredibly scary and insanely fun and excruciatingly hard - all wrapped into one. But take a minute to just relax and enjoy these last few days of baby-free life. You will have enough time to worry about all things baby in the year to come.
You will feel completely overwhelmed for the first 6 months or so of Hannah's life. Your hormones will cause you to be crazy for a little while and that's okay. You will cry for no reason at all and that's completely normal. The first two weeks with a newborn will be the hardest weeks of your life, but it will get better! The nights will be the hardest, but Brian will be right there for you, every step of the way. He will wake up with you for the 2am feeding and lay on the floor in Hannah's room while you nurse her. He will fall asleep there, but he's there and that's all you will need. You will feel distant from Hannah in the beginning - like she is a stranger. That will make you sad and you will feel guilty about it, but after just a short time you will fall madly in love with her and never look back. You will forever be grateful for a sweet friend that told you it is completely normal to feel that way and that you aren't a bad mother for it.
Being a stay-at-home mom will be the toughest job you've ever had. It will be different every day, but painfully the same. But it will be your favorite job yet! You will try to keep the house in order, but you will fail. You won't cook dinner every night and the house will be in shambles some days, but that's okay. It's only because you will be too busy crawling around on the floor with your precious baby to even notice.
I know you are worried about the labor and doing it drug-free, but you will do it and everything will be okay. Yes, it will hurt and you won't be prepared for the intense pain. You will say, "I can't do this" several times, but you can! It will only last 8 hours and Hannah will be perfectly healthy and BEAUTIFUL! You will be taken away by her beauty....so unexpected. Your recovery will be scary and you will shed a lot of tears, but things will go back to normal and you will survive.
Breastfeeding will be painful in the beginning and there will be times where you just want to give up, but don't! Nursing will be one of the best things you do in the next year. It will become very natural and believe it or not you won't want to wean her at 1 year....and you probably won't! :-)
Hannah will not be a good sleeper! This will drive you crazy and make you pull your hair out. You will spend hour after hour reading about ways to get her to sleep. You will try everything and nothing will work. You will change her schedule when she is 6 or 7 months old and that will be the best thing ever. No, she still won't sleep well, but things will get better. Why don't you just go ahead and start out with the Babywise schedule from day one and things will most likely be a lot smoother for everyone! Hannah will cry for what seems like hours when you put her down at night, but eventually (around 10 months) she will sleep through the night consistently and you will feel like a new woman! The Lord will teach you so much over the next year about how not in control you are. It will be a painful learning experience, but such an important one. I hate to tell you, but even when Hannah turns one, she still won't be a good napper and you are just going to have to deal with that. Some days she will sleep great and others she won't sleep at all....oh well.
You will worry that Brian will stop loving you as much as he did before Hannah came along. I know you are scared about having to share him with someone else, but don't be. He will be the most amazing father and will love you even more than he does now. Your heart will burst when you see him hold her. He will love her unconditionally from the moment he lays eyes on her and that will melt your heart. He will change every single dirty diaper while you are in the hospital, but don't be fooled. You will have your fair share to change the moment you get home. :-) Oh, and Hannah will look just like her daddy! You won't get any credit for her amazing looks...she is his twin. But you will LOVE that about her. Her eyes will be crystal blue, just like Daddy's and her facial expressions will be his. But every once in a while you will see yourself in her and those moments will be priceless.
Give her a pacifier...just do it! Don't be so stubborn for the first 3 months and refuse to let her have one. It's silly. There are much bigger things to worry about. She will not go off to kindergarten with a pacifier in her mouth. I don't know how you will break her of the habit, but who cares. You can cross that bridge during her second year of life.
Hold that little newborn every chance you get. She will grow up way too fast and you will wish you could cuddle with her again. She will only be cuddly for about 2 weeks of her life and then she will want nothing to do with being close to you, so get it while you can! You will not ruin her if you hold her the entire first week
of her life. Do it! You will wish you had.
You will spend the next year memorizing which steps creak and how to close a door without making any noise. You will learn to flush the toilets when Hannah is awake and you will accomplish nothing during nap time out of fear of doing something that might wake her up. Whoever came up with the saying, "sleep like a baby" must not have had one.
You will make some amazing friends over the next year. They will keep you sane and help you in more ways than you can imagine. They will make you feel like you aren't crazy and not alone. They will be there to listen to you complain about how hard being a mom is and they will completely understand!
Everything you think you know about being a mom will prove to be false! Nothing will happen the way you planned and that will be hard.
You will fall deeply in love this year. You will better understand your heavenly father's love for you as you learn to love unconditionally and without reservation. There is nothing you wouldn't do for that little peanut. She will fill you with such great joy and will help you understand what is truly important in life.
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