One year ago today, on September 26, I gave birth to my daughter. The weather was the same as it is today, grey, cold and misty. Every other September leading up to 2016 I was either going to school, flying overseas to travel or sitting at a desk and working a 9-5, but no single event has changed my life more than that one moment, at 3:45 pm, when my little girl came into the world.
As much as I am honoring her today, I’m also celebrating myself. I made it! Through the most challenging, emotionally intoxicating, hormonally wild, physically demanding, exhausting and exhilarating year of my life thus far, I did it.
I thought I would be crying a lot today, feeling deeply emotional about my baby growing up, but instead I’m holding my head tall and proud. I did it and I did it well. And to celebrate that, here are twenty-six things that I’ve learned about life, motherhood and myself within the first year.
what i learned during the first year of motherhood
1. Honor your body and respect it. Always. It grew a human, birthed a human and has been feeding her copious amounts of breastmilk for the past year. Honor this miracle.
2. Your child is your equal. View her as a person, not just a baby, and treat her with respect, dignity and love. She is wiser than you ever imagined her to be.
3. Speak to her, listen to her and learn with her. She has just as much to teach you as you have to teach her.
4. There’s no ‘one way’ or ‘right way’ to do anything. Your way is the best way.
5. Surround yourself with people who love you and uplift you.
6. Tune out negativity and criticism.
7. Don’t spend a single second worrying about what other people think about you. It’s wasted time and energy.
8. You are confident, you are creative, you are brave and you are strong.
9. I repeat, you are strong. You can overcome so much more than you ever thought you could.
10. Asking for and accepting help is a sign of strength, know when to call on your village and allow them to step in.
11. Listen to other mothers but listen to your heart the most. You know what to do.
12. Don’t compare yourself to other mothers or your baby to other babies, it’s wasted energy and causes unnecessary anxiety.
13. Your bond with your child is wiser than books, it’s smarter than blogs and by tuning into her needs and responding to them, you’ll always be doing the right thing.
14. You don’t need as much sleep as you once thought you did.
15. Unprocessed, plant-based food gives you life and energy so eat well, but leave room for treats. Life is too lovely to be rigid.
16. Be patient and present. Everything passes.
17. Becoming a mother has gifted you with a state of content that you never knew you had. You were born to do this.
18. Even though you are busier now than you’ve ever been before, you have time to do everything you want to do. Choose how you spend each second wisely.
19. When your child is awake, put down your phone. When she’s asleep, go ahead and pick it back up again.
20. She mirrors your emotions and your actions. Breathe deeply and remain calm.
21. Go outside! Nature is a playground and toys, sticks, leaves and rocks make the very best toys.
22. Move at a pace that feels right for you and her, with everything. You know what you’re doing and she’ll tell you when she’s ready for a new challenge.
23. Showing love and empathy does not and will not create bad habits. Comfort nurse and cuddle as much as she needs it.
24. It’s impossible to spoil a child with love.
25. Give her kisses to help her grow.
26. She chose you and you belong together.
I love you!
ASHLEY WOOD is a recipe developer and writer from Winnipeg, Canada. With a passion for health, wellness and vegetables, Ashley creates simple and inexpensive vegan recipes made from whole ingredients that are often seasonal, sometimes gluten-free and occasionally raw. Ashley believe in celebrating the benefits of living a vegan lifestyle and at the very least, hopes to inspire others to eat more plants, smile and live with some Sunshine.