I recall writing about my journey toward parenting in one of my earliest Stories blog posts, just over a year ago. I can still remember how I was feeling back then—everything from anxiety to eagerness, but most of all, so much uncertainty. Becoming a mother is like applying for a job for which you have no experience and expecting to perform on day one.
Fast forward one year later, and I’ve survived! There’s no denying it: motherhood is HARD, and no book you read can adequately prepare you for it. But amidst the challenges and the exhaustion, you will also experience joy, unwavering love, and the realisation that you are more capable than you realised.
Here are some personal reflections on my journey since then, as well as some things I wish I could have told myself a year ago.
1. You Will Be So, So Tired (But You’ll Get Through It!)
Everyone warns you about the sleep deprivation, and while every mother knows it’s inevitable, it’s one thing to know about it and another to experience it. In the first few months, I wondered if I would ever sleep again. There would be days when I was in a literal daze of moving in between periods of being not really awake and not really asleep. A friend told me this: “It gets better.” And it will, whether it’s your body adjusting to the lack of sleep or your baby establishing a sleep schedule. Even if it initially seems nearly impossible, a day will come when you will sleep through the night once more.
2. Everyone’s Just Winging It
It may seem like you’re the only one who’s lost in figuring out how to be a mom, but trust me, everyone else is just figuring it out as they go along as well. No one is born knowing how to parent. And while there may be guidance books and “how-to” articles, no child is the same, and you are a unique individual with your own needs and ideals. The path you will walk on this journey is something you will carve out on your own. You can learn from others, but, like with lots of things in life, you can’t fully plan for it; you just have to figure it out for yourself—as you go.
3. You Need Less Than You Think
The Internet is a great source of information, but it can also quickly become overwhelming. As a first-time mother, you will be inundated with information on everything from daily activities to do with your baby to a list of things to buy to milestones you need to reach. But the truth is, babies aren’t that complicated and need much less than you think. Don’t stress yourself out with the lists the internet deems necessary. More often than not, a present parent makes up for any toy you can buy. Most things will happen in their own time, and whenever in doubt, your paediatrician will be able to provide you with greater guidance than the internet.
4. You Are Enough!
Yes, I have a love-hate relationship with the internet when it comes to motherhood. On the one hand, there is so much information sharing, and I have learned so much from it. On the other, it’s easy to get caught up in a downward spiral of comparison and the need to be and do it all. As a working mom, I have realised that I cannot do all things all the time and have learned to let a lot of things go. I can’t be everything, and that’s ok! All mothers are on a different journey, and in whatever capacity we are, we are all doing our best.
5. Take a Bazillion Pictures (Because The Time Will Pass Faster Than You Know)
It’s ok to take all the pictures you want (I already have 1,000 on my phone), because your baby will change every day. In the first year, they will go through so much growth that it’s okay to want to document it all.
It’s not that I’m biased because I work in a photography studio, but in just my baby’s first year, I booked two professional shoots. Make the most of every opportunity and cherish all the moments you have because the years will fly by so quickly!