First Year Motherhood, Second Time Round
My first year of motherhood was a blur. I remember a couple of things, but the details are starting to get fuzzy. The milestones I painstakingly recorded need to be referred to if someone asks me when my first son started doing certain things.
I did not have a blog then, so my stories of my baby then are told in photos and videos, all saved in my hard drive in their respective months. There is that one letter I wrote to him when he turned one, where I jotted down all the things I love about him. Beyond that, it feels like I'm watching a fast-moving, jumpy movie trailer, when I think about those first 12 months.
What I do remember is that at first I was terrified. I had no idea what I was doing, and I had no clue if I was going to be good at this mothering gig. I read the books, I skimmed through parenting forums, I listened to my mother and mother-in-law, and – somehow – scraped through his first year.
It was about survival. When I look back, I am saddened that I don't remember the moments as much as I should. I was too busy worrying about the day-to-day of whether I could do this, if I was giving him the right food, if he was sleeping or not, whether he was reaching his developmental milestones on time (physically, he was a little behind by a month or so, but he's fine now) – I worried all the time, over every single thing.
It took a little joy out of my first year of motherhood.
My second child was born in May this year, and my experience with him could not be more different.
The gift of second-time motherhood is that of knowledge, experience, and hindsight. I know how to breastfeed, change a diaper, bathe a baby, figure out how to put him down for a nap, when to start him on solids, and I don't worry about milestones (unless there is a significant delay) – all while looking after a 3 year old.
I am not just telling his stories now, I am in his stories. I hold all the small moments that we share and tuck them into my heart. I marvel at his little face, enjoy his smiles and laughter, and remember to take joy in just being present. I trust my mothering heart to do the right thing by both my children, and it has led me down a path of knowing that this is where I'm supposed to be.
I am no longer terrified. This is the gift of second-time first year motherhood my firstborn has given me, and for that I am forever thankful.