Here today with the final post in my friend Felicia's guest series, The Sitting Month.
As her first month with son Kai comes to a close and her sitting month is officially over she told me that it's been a hard month but writing these posts has been so therapeutic and she is looking forward to going back and reading these in the future. Read on for Felicia's top three learnings during her first month as a madre.
Week 4: My Personal Top 3 Learnings
Nothing marks the passing of time like a baby. I can’t believe how much Kai has grown and changed during the last month, and as I now welcome visitors, I also can’t believe how much I’ve grown and changed in the last month. I now “know” my baby – what kind of activities he likes, how best to put him down to sleep, and how I want to feed him. I’m cheating a little because I’m writing this towards the end of Week 5 with Kai, so I have the benefit of a little more hindsight in wrapping up my personal top 3 learnings during my first month as a mom.
1. BREASTFEEDING ISN'T JUST SOMETHING YOU DO, ITS A LIFESTYLE
I could not have been less prepared for how difficult breastfeeding is. I think I encountered almost every issue possible, and it has taught me patience like nothing else ever has as I’ve slowly worked on every single issue. I am mainly breastfeeding now but it is a challenge every day. I am resolved to do everything I can to breastfeed, but also am working on making peace and not being so hard on myself if it doesn’t work out the way I want it to.
2. TRY TO FOLLOW ONE SCHOOL OF PARENTING AS YOUR MAIN SOURCE OF ADVICE
I read somewhere that raising a child in the U.S. is like doing an independent research project. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it certainly raises the anxiety and worry of first-time parents. Whether it’s a blog, or Dr. Spock, or someone in your family, I’ve found it best to try to identify one school of parenting as your main place for advice and if something doesn’t work, you can definitely tailor approaches based on your child, but it does not help anyone to try to over-analyze every single part of how to be a parent.
3. THE UNCELEBRATED PARTS OF PARENTING IS WHAT MAKES A PARENT
I’ve realized that all the most visible and celebrated elements of parenting – cute photo shoots, decorating a nursery, buying a ton of baby gear and even giving birth – aren’t what make you a parent. The actual non-pretty, often invisible and never celebrated work – soothing a baby for hours at night, cleaning up projectile vomit, moisturizing your baby’s dry rashy face – is what makes a parent. I have so much respect for parents of all kinds, especially single parents. This shit is hard and mostly filled with moments that will never be appreciated, but you do it because you are a parent.
"Nothing marks the passing of time like a baby. I can’t believe how much Kai has grown and changed during the last month, and as I now welcome visitors, I also can’t believe how much I’ve grown and changed in the last month. I now “know” my baby..."
Finally, I’ve been a little emotional because my mom went home earlier this week. As luck would have it, she arrived in Brooklyn the day before I went into labor and has been around every day since. I’ve been, to put it mildly, not easy to deal with as I transition into being a mom myself, and she has been there for all of us every step of the way. So I wrap this series of becoming a mother by appreciating and thanking my mom for always leading the way by her kind, patient, and strong example.
Felicia, you have made it! I love reading that you "know your baby". He is beginning to know you and relies so much on you. That was such a heavy thing for me to acknowledge. The true reliance and need that this tiny thing has for you. You truly have to stop everything and cater to their demands and needs like no other. Plus, your three tips are gold for new moms. Number two and number three are relevant for me today too. Really good thoughts here. Please come back whenever you have more to share.