one year of motherhood

bottles

It was one year ago tonight that I got into bed and felt the first contractions.  I laid there for an hour, timing them and wondering if it was really it, because they didn’t hurt as terribly as I expected.  I woke Gerrit up and we watched Late Night with Seth Myers (which we never watch because we are never up that late) and said that if I was still having contractions when it was over, we would go to the hospital.

Evelyn was born the next evening, and we were thrown in to the whirlwind that is new parenting.  And here we are.  One year later.

So many things about this year have been exactly what I expected.  Joy and frustrations.  Being tired and feeling frazzled.  Learning what we are doing, and being amazed at the things our daughter does.

But there were so many things I didn’t expect, too.

I didn’t expect that nursing would be so difficult, and once I was trudging through the difficulties of it, that it would become so easy.
I didn’t expect in the weeks after Evelyn was born that the baby blues would hit me in a rush every afternoon at 4:00 so strongly that I could barely function, and that as soon as I started to worry about them sticking around too long, they would disappear like they were never there in the first place.
I didn’t expect to cry so many tears over Evelyn not sleeping at night, and for her to clear it up on her own.
I didn’t expect to cry so many tears over Evelyn’s horrific napping, and to have to work so hard for weeks and weeks with her to finally get her to lay down and go to sleep on her own during the day.
I didn’t expect to feel so strongly about some of the parenting decisions we were making, and then the next day to feel nothing but doubt about it.
I didn’t expect to feel so emotionally vulnerable all the time, to tell Gerrit we needed a security system, and to look at bad things happening to other people and think “What must their mothers be feeling right now?”
I didn’t expect that Evelyn simply laughing or crawling or taking her first few steps could bring me the most pure joy I have ever known, so strong that it brings tears to my eyes.

And I didn’t expect that I, who have never considered myself a baby person and am so looking forward to Evelyn’s toddler and preschool years because that is the age I understand so much better, would be so emotional this week about her turning one and not being a baby anymore.

But she is definitely not a baby anymore.  She is so close to walking and she is devouring food.  She is pointing at things and finding her bellybutton and nose when we ask where they are.  She is growing and learning everyday, and it is amazing to see and so much fun, and I did expect that.

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