Saturday, August 24, 2013

From Day One to Year One

For first-time parent with no helper (but my husband) like me, the first year of raising a baby feels like a constant marathon of body and mind.

Everything is fast-paced and it happens every single day. Some days run faster than the other because I got so crazy busy doing a million things in a day. I am still very much sleep deprived because my baby's sleeping schedule at night is still irregular to this very date. I've even forgotten what a real proper holiday feels like.

Don't envy me but I did lose my pregnancy weight in no-time. My biceps and abdomen became toned (not exactly like Britney Spears's when she was a hot babe in her prime years though) without doing any exercise, stepping into a gym nor doing any strict diet.

Last year: Miss this little baby already.

Days, weeks and months glided by. Since the moment I first carried my newborn in my arms - almost a year slipped away. The baby who used to snuggle in my arms and fall asleep on my chest is no longer a baby and refuses to sleep when I cradle her. She is now a one active little kid who can talk baby language, is very curious of this wonderful world and able to walk around all by herself. The relentless early days that I thought would never end is now a distant memory.

This year: Ain't a baby no more.

Although I feel that I have accomplished pretty well in raising a happy and healthy baby on my own, I have two regrets.

1. I should have cherished the time and enjoyed my baby more.

In the beginning of my motherhood journey, I always felt so tired both mentally and physically. Also, shortly after the effect of epidural was gone, I felt so injured. This horrible post-delivery feeling went on for the next three weeks or so. This traumatic situation was also coupled with prolonged post-partum bleeding and exhausted body which was trying hard to fit my newborn's schedules. In short, my first month with my baby was not that euphoric and surely I was not able to fully enjoy my newly bundle of joy.

I wished the time away. When Naomi was still three days old, I wished she's one week old. When she was few weeks old, I wished she quickly turned to one-month old so she's not that fragile, could do more and had better routines. I could not wait for her to be able to turn her body over, crawl, walk, talk and so on. I tried to enjoy the moment but I think I didn't enjoy it optimally. I thought when she grows older, it would be easier to take care of her. Well, at some points, it is true - when Naomi grew bigger, I got to know her better and she was easier to deal with. However, she launches developmental milestones that present new sets of challenge for my husband and me on monthly basis so in that sense, both of us keep on learning and handling new things about the little human being in our house every single day.

In addition, I guess back then I was so overly busy caring my baby 24/7 that I missed the beautiful new Mom experience. I really should have taken more real time to hold, cuddle and do nothing else but bonding with Naomi without being distracted by my housework that kept on coming, iPhone or soap opera on TV.

Naomi's sweet smell, tiny fingers, little toes, chubby cheeks and cute button nose won't be there forever, will they?

That's why when you hear people say"Babies grow up so fast!". You must trust them because it's true. Just enjoy the moment and your baby more.

2. I should have taken care of myself better.

Soon after my Mom went back to Indonesia during my confinement period, I led a super hectic life attending my baby's needs mostly on my own to the point that I neglected my own well-being. I skipped meals (hence often suffered from gastric pain and became very thin), slept a little or slept few good hours but not quite rested and often lost my appetite when I heard my baby cried or my head was full of today's to-do-list.

Thinking back, I should have just chilled, taken my sweet time to eat my food, enjoyed more me-time like snacking, lying on my bed with my scary face-mask on (principally until I fall asleep and the mask dries up), going to a hair salon and letting someone else wash my hair, getting some pedicure, reading my favourite magazine undisturbed, putting my make up on before leaving my house or baking - just like the good old times. This way I would feel that raising a baby is not so taxing and doesn't cause ageing faster. Anyhow, a happy and healthy woman who eats and lives well is surely a good reward for her baby too, isn't she?

My advice is just to know the limit and give ourself a break. We don't have to be joined at the hip with our baby all day long. When the situation gets overwhelming, it's not a sin to get somebody's help. Asking for/getting a help or splitting the baby sitting job with our partner doesn't make one an incompetent Mom, provided if he is willing to help and capable of baby sitting of course.

Thus, now that Naomi barrels towards her first birthday next month, I intend to slow down and order my busy life (blogging, part-time work and daily housework) and have a little more fun with Naomi.

I will spend more time becoming the 'old me' again and at the same time carefully noticing my baby grow each day. I will dedicate more time to relax, sit on the floor with Naomi playing with her shape sorter toy, doll or whatever and enjoy the little girl in front of me.

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