Dear Diary,

No one and nothing can ever prepare you for the rewards or the challenges of motherhood. Not a class, book, relative or friend.  Surely I didn’t expect to be completely prepared but given my background  as an Aunt, Godmother, teacher and Early Care and Learning Consultant (for goodness sake!), I thought I was coming into this new job with tons of experience. I thought wrong. Motherhood is fun, hard, lonely, magical, humbling and life-changing. It is everything I’ve read about and heard other mothers say, but it is also so much more. There is an inexplicable spiritual and emotional aspect of parenting that can only be understood first hand. Don’t get me wrong!

DFTM_New Mommy

Take the classes, read the books and learn all you can from your family and friends, but in the end be prepared to not be prepared.

That first month of motherhood broke me all the way down. From being separated from my baby while she stayed behind in the NICU to being deprived of sleep to watching her endure painful gas episodes, I was an emotional mess.

I don’t ever remember feeling so helpless and unsure as I did during my baby’s first month of life.

At one point, my husband came home to find both his baby and his baby (me) crying! After he cracked a joke about how the our daughter licked my salty tears, I looked down to find that she was smiling up at me as if to say, It’s OK, Mommy. I’m not as strong as I think but my baby’s love strengthens me. From then on, I began to notice how when Daddy and I fumbled our way through giving her her first bath or the time we could not for the life of us figure out how to get this one outfit off, she was surprisingly patient with us. Moments when our incompetence could have very easily triggered her to scream at the top of her lungs, she instead looked at us with pity, and let us know that it was OK to not have all the answers, and that we were all in this together.

My confidence as a mother began to grow, and whenever I  start to doubt myself, I remind myself that if she has faith in me then so should I.

Another thing I’ve learned is my first month as a mom is that I shouldn’t participate in mom-shaming. You know the battles we enter, especially online, that pit breastfeeders against formula users, spankings against time out chairs and disposables against cloth diapers. It’s easy to take a firm stance on these issues, especially when they are fueled in our society by political, religious and moral agendas. There’s nothing wrong with having your own personal views on what you think is best. Lord knows, I do and most who know me are well aware of my views.

Motherhood is a hard enough job without mothers making other mothers feel bad about the choices they make regarding their own children. If you are doing the best you can with what you have for your children, then you have my support.

Looking back, I can’t believe I learned more in one month than I have in one year pre-parenthood. Now, I’m just looking forward and excited abut the lessons my daughter will teach me about life, and maybe a few more things about myself.

Hey DFTM Fam–What did you learn your first month of motherhood?

About The Author

First Time Mom

Nae is married mom raising her newborn daughter in Silver Spring, MD. She writes about the joys and challenges of being a new mom and adjusting to parenthood. She loves being a mom, because after watching all of her family and friends become parents, it's finally her turn to experience life's most precious blessing. When not writing for DFTM, Nae works as a children and family services consultant for government, private and non-profit agencies and organizations. A newlywed and new mom, Nae also blogs at I Choose the Sun.

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