My little girl is nearly one. It breaks my heart, it really does. I am so proud of my giggly, independent little lady. I love spending the day with her, watching her try and figure things out, or just see her giggle at something random that happens in her day – what a sense of humour she has! I can’t believe how fast the time has gone! I do think it’s worth acknowledging the “great” achievements that come with being a parent for the first year.

I’m still married

Yup, possibly the biggest achievement in a year of sleep deprivation and mood swings, spending hours negotiating dirty nappies, baths, feeding, sleeping … if it weren’t for coffee I believe we might have killed each other. Add to that mix a little lady who will play us off each other (no, tonight I won’t settle for Mummy, Daddy must rock me for an hour before I will sleep!) and you have quite the volatile concoction. I laugh in the face of anyone who even suggests children can “save” a relationship!

I breastfed for a whole year!

I don’t really care if people breastfeed or formula feed. I think it’s a woman’s body, and their right to choose (no, it’s not one of those debates right now). That said, I found breastfeeding tough, incredibly tough. I didn’t have it as hard as some, but it wasn’t easy. Missy wouldn’t latch, when she did she would fall sleep, and then there was the pumping after every feed just so that I could bottle feed my sleeping child when she wouldn’t take the breast. It was a nightmare. Yet, I made it. Twelve months is approaching, my daughter doesn’t even know what a bottle is anymore, and cow’s milk is on the horizon (I may be proud of the breastfeeding, but I’m also looking forward to getting my body back!). Bliss.

Related: I donated my breast milk

I showered (almost) every day

I think I missed two showers in the last year. No mean feat. Sometimes baby would lie on a playmat in the bathroom while I showered, sometimes Daddy would watch her, sometimes I wouldn’t have a shower until the evening, other times I would race out of the shower with soap streaming down my face to pick up an unexpected waking baby. Nevertheless, I did it. Only a stay-at-home parent can appreciate just how big an achievement that is!

I did not drop the baby

I was constantly scared of dropping the baby. Everywhere I went there was danger. When I was walking her in the pram I had to be careful the pram didn’t careen onto the road and get run over, I had to make sure I didn’t lose control when I was near a lake, plunging the pram into a flock of ducks. When I rocked her, I had to make sure her head didn’t hit anything. When she sat on the bed, I had to build a fort of pillows that would baffle even Houdini. In short, danger was everywhere and I was constantly terrified of hurting my baby. I didn’t. She’s fine. She survived and so did I.

I learnt how to be completely selfless

It’s weird, something happened when little miss was born. I forgot to care about myself. I forgot to care about my husband as much (hmmm … see point one). I (sometimes) forgot to eat. I forgot the need to pee when she needed anything at all – even just a cuddle. I forgot about anything but her. In the last year I have learnt how to exist with this feeling of being completely beholden (aka besotted) to a single person. I have learnt how to ignore the tug of the heartstrings whenever I leave my daughter, I have learnt how to have a conversation without (always) talking about her, I’ve learnt how to be me and be a mother. I have also learnt that I can be completely selfless – something nobody would’ve accused me of pre-baby.  I can now spend hours thinking about my daughter’s needs before I think about mine. In fact, I think this is what “baby brain” is, it’s simply the complete inability to think about anything other than the needs of your child. It’s not easy, but it’s also kind of wonderful and enlightening.

… And my final thought is just one word. Wine. Wine helps.

Next: How I feel about returning to work

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