“Why do I only hear the negative things?” My friend asked me this as we power walked through the park — her, with her nine month baby belly, and me, with my toddler in the stroller. I immediately knew what she meant. “Just wait until they’re waking up every three hours…constantly on the move…getting their molars…throwing a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store”…and the list goes on and on. These are the things that new, expecting, and even somewhat seasoned moms hear everyday.
I get it. The anticipation of motherhood, and then the first year of raising a human is hard. The last thing that we want to hear during these times are the “just wait” statements. And at the same time, I’m sure I’m guilty of adding to the negativity every once in a while. When the sleep deprivation sets in and motherhood feels very foreign, it’s easy to mindlessly vent to friends or Facebook, hoping to gain some sympathy.
Now that I’m on the other side of the infant stage, I can promise my friend that many parts of motherhood are so, so good. In my first go-around, I didn’t feel like a “newborn person.” Motherhood didn’t feel as natural as I thought it would, and my anxiety was out of control. But, as my daughter’s personality bloomed and I became more comfortable with this big life change, things continued to get better. They still are.
…for your baby’s first smile, and then her first laugh.
… for the first time your baby rolls over, crawls, or run towards you with open arms.
…for the first time your baby says “mama,” or squeals with excitement as you walk in the door.
…for the first time your baby tries table food, and then proceeds to spit out the table food (you’ll still think it’s the cutest thing ever).
…for the first time your baby gives you a kiss, or a hug.
…for the first time your baby picks up a book and “reads” it.
…for the first time your baby smiles kindly at a stranger, or waves “hello” to a random passerby.
…for the first time your baby shows her sense of humor, by laughing at something silly or initiating a game.
… for the first time your baby learns a new word, or a dance, or an activity.
I’m only 14 months in, but I know that the list will grow with each passing day.
My friend has since had her baby, and now I’d tell her — your baby will do many things and meet many milestones, and every time that they do, you will continue to think that it is, and that they are, the best thing ever.