The first year is one of the most exciting yet challenging years – especially with your first. Now how do you get through some of those tough days – the days your baby just won’t stop crying, the teething days, or even the sick days (which we battled today)?
Jace was born in September 2016 and becoming a Mommy – his Mommy – was the most rewarding experience I could ever imagine. Every milestone he hit and continues to hit makes me beyond proud – no matter if it is just pronouncing “apple” correctly. However, since Jace was born in September the first few months – which can be a couple of the toughest months – were of course among the winter season. Of course the winter I was on maternity leave was one of the worst winters we have had in a very long time. It felt like the snow just kept coming and would. not. stop! I personally have no problem driving in the snow but I didn’t feel comfortable driving with my new born in the car with the potential for something to happen; therefore, we spent a lot of time in the house those first couple months.
Now what a lot of people don’t know – even a lot of the people closest to me – is that for the first four-ish months after having Jace I struggled with baby blues that were on the verge of being post partum depression. This made it very difficult being cooped up in the house all day. My biggest advice to anyone that may be in this situation is reach out. I personally reached out to my support system and from there I spoke with my doctor. At first I felt like it was something I was doing and that it was my fault when I would be depressed (there were good days and there were some bad days) but after actually reaching out to my doctor, it turned out there were a lot of ways he helped me manage and beat that depression. One of the ways was switching my birth control pills to level my hormones – when you go through having a baby for the first time your hormones are all abnormal and everyone’s body will handle this differently, leveling out those hormones really helps. My doctor also encouraged me to get out of the house at least once daily – whether this was to the bank, to the grocery store, etc. – this really helped as I felt I was doing something to contribute to our family since I was no longer working. A huge change though for me was an exercise routine and I swear this is what beat my depression to the ground.
I was always fairly petite growing up and when I was pregnant I loved having my belly because it showed me Jace was growing and was doing good in there, but when Jace was born I didn’t feel like myself at all and I struggled hugely with my personal image. My doctor had encouraged me to work in an exercise routine to help with my depression and that is just what I did. I started an exercise program where I would work out 45minutes daily for six days a week with one rest day in between. I did this for approximately 3 months straight and by the end of that three months I had lost almost all of my baby weight, and in turn my depression got kicked to the curb.
Two huge things I wish I knew when I had Jace was – take time for you and have, and use, a support system! For me, my “me time” was my work out time. It helped knowing that if I needed time to unwind after a rough day I was going to have that 45minutes either at his nap time or when he goes to bed to work out and focus on making a better me. You need to make sure you are good, healthy, and happy in order to keep your family good, healthy, and happy. Also, as I mentioned before – having a support system is huge. For us, our family and close friends were our support system and I couldn’t thank them enough for all their continued support for not only Robert and I but also being there through thick and thin for Jace as well.
During the first year another struggle is getting used to a new routine and what works for baby and the family. I exclusively breastfed Jace for the first seven months and then had to stop due to a surgery I was scheduled for. Since I breastfed that meant I, obviously, did all the feeds but Robert is one of those Dad’s who wants to be involved and help out so when Jace needed to be changed in the middle of the night (which was generally about 2 times) he would change him and I did all the feeds. I am so thankful to have such a supportive soon-to-be husband and he is such an incredible Daddy to Mr. Jace. Again though, support system – Robert is a HUGE part of my support system. This is just a small part of the routines we established but a great example of a routine while also using your support system. Another routine we established right from the beginning is our bed time routine for Jace, which was all in my last blog post, and is seriously still a lifesaver to us.
There were also a few of the baby necessities that really helped make my life easier being on maternity leave. One that I used daily (or hourly – no joke!) was our Ingenuity Bouncer Seat (similar to the one shown here). I used the bouncer seat to put Jace in when I went to the bathroom, when I had a shower, when I cooked dinner, when I literally needed to do anything where I would not be able to hold him but wanted him close. When Jace got a bit older and was not able to use his bouncer chair anymore we reverted to his Ingenuity 3-in-1 Highchair which we also got some highchair suction toys for which would keep him busy when ever I was cooking breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Putting him in his highchair before we actually started feeding him real food was one of the best things we did because he literally has never had an issue sitting in a highchair as he knows that is where he gets to eat his food – and he loves food.
The first year is such an exciting year with so much to take in and honestly it goes by way to fast! I still look at Jace daily and think how is it even possible to grow and develop as quick as he is growing and developing – it literally blows my mind. Mama’s who are in this stage right now – enjoy every second of it because you will miss it all in a matter of months!
I am really loving the feedback from people and the messages received so far – please keep the emails and messages coming to introduce yourself or even let me know what you would love me to blog about! Comment, send me a message through the “contact me” page, or check out my Instagram “adventuresofthegroots” and personal message me there. I want to network with you Mama’s so don’t be shy 🙂
Well… I am off to enjoy a little Netflix, tea, and bed because I am wiped after taking care of a sick little dude today while also not feeling so hot myself! Make sure you stay tuned for some more struggles, chaos & fun from this Mediocre Mommy! ❤