I can hardly believe my baby girl is already eight months old today. I can still remember the silent hush that fell over my bedroom after she was born. The stillness in spite of such a catastrophic moment.I can almost still feel that elation and panic that came over me, when I realized that Baby Brown had arrived. Baby Isla is thriving you guys! Watching her grow through infancy into someone who can crawl and communicate (and laugh 😍) has been incredible. I am so blessed to be able to be present for it all, but this time has had an understandable learning curve. The experience has been an opportunity to grow as a mother — but also as a person, a woman, a wife, and a friend. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.
ASK FOR HELP
Growing up, asking for help was sort of a sign of weakness. It was bothersome and so I learned very early on to be self-reliant. During pregnancy, I began practicing asking for help. And to be honest I thought I would hate it. It’s a little silly the things you suddenly cannot do anymore. The tiniest tasks left me out of breath or needing help up off of the floor lol. I became my weakest physical self in the healing time after having the baby, so by then I had had plenty of practice. But needing to request assistance for things like putting your shoes on will help prepare anyone to ask for it with “bigger things”. Recognizing when you need to outsource is a sign of strength, and it takes maturity to be able to do it.
Waiting on a newborn baby truly taught me patience and I continue to flex this muscle daily. I want to allow my child the space to grow and to do that, sometimes I have to wait.
I have grown increasingly impatient as I have gotten deeper into adulthood (my husband blames microwave ovens and the internet) so this was already something I was aware of, and working on. Because my girl relies on me, it’s easy to be patient with her. However, there are times that I still need to remain patient because I am rushing to get to do “big kid” things with her. Learning and practicing patience means reminding myself that she’s still a baby, and we have the rest of our lives for those events.
Not being one of those touchy feely people had me concerned for becoming a mother but I was happy to find that I enjoyed cuddling just as much as baby does (sometimes more). Physical touch might not be my Love Language but I can still communicate in it.
Trusting my daughter in this young age, I hope, will prepare me for showing faith in her years from now. I watch my little girl’s expressions and listen to her coo’s to respond to her needs. As an example, there are times when I think she may be ready for a nap, but she tells me otherwise. To manage my own stress, I started to trust what she communicated to me and it makes our interactions so much smoother. If she refuses to sleep, we will read a book, and try again after we take a little break. She always goes straight to sleep from there. Knowing that I can trust a tiny person who doesn’t speak my language or even know how to walk yet, showed me the trust I can instill in others. I hope I can remember to trust her this way when she comes home from school with bad news of a bully, or maybe her first crush.
Having a child has been one big share with your husband exercise for me. I never really thought of myself as stingy (especially with something like a person) but I was, big time. Isla’s dad works during her most active hours and does not get to see all of her little quirks throughout the day like I do. Once I put myself in his shoes and imagined missing a milestone, I put an end to it immediately. I now consciously remind myself to update my husband on whatever small wonders our daughter achieves that day. Parenting is a shared experience and it’s taught me that “need to know” doesn’t apply with family.
THERE ARE OTHERS
It’s so funny how we sometimes think we are in this bubble. Like if we’ve lost a family member, no one else can understand our pain. We all know loss but somehow our tunnel vision can isolate us, to wallow alone in our agony.While I was not truly in pain after my daughter was born, I was struggling in other ways. It took me sitting in support groups to realize that there are women everywhere dealing with the same changes. I was nervous, lost, learning, frustrated, foggy, the list goes on and on. As I listened to mother after mother vent about something annoying their husband had done, or something rude a stranger had said, I felt more and more normal and I try to keep this idea with me now.We are all learning and growing very day. We are all developing in the stage we are in, and while it all may feel like it it’s “just us”, there is someone somewhere feeling exactly the same feelings.
I always hated being called either a “girly girl” or a “tomboy”. I sometimes wanted to play in the dirt and sometimes paint my nails without having to conform to one label or the other. But even still, I find myself (or my family) pushing society’s definitions of gender onto my daughter, even at this age. She should define her own version of feminine, and I will allow her the space to do so.
APPRECIATION IN CHAOS
The house can be a tragic mess of toys and snack crumbs, who cares? Honestly, just me, for the most part. And I’ll end up vacuuming at the end of every day, whether I am running behind my daughter to clean all day or not.I keep this perspective when considering what I could miss during times I am cleaning or wishing we could all skip the hard baby days. We can’t always stick to a set routine and those moments deserve to be appreciated too. These will probably be days I long for and miss before I know it. So, I embrace the crazy, write about it in my journal, and pray I live long enough to appreciate these unpredictable times.