I still cannot believe that my daughter turned one this month.
My journey as a mother began on May 2nd 2019 at 19:20 o’clock. It was a cloudy and rainy morning, followed by a beautiful sunset.
A little baby girl was born and my life hasn’t been the same since.
The past twelve months have probably been the most intense ones in my conscious life so far. The journey of being a mother hasn’t always been easy. Actually, it has been anything but easy!
If I had to describe the past year, it was a sequence of very intense periods with just a few moments when I could relax a bit and enjoy the show. Until the next phase caught me unprepared. As usual.
My family has been through various ups and downs, challenges and wins and the three of us have all reached a milestone – Elena has made an incredible transformation from a helpless newborn to an active toddler and my husband and I have settled into our new roles as parents.
What did I learn?
In this article I would like to share with you the following three insights.
Insight #1: Relax, it will all fall into place
I have never felt so vulnerable and so out of my comfort zone as during the past twelve months.
During the first year a baby goes through such a development leap that before you get the hang of one phase, the next phase is already knocking on the door.
When a new phase starts I feel quite frustrated because I am not in control of what’s going on. I always find it challenging before I get used to the “new normal”.
What I have learned is to relax and to give myself time.
Even though at the beginning I might feel like I have no idea how to handle a certain situation, the experiences of the past twelve months have proven that sooner or later I will learn and adapt to the new situation.
For example, I remember I was very frustrated when I had to introduce solid food to my daughter. How? When? How much? Which ones to start with? My head was about to explode from questions and uncertainties and I had quite some sleepless nights reading about the options and thinking about my plan.
Even though I realized that I was overthinking it, somehow this felt like it was a “make it or break it” moment in my life.
I felt a tremendous amount of pressure to do the right thing which in this instance probably doesn’t even exist. I mean, it’s obvious that you don’t start feeding your baby with chocolates and Mcdonald’s from day one.
So, whatever you do would probably be ok, as long as the baby stays healthy and keeps on growing as expected.
The lesson is that whatever you do and however you do it, your child will grow up and most probably will not remember those very first years of his/her life (at least I hope so).
Just be there and give him/her all the patience, love and understanding that you are capable of. And, of course, enjoy it while it lasts!
Insight #2: Allow yourself some personal time
When I decided to become a mother, there was one condition: to not forget who I am as a person and to not throw away my personal needs and ambitions.
No matter how impossible it might have been at times, I am happy that I kept working on my blog, doing sports, going out with girlfriends, and taking days off just to go to the beach on my own.
I even started a new job (full time) and I went on a business trip to Philadelphia (US) when my daughter was only six months old.
Perhaps not everyone of you will relate here but I personally am a better mother when my life is in balance. The moment I give too much time and attention to work, my family suffers. Similarly, when I put my family first, my ambitions and personal aspirations suffer.
For me personally the key to happiness is striving for a balanced personality, so that I feel happy and complete in all areas of my life.
After all, our children will grow up one day and we will be left over with the lives that we created for ourselves while they were growing up.
Believe me it’s not only my personal needs that are driving me here. I believe it is important to teach our children to be independent and to adapt to different environments early in their lives.
As much as we might want to be around them and protect them all the time, there will come a moment when they will need to face their own life challenges, so they better be prepared.
No matter how you choose to live your life, just don’t forget that besides being a parent you remain a person with your own needs and dreams.
Insight #3: Becoming a parent is opening new horizons
One of the reasons why I was excited to become a parent is because I wanted to be able to experience emotions and learn lessons that wouldn’t have been available to me otherwise.
The whole process of pregnancy, giving birth and witnessing the development phases of another human being consists of countless new experiences and lessons.
I see it as an opportunity to grow as a person. To be able to understand the struggles other parents are having and to be able to relate to them.
To me being a parent has opened up a new perspective and a deeper layer of my personality.
It is not always easy, it is not always rewarding but it is totally worth it!
I feel grateful for the ability of witnessing the growth and development of a little innocent human being. The feeling of being loved by your child, unconditionally, is priceless.
Before I know it, my daughter will be out and about exploring the world without needing me as much as she did during our first year together. But I am sure I will still be learning and developing as a mother until my last breath.
What’s in it for you?
Dear (new) parents,
Do you ever spend time reflecting on how you have changed since you first became a parent?
Please feel free to share your anniversaries, insights and learnings so far.
I can imagine some of you won’t be able to relate to this topic. And that’s perfectly fine.
I used to be proud and happy to be one of the people whose main life purpose was to grow/develop professionally and to take care of and satisfy my own needs in my free time.
I cannot honestly say that I don’t miss my old “simple life” in some moments. Especially in tough periods such as teething, sleepless nights, growth spurts.
However, although I have much less time for myself at the moment, I can honestly say that my life has never been more meaningful than it is right now.
I am still developing professionally, I still have the same dreams and hopes for the future. And instead of someone standing in the way, it’s more like this little someone is the reason to make it all work out. Both for hers and my own sake.
The article photo was taken on May 21st (my daughter’s Name’s Day) by a very dear friend of mine Zhivka Yaneva.