What I’ve Learned in 10 Months of Motherhood *Guest Post*
Alex Berger is a 28-year-old lifestyle blooger, southern wife and Mom who lives in the suburbs of Atlanta. She’s passionate about many things including traveling, partaking in adult beverages, having spontaneous dance parties, and eating. (All things I love too!) I think every mom has a story to tell! While the journey to motherhood can be beautiful, it can also be long, complicated, challenging and stressful. And there is a woman out there who can identify or empathize with these experiences. I am grateful that Alex chose to share her story here.
Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to be a mom. Being a mom has been the most amazing journey of my life. But, that does not mean that it hasn’t come with a lot of stress, uncertainty, and tough days.
When I was little, I would dress up my dolls and play “mom and baby.” When I got older, I started babysitting because I loved kids that much. During college, I switched my major from nursing to education so I could teach and be around kids all day. I ended up not teaching after all because I didn’t love the way public school systems were run. I became a nanny instead.
When I became pregnant, I had this perfect picture in my head about what motherhood would look like. For my entire pregnancy, I imagined that we would go on playdates, keep the house clean, cook dinner, keep up with the laundry, and so on. Has that image played out as I thought it would? Definitely not. Has the journey been full of learning experiences? 100%, yes. I have learned a ton – including things that I didn’t know I would learn. I wanted to share my story in hopes that it can help someone as they go through the amazing and beautiful journey of becoming a parent! Here are a few things that I’ve learned in 10 months of motherhood.
Every journey is unique.
During pregnancy, the little person inside of you loves the sound of your voice and the beat of your heart. A few years later, you may be on the couch watching a kid-friendly movie, completely exhausted from life, but so happy in the midst of it. You will wonder if you are doing this right. You will wonder if you could have been more kind, more patient. That same little person that was in your tummy will be sitting next to you and their sweet face will look up at you, in pure adoration. No matter what you do or how you do it, you are their favorite person in the entire world.
Needless to say, every parenthood journey is unique, just as every baby is unique, and every home situation is unique. You cannot take parenthood and fit it in a “one size fits all” box. That is one of many reasons why I have a hard time believing in sleep training plans and parenthood advice books. Just because one thing worked for another family does not mean that it will work for you. And, just because you are doing things differently does not mean that you are doing anything wrong. Your journey is unique and you have to embrace that by doing whatever works for yourself and your baby. Find what works and roll with it. Do not be ashamed – you are doing a great job!
Breastfeeding is not as easy as you would think.
Breastfeeding is hard and although it is a natural thing to do, it does not come naturally at all. We had a unique journey (see what I did there?!) dealing with an egg intolerance, so that made our breastfeeding journey even more challenging. But I am so proud that we pushed through the discomfort and found some answers. Now at ten months, I am proud to say that I am still nursing Avery!
You really have to educate yourself, seek help from professionals (or from friends that have walked in your footsteps), and push through the potential discomfort in order to breastfeed. There were many times where I just broke down in tears, wanting to throw in the towel and call it quits. That would have been very easy to do. But, I am so proud of myself for sticking with it and I just really hope that Avery benefits from it in the long run. If you are a mom struggling with your breastfeeding journey, know that it does get easy and you can do this!
Giving birth is not scary.
Oh, birth. I guess I should have put this paragraph at the beginning since birth comes before everything else, and now you’re probably thinking “ugh, another story about how great and special giving birth is?!” Ha! 😉 Is giving birth painful? Yes. But, honestly, it was the most amazing and empowering moment(s) of my life. I had to be induced AND did it naturally, in a pool. Some of you probably think I am nuts, but really, there is nothing to be scared of when it comes to birthing your baby. I understand being scared of the unknown and the possibility of things happening that you cannot control. That’s why I am encouraging you to educate yourself as much as possible beforehand AND have someone present during labor that can advocate for what you want.
My husband and I hired a doula and she helped keep me calm, count my contractions, and keep my midwife and nurses in the loop. Thank goodness for her – she was a saint! I highly recommend hiring a doula for yourself, but as always, everyone is different and that was just my experience. Again, educate yourself as much as you possibly can so that you can stick up for what you truly hope for when it comes to the birth of your baby. Once you know what happens in a typical birth and a birth with complications, it becomes a lot less scary!
The hardest parts of motherhood are sometimes hidden.
Motherhood is hard, but sometimes the hardest parts are hidden and unseen by the person walking down the sidewalk. Since every journey is different, everyone’s struggle will be different too. And who are we to judge one another’s struggles? Personally, I struggle with balancing it all. When I get really overwhelmed and try to do it all, it leads to a meltdown. By holding it all in until I break, I am not doing myself, Ian (my husband), or my daughter any good at all, and I am definitely learning that. We are all a work in progress and all you can do is try your best to improve. EVERYONE struggles,with something and a lot of the time, we do not see it. This is why I think creating a village where everyone raises each other up and supports one another is so very important.
You cannot do it all yourself.
Last but not least, I am learning how to let others help me. I know that I cannot do it all myself. Although I try, it’s not healthy for anyone involved because I end up exploding when I cannot handle it all. Let the people around you help and when they cannot help, find professionals that can. Outsource whenever you can! Maybe this means getting a babysitter for when you need to get out of the house for more than five minutes, hiring a house cleaner to buy back some of your time, or even getting a company to help you declutter like Plano dumpster rental. Personally, I needed to remove junk from mylife and reduce my (literal) pile of stress.
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While there are many different lessons in motherhood and so much more, these are just a few of the things I’ve learned myself over the past ten months. Thank you My Simple MOMents for the opportunity to share my motherhood experience. I really appreciate all of you taking the time to read this and I would be thrilled to hear about your journey and what you have learned over your own parenthood journey!