I survived my 1st year of parenting!

And just like that, it is now a day to our baby girl’s first birthday and I want to scream to the entire world “I survived my first year of being a mama!!”

I imagine myself drenched in sweat, weary from countless nights of interrupted sleep, dirt under my fingernails from all the poopy diapers I have changed, standing victoriously on a mountaintop. Yes I am on top of the first mountain in a whole range of mountains, but for now I want a pat on the back, an award for participation. A personal moment to say “girl, you did it!”.

This time last year, I was on one of several beds in the labour ward. Anyone who has any experience with Nigeria hospitals will imagine or know first hand the trepidation I felt. I had to constantly use exercise my faith so as not to be overcome with worry . All I knew was that as long as I had a natural birth, by the grace of God, I and my baby will be in good hands.

I was divinely favoured to have a relatively pleasant and easy labour and delivery story (no need to bore you with my tales of the inadequacies of the healthcare system here). With simple child-like faith, I believed for a relatively stress-free labour experience and I was beaming (like a child who opened their Christmas gift to find it was what she has asked for and doubted whether she will get it) when I found out I was 2cm dilated with pain-free contractions. There were some challenging moments as time when doctors insisted I go for a C-section but honestly the whole experience was divinely blessed with God’s grace.

Our child has been a blessing from the moment of conception, to labour and unbelievably easy pushing part of the delivery. I literally pushed and grunted and our baby slid out.

Within first few minutes of her birth, a song of praise burst forth from my lips. Mind you, the words was more or less whispered under my breath as I was exhausted and beyond famished. As they were stitching me up, I turned my head and watched in awe as they cleaned up this pale skinned, raven haired little human with olive oil.

The struggles and anticipation of the previous nine months and the grueling ordeal of labour were already fading into memory.

How do I condense all the struggles of a rookie mama into a paragraph? Or two? The journey of bonding with our precious baby was no walk in the park. It is assumed that because a baby grew inside of you for nine months, you will form a magical bond that will detect whether they are hungry, tired or need to go poopy.

In the first several months, the process of trying to figure out why your baby is fussing goes like this:

Changed her diaper, check. Nursed her like five minutes ago so she can’t be hungry. She just napped like 30 minutes ago. Probably she is feeling the heat? Is she feeling uncomfortable because of the immunization shots she took yesterday?

Oh I look back with fondness at how frazzled different stages of the past year made me. From mommy and baby struggling to latch properly, figuring how to nurse baby girl in public like it’s no big deal, to learning how to survive the crowded immunization clinic days. Dealing with immunization aftermath like fevers, swollen tenderness and fussiness. Teething periods. Introducing solids. Progressing through purees to semi solids to beaming in pride as baby girl ate a whole banana by herself.

Oh and the moments when as a parent I beamed with pride and urged our baby girl to perfect a milestone or new skill: holding things with her fingers, grasping, rolling over, pulling herself forward, crawling, pulling up, standing, cruising and so on.

Right now we are helping our daughter learn how to perfect her balance and walking. As parents we are always teaching and encouraging our children to improve or perfect new skills and talents but there are so many lessons our little ones teach us to. I recently did an article on lessons I have learned from observing baby girl learn to walk. (Read here)

I honestly don’t know what my second year as a parent will hold but that’s what makes being a first time parent be so much fun.

Please share stories about your experiences with me too! What was your most challenging and rewarding moment in the first years of your child’s life? Is it easier the second or third “child” around? ๐Ÿ™‚

24 thoughts on “I survived my 1st year of parenting!

    1. Thank you so much Andrea for your birthday wishes…and thank you for being my first WordPress friend and encourager to post. As each month went by after giving birth and i didnt post, I always remembered u and thinking you will probably be wondering where I disappeared to ๐Ÿ˜€ I had to jump back on my writing muse ASAP

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      1. Aww those darned pregnancy hormones? Hopefully the hormones are working wonders on your hair. I enjoyed such growth and fullness to mine during pregnancy that seems aaaages ago now haha

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      2. is the second pregnancy overall a better experience than the first? guess it wont be so disorienting to the body second time around right? oh baby girl is having the time of her life now she can walk. i called her my little gymnast from when she was couple months old and she is living up to her pet name. climbing anything within her reach. i start so many posts in my head though cant take my eyes off her long enough to get them out on phone. and when she is asleep, rushing to get other stuff done. honestly i dont know how parents with more than one kid do anything ๐Ÿ˜€ but things are getting better in terms of being able to multitask and stuff

        please let me know how u juggle a baby and a toddler. how old is your first baby?

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      3. My toddler is 18mth now and the baby girl comes in September so we’ll see then how I’ll cope๐Ÿ˜‰I imagine it’s be very tiring at the beginning with night feedings and my son demanding my attention during the day but we’ll survive surely like do many others

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      4. Yes! I love your positive attitude!! U go mama! I have been thinking how far I have come. In days of being a brand new mama I struggled to just take care of baby and myself. Also had grandma staying with us. But now am doing so much more than I could imagine all the while keeping up with an explorative newbie toddler

        Same way, I am sure you all will adjust beautifully. We just need to encourage ourselves and think of those veteran mamas who are even handling way more kids +career +school activities+ managing a home+ church activities hahaha

        We will get there soon girl! ๐Ÿ˜€

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  1. The first baby, and the first baby’s first year can be overwhelming! It takes a while for us moms to build our confidence and to truly recognize that we know what we are doing and that our children are just fine. I remember being so scared when we brought our first daughter home, but as time went by, I realized everything was going to be okay. Prayer helped for sure!
    And yes, the second child is easier, because you have the experience of raising the first child under your belt.

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      1. Oh, I know! You’ll be right there for her for the rest of her life, and that is a good thing. But also a little hard on the moms. Still, that’s what being a mom is all about…our children own our hearts, and we would gladly lay down our lives for them!

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      2. Yes I can imagine how me being right by her side or not far when she falls and hurt herself for me to rush her into my arms and comfort the tears…I will like to think that’s the type of mom I will be as she grows up and no.matter how old she gets ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Thanks so so much for the encouragement. Honestly I see the answered to prayers as she has taken tumbles off sofa and bed (the split second u take their eye off them
      …sigh) and landed without a scratch …unseen angels.

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  2. What a beautiful, raw, authentic outpouring of awe and relief…my son is 21 now and I feel at times like that first year was 100 years ago, or last week. I remember thinking that, as soon as I learned how to handle a phase competently, a new phase started, with its own new challenges. It took me about five years to realize that while that is the challenge of parenting, it is also the adventure. I’ve also discovered that the adventure isn’t over as they grow up, but your role in it is different. The whole journey is both joy and sweat, as you so beautifully portrayed in your post.

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