I've thought about writing this post for just about as long as I've been a mom. Even from the start, I was so eager for the changes ahead and all that I would learn from being Beau's mom. Here goes it! I tried to be as transparent as possible, so I hope it encourages you! XO
I also reflected on four months of motherhood, here.
3. Our days are numbered by God, and we are specifically created by Him. This is a tough one. It may not be for you.. but our journey to parenthood did not go how I planned. I wouldn't have chosen to have a miscarriage right before my pregnancy with Beau. I wouldn't have planned for him to be born with lots of questions about his health or for a two week NICU stay or for him to have "disfigured" thumbs. It's a lot less frequently brought up than in the newness of Beau's life, but sometimes answering questions about things or feeling like I had to justify different things kicked the life out of me. In all honesty, I did it to myself a lot of the time. I still feel like I have to justify not nursing to people although I'm fully confident in my decision and know my child was well nourished. I can't tell you how many times I've gone through "well we had a traumatic time with an intense lactation consultant and Beau's stats dropping quickly while trying to nurse and I was scarred for life and then he had a feeding tube and then I was pumping but we were going to Europe and I didn't want to pump all around Europe for two and a half weeks and so...." BLAH. I need/needed to stop feeling like I have to explain myself. I'm so much more confident in God's plans for my life, and Beau's life, than ever before. Because if things had gone how I had planned, I wouldn't have this precious boy. Sometime in the fall/winter Beau's thumbs will be surgically corrected and although I greatly look forward to the day that he can easily use a pincer grip, I will cry hysterically the last time I see those sweet little thumbs the way that God created them in my womb. Okay, now I'm crying. A lot. So I'll stop here, but being Beau's mama has deepened my faith in ways I didn't know were possible, and I'm unapologetic about the fact that all children and journeys are not alike. Well, I'm working on that last part... but we'll get there. ;)
4. I don't know if this is true for other moms, but I feel like there's always one item I could never have enough of with me, and constantly felt like I was forgetting. For me, this was burp rags. Next time around, I will keep a stack in my glove box. No joke.
5. I never thought I would be someone who struggled with "self care" because I defined it as showering and personal grooming. I remember reading about moms who struggled with self care and thinking that that would be something I'd skip. Now that Beau is a year old, I know that self care is MUCH more than showering. It's the things you do for yourself that fall through the cracks when life gets busy. It's the things that sustain your joy and energy. For me, that's time reading the bible and in prayer, and working out. As I look back on my one year of being a mama, I can clearly connect the times when I've felt discouraged with seasons I've stepped back from time with the Lord, and time staying active. I know now what a priority I need to make these things. I'm still convinced that if I woke up at 5am daily my life would be 100% more balanced and wonderful, but I have yet to want to give up that extra sleep. Goal for year two? Haha! I'm also still working on remembering that just because Beau is the thing I enjoy most, I still need to make time for other things that I enjoy. Listening to interior design podcasts has been a way I'm working on that. I love home design and I want to allow space for that love in motherhood.
6. I'm so stinking glad that we took Beau abroad at two months old. I've said this before but people literally made fun of us for this and were downright mean about it. But that trip holds some of the sweetest memories of my whole life and I'm so glad we did it. I know that traveling with kids will only get more complicated, but everyone who's gone down that path before us says it's worth it, so I'm going to believe that and keep exploring with our boy. Our situation is unique because it's driven by the desire for Beau to know family members who are abroad, we're not just exotic folks with big budgets, but I'm so grateful for our story and for the travel that we've been able to experience. On that same note, now that we have Beau 10 times out of 10 I'd rather have him on a trip with us. 100%. But I'm so grateful for the timing that allowed Ben and I to take our dream trip to Italy right before we became parents. Italy was always #1 on my bucket list, and although we've already taken Beau and dream of future Italian getaways with kids of different ages (elementary age Cinque Terre is HIGH on my bucket list!) we could never experience Italy the way we did then, now. That trip was our last hoorah and I'm so glad we did it, because with Beau behind, we could never experience it like we did then, and with Beau with us, we wouldn't have experienced some things in the same way.
7. There is nothing more fun than sharing your child. I love Beau and want to snuggle constantly, but it's been a real sweet thing over the past year to see him fall asleep on the shoulders of friends and family.. for him to greet people with sugars. Beau has never met a stranger and I love this about his personality, because it's such a direct reflection of our heart in parenting.
8. I'm so proud of every little thing our boy does. Every time we pick him up from the church nursery and get a good report I tell everyone I know. Not kidding. I need to reign it in REAL quick so that we can teach our boy about humility (ha!!) but he's always going to lay his head on his little pillow knowing that his mama and daddy are his biggest cheerleaders.
9. Watching your child grow up is the true definition of bittersweet. Every month gets more fun but there's still a part of it that just hurts knowing you'll never see that squishy baby again.
10. There will always be people around to discourage you in your motherhood journey. Some people just make yucky comments or question what you're doing and they are just not gonna not.. but I don't have to let that affect my life or attitude.
12. I know it's said time and time again, but you just can't fathom the love you'll have for your child until you meet them. I can't read a birth or adoption story without crying now, because I know of that great joy. It's completely indescribable. I loved Beau when I was pregnant with him, but there's nothing like seeing that little face for the first time. It's funny the memories that stand out to you, but when I was in labor my friend Tiffany texted me a sweet text and one thing she mentioned was that I was about to get to kiss all over Beau and his sweet little lips. I remember thinking, hmm.. I don't know that I'll want to kiss his lips. Fast forward to Ben literally forbidding me from giving more kisses all over Beau's face multiple times. That little face will just be the sweetest and need all the sugars. The love is something you truly cannot fathom.