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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.