Five Things I Wish I Would Have Done Differently During My First Year Of Motherhood

December 23, 2015

My darling boy turns one in two weeks. To say that I am not thinking about this milestone every moment of every day is an understatement. How is it possible that a year could go by so quickly? I honestly think someone is playing a trick on me! Just yesterday, Joaquín could fit into the palm of my hand and now he is already in 24 month old clothing. Everyone warned me the first year of his life would go by fast, but I never thought it would go by this fast.

Christmas 2015

Because I am starting to feel more like myself and confident in my new role as a mom, it has me thinking a lot. Mostly about regrets; things I wish I could change if given a second chance. I try to live my life without regrets, yet here I am full of them. I am sharing these personal thoughts in hope that maybe it might help other mothers not have any of these regrets either. The following are five things I wish I would have done differently during my first year of motherhood:

Worrying About Everything

I am sorry for all of the time that I wasted worrying about everything and I mean everything. Being Joaquín’s mom feels like the easiest job in the world in the sense that I instinctively know what he needs — as if he were an extension of my body. However, immediately after he was born I spent the majority of every day and every night worrying, which definitely led to my postpartum anxiety and depression. I wish with all of my heart that I could get those wasted moments back, because with time I see that my worrying was simply due to loving him so much and wanting everything to be perfect. Perfect is impossible and I should have just taken comfort in the fact that I was doing the best that I could and that was good enough.

Christmas 2015

Hating My Body

I am sorry that I spent a year being disgusted with my new body. There were too many days that I closed my eyes when I walked past a mirror and too many days I overanalyzed how many pounds I still needed to lose. What kind of message is that sending to my son? I know he thinks I am the most beautiful woman in the world and yet my actions tell him otherwise. I want him to be a man who loves women because they are both amazing on the inside and out. I should be celebrating my incredible body for carrying him for 9 months, for surviving pre-eclampsia and an emergency c-section, and for having the strength to take care of him while I was healing (even though all I wanted to do was fall apart). From now on, I promise you Joaquín that I will appreciate my body, because my body gave me you.

Christmas 2015

Feeling Terrible For Not Breastfeeding

I am sorry for not being able to breastfeed. I learned in Graduate School how important it is to nurse your children and I wanted to be able to do that for my son. I tried. I tried so hard. And then I gave up. I could only fight so many battles at once. Guess what though? Joaquín was a preemie and not breastfed, except he is so much stronger, mature, and intelligent than most his age. To all of those moms who say that a true bond between a mother and her child is formed through breastfeeding, well I wish you could see the way my son gives me kisses all day long. How he plays with my hair when he is falling asleep. How his eyes sparkle with joy when I walk into a room. I now know that bonds are created through love and that babies can be nourished in more ways than one, period.

Christmas 2015

Wishing For A Girl

I am sorry that I wished for even a second that I was having a girl. I am embarrassed to admit this, but I cried for two days straight after I found out that I was having a boy. I literally cannot imagine Joaquín not being a boy, nor would I trade him for any girl in the world. He truly is my prince and ruler of my heart. I adore having a boy so much, that sometimes I dream of only having boys. Life gives you what you need, not necessarily what you want.

Christmas 2015

Not Doing Anything For Myself

I am sorry that I quickly got myself into a vicious cycle after my son was born of not doing anything for myself. If I dared to get my hair cut or have coffee with a girlfriend, I would spend the entire time feeling immense guilt that I was not with Joaquín or not working. As a Chinese Medicine Doctor, I am constantly telling my patients how important it is to put themselves first and to do things that nourish their soul outside of family and work. Again, not doing anything for myself coupled with the constant worrying was a recipe for postpartum anxiety and depression. This is definitely still a work in progress for me and I am going to make more of an effort in 2016. In fact, I am going to make it my New Year’s resolution in order to hold myself accountable!

Christmas 2015

If you are a mom reading this, would you have done anything differently? If so, let me know with a comment!

Happy Holidays from my family to yours! May the sweet magic of the season gladden your hearts and fill every desire and may there finally be peace on earth.

18 thoughts on “Five Things I Wish I Would Have Done Differently During My First Year Of Motherhood

  1. Jenna

    🙂 I can relate to so much of this because I had a lot of regrets after Noah got older and I realized how many things I should have done differently. I definitely worked out some of those things with the second one! But don’t be hard on yourself–breastfeeding is tough stuff, recovering from a c-section is no joke, and pregnancy is not easy, either! I think every mother has regrets, which is a reflection of how important and precious her children are to her. It sounds like you have found some strong, positive perspective. Thank you for sharing your experience!

    Reply
    1. Andi Perullo de Ledesma Post author

      Thank you sweetheart and you’re welcome! I definitely have a strong, positive perspective now that I have been able to work through my PPD and PPA. At the end of the day the regrets are just because we love our children so very, very much! My new motto is: I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection. 🙂

      Reply
      1. Jenna

        Ooh, I like that: a standard of grace, not perfection. Nobody would want us to hold ourselves to a standard of perfection, so why should we?
        Happy holidays to you and your family, Andi. xo

        Reply
  2. Cata

    My dear friend: You are a great mom. Don’t feel bad for the things that you could do different. You are doing the best for your baby!!! It took me about 2 years to feel ok about having “me” time. Now I love it because it makes me want to be home even more!! I can’t wait to see you next week and give you a big hug! PS: I was emotional when Emma was turning one. It went away after we sang happy birthday and she danced to it. Kids have a way to make us happy with the simplest things.

    Reply
    1. Andi Perullo de Ledesma Post author

      Thank you sweetie! You have definitely been a huge support this last year!!! I know I’m a great mom, just wish I would have had the hindsight to do things differently and it makes me sad that there is no way to get those wasted moments back. Oh well, that’s why I have to have a 2nd baby, so that I do things right this time around hahaha! 😉 I’m looking forward to the day that I can “do me” and not feel guilty. One day! See you next week my love! Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo!!!

      Reply
  3. Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate

    I love this, Andi! So honest, so sweet.

    Funny enough, while you know I don’t plan to have kids, I always feared if I did, I’d have a boy and then I would be heartbroken. So interesting to hear that you felt the same and now have the reverse feeling entirely!

    And I hate that society makes you feel as if you HAVE to breastfeed. I have so many close friends and even my cousin who simply couldn’t for medical reasons, and I think that whole “you’re only close to your baby if you nurse him/her” is complete BS. At the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for you and the baby and no one else! And I totally endorse that doing things for yourself mantra for 2016.

    P.S. Jade has a post up this week that’s very similar. I think a lot of it would resonate with you!

    Reply
    1. Andi Perullo de Ledesma Post author

      Thank you so much for your comment, it made my day! All I ever dreamed about was a girl. But now like I said, I wouldn’t trade him for any girl. There really is something special about the mom-son bond that everyone talks about. You can’t really put it into words. Thank you X a million re: what you said about breastfeeding. If I hear “breast is best” one more time… I wasn’t breastfed, my Mom wasn’t breastfed and we both turned out pretty darn good! So, thankfully I’ve totally made peace with that regret. I’m off to check out Jade’s post now!

      Reply
  4. Amanda

    I love this post, Andi! I think you are amazing for being so honest about your experience of motherhood, because its definitely isn’t always perfect at all times! Not even close! I have experienced many of the same things this past year as a new mom (my daughter is 16 months)…. post partum anxiety, guilt over not working enough or feeling like I’m not doing enough for my child all at the same time. Hardly ever taking the time to do anything for myself. Feeling like I look old and exhausted at all times! It just good to know that I am not alone in this, sometimes the other mothers make it look much easier! Let’s resolve to be nice to ourselves in 2016!

    Have a beautiful holiday with your gorgeous son!

    Reply
    1. Andi Perullo de Ledesma Post author

      So lovely to hear from someone who inspired me so much in my younger years!!! Thankfully, I think more and more people are talking about the reality of motherhood. Especially the reality of moms who work. It is the hardest yet most rewarding job in the world!!! I wish I could have done some things differently as mentioned, but I know this last year I’ve done the very best I could and for that I am proud of myself. I should have put that last sentence in my post! Much love to you and your family this holiday season.

      Reply
  5. Emily in Chile

    Obviously I’m sorry you had to go through so many of these things, but I’m glad that you’ve realized what’s important and are getting to enjoy your time – with Joaquin and for yourself! – more now that you’ve let go of a lot of these stresses. Just make sure you don’t let regretting lost time become another regret of its own 🙂 I can’t believe it’s almost been a year either. With everything you went through between pregnancy, delivery and PPD, I’m so happy that you’re healthy with your adorable son now. I hope you guys have a great time as a family for his first Christmas!

    Reply
    1. Andi Perullo de Ledesma Post author

      Don’t worry I am DONE regretting! 2016 is going to be a year of happiness for me!!! No looking back, just looking forward. 2015 was tough, but it also brought me the best gift I could have ever asked for: Joaquín. For that, 2015 will always be the best year of my life. 🙂

      Miss you so much!!! Wish you lived closer. I hope you and R have the best Christmas and New Year’s. We love you guys!!!

      Reply
  6. Krista

    Oh dear woman, these are beautiful, and so are you. XOXO I love the things you’ve learned this year, and that you’re so much stronger, wiser, healthier, and kinder to your dear self because of it. XO

    Reply
  7. Vanessa

    Dearest Andi,
    I’m not a mom yet, but I learned so much reading this post!! I was expecting something specific about how to do or not do things, sleeping routines or feeding patterns or whatever… what you wrote is so much deeper and more important. I am so glad you learned too. I’m nervous about having a boy (somewhere in the future), and your post totally reassured me!!
    Thank you again for being so beautifully honest!! Joaquin is an immensely lucky little guy!!
    Love,
    Vanessa

    Reply
    1. Andi Perullo de Ledesma Post author

      Oh I’m so glad you learned something from my post! That’s exactly why I wrote it. I don’t want others making the same mistakes I did if possible. Trust me, if you have a boy it will be the best blessing in the world. Having said that, I would love to experience motherhood with a girl as well, but my gosh is there a special bond between a boy and his mom. I honestly cannot put it into words. Thank you so much for your encouraging words of support. I love you so much and I hope that you get to meet baby J in 2016!!! Happy New Year my darling girl!

      Reply

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