It’s amazing how much growing you can do in such a short amount of time. And I speak for myself as much as I do Otto’s physical state!! Here are a few nuggets of my novice wisdom that I have learned these past 12 weeks…
1. It Doesn’t Last Forever
This statement is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you want the sweet baby snuggles, the tiny little body, and the deep sleep marathons to last forever. But they don’t. And on the other hand, it feels like the sleepless nights, the bouts of fussiness, and the trouble with feeding or napping will last forever. But it doesn’t. While you’re in it, it feels like this is probably how the rest of your life will be. But it won’t. Because then they learn to smile, or roll over, or shake a rattle, and your heart bursts. But even those things don’t last forever… because in a few weeks, you have moved onto bigger and better things… like a full-belly giggle and hours of fun on the play mat.
In order to keep my perspective clear, I have had to remember this time and time again– on both ends. It enables me to have patience during the tough stretches yet cherish the sweet moments, because it’s all over so quickly before it changes again.
2. Motherhood Exposes Your Raw Self
Not that I thought it was going to be easy. But it’s kind of a lot of work. And when people told me, “This is going to change your life,” they were 1000% correct. It has changed my life in every possible way.
This journey, beginning the minute I saw the stick say, “Pregnant,” has stretched me. It has grown me and has exposed a lot of my dark, selfish areas. But it has also given me one of the greatest joys of my life. Aside from marriage, which allowed me to find someone to love for the rest of my life, this is a beautiful extension of that… it gives US someone to love for the rest of our lives, and we do that together. It’s an amazing gift.
3. Never Ever Forget
Because it all comes and goes so quickly, and every moment causes you to be “present,” I can sometimes trick myself into thinking, “Oh, I’ll always remember THIS. The way he smiled. His crazy hair. The way I felt. How tall he was at 2 months.” But I don’t… UNLESS I somehow record it.
All throughout my pregnancy, I kept a journal about how I felt each month. I was just revisiting it to work on Otto’s Baby Book, and in reading through it, it’s amazing how much I forgot. In the throes of it, it felt all-consuming. And that is how parenthood feels. So writing it down gives me a way to look back and remember. It’s also just a great record.
I also keep a Word document on my computer of Otto– it includes the details of his birth story, the stats at his monthly check-ups, and the many milestones and behavioral changes he goes through.
And, of course, my favorite of all is taking pictures. I LOVE looking back on how people change and grow, and the events that surround our lives along the way. For me, it’s almost like therapy to revisit those memories. Pairing this with written document is even better, because it almost feels like I can preserve little pieces of my past. Each year, I do this in the form of making a photo book. It is becoming even more precious now that I have a baby!
So, never ever forget. And do whatever it takes to make sure you won’t!