As we enter the start of a new year and decade, I’ve been doing plenty of reflecting and meditating on what I’ve experienced and what I want for myself in the future. 2019 was probably the best and yet, most difficult year of my life so far. I’ve gone through so many changes, both good and, I won’t say bad, but definitely unexpected. I had this expectation of the way that I believed my year would go, and it crushed me when it didn’t happen. Truthfully, it almost broke me, but here I am. It has only added to my unique multitude of layers that make up who I am and the story that I can use to help others, and no matter how difficult, I would do it all again the exact same way.
The birth of my son was probably the most terrifying experience that I’ve gone through. I won’t go into great detail of what that experience was like just yet, but let’s just say it completely changed who I am. If you would have asked me what I expected during childbirth, it probably would have gone something like, “Well, I’m going to just push him out really quick, no problem, and be home the next day.” While that may be the story for some, it wasn’t like that AT ALL for me. It didn’t happen really quick, and I was not home the next day. I was in the hospital for about a week due to some complications that I experienced during the C-section that I also didn’t expect to happen. My idea of what would happen after he was born was even more skewed than my childbirth expectations. I remember thinking while I was pregnant, “Oh, I’m going to have so much time to work on my blog, catch up on some Netflix shows all while working out and breastfeeding.” I know what all you moms are thinking. GTFOH! I had to learn from experience that I would barely even have time to take a good shower, let alone do all these things. Kudos to all the moms who breastfed their babies for a year! That can literally be a full-time job. Well while I was pregnant, a lot of my co-workers told me, “I hope your baby doesn’t have colic.” I had no idea what that was, but I sure did find out. Add that to the fact that all the doctors did was talk about SIDS, which is another thing I had no clue about. Colic + trying to prevent SIDS + no sleep = one worrisome mama. In between trying to figure out what was wrong with him, because in my head, something had to be wrong with him and it wasn’t just colic, trying to prevent SIDS by making sure he was still breathing when he was sleeping, and not sleeping myself, I was driving myself crazy! I didn’t just drive myself crazy, but I’m pretty sure my husband wanted to have me committed. However, things did get better. The baby eventually slept, as everyone told me he would, and I eventually slept too. The colic went away, and Aiden is probably the most fun, happiest baby that I’ve ever been around. The process took time, and of course, it’s still happening today. I’m learning that it’s okay if he cries, it’s okay if he doesn’t eat exactly at the three-hour mark, and it’s okay for you to spend time apart and have some time to yourself. It’s easy to forget about yourself.
The rollercoaster that is the world of being a new parent was not the only thing that changed. While gaining a new role, I began to lose sight of who I was anymore. I was only worried about what was best for the baby instead of what was best for myself as well. You can’t take care of anyone else if you don’t properly care for yourself. While I sit here and write this today, I have to say that this is still a challenge that I’m only just now beginning to understand. After having my son, it was like it was only him and I. People that were apart of my life before began to fade away and I had virtually no social life with other adults besides when my husband got home from work and calls from my parents. To say that I felt lonely is an understatement, but I bottled it up and just told myself that I didn’t need anyone. I stopped caring about everyone, including myself. The only thing that mattered to me was my son. I forgot about what made me happy, what gave me purpose, fulfillment, and joy outside of motherhood. I’m still searching for those things, but it is a process. The important thing is that I recognize that neglecting myself is not healthy.
One of the biggest lessons that 2019 had to remind me is that God is in control. I tried so hard to control the narrative of my parenting story, but the truth is that I will NEVER be able to control or anticipate what will happen. I’m sure he’ll throw me curveballs forever. I’ve also learned that there’s nothing too difficult for me to experience that I can’t come back from. If I’m still breathing, God has given me yet another chance to learn, grow, and improve my situation. Sometimes we experience these really trying times BECAUSE God wants to grow us. Sometimes I have a habit of looking to others to help “fix” my situation with any advice. No one can make decisions or change anything for me. I have to learn to do that for myself. The third thing that I had to remember is that fear is a lie. Fear determined so many of my decisions this year. I let fear hold me back, determine the way I was reacting with my son, and also control my behavior. None of which is conducive to who I am or who my son will be. As I’ve said before, I’m not completely cured. I’m still learning to let go, but I am making steps toward changing this. What I want for the new year is to let go of expectations. I will always set goals and plans for myself, but I will keep an open mind when things don’t happen accordingly. I welcome change and challenges! What are your hopes for the new year?