My son just turned 1 (and other horror stories)


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Ari (my son, in case you’re allergic to context clues) just turned 1 on October 17, and I’m rife with existential crises. Now, mind you, I used to have one of these every Tuesday (existential crises, not babies), so it’s not exactly a surprise. When I reflect upon the past year and think about what I would tell myself could I go back in time, a few things jump out at me. This may not be the experience of every mother, but it’s mine and it’s authentic, so any attempts to shame me for not being inclusive of ______ will just elicit redirections back to this sentence. (Lovingly, of course.)

Without further adieu, my retrospective love letter to my very pregnant self pre-birthing sesh:

  1. Your birthing plan is cute and important but so is adaptability. Almost nothing will go according to plan. Let go of the idea that one particular plan or method of delivery is better than the other. Do what is safest for YOU and BABY. That is all that matters. That’s what makes a mother. 

  2. BREASTFEEDING IS FOR LOSERS. Prepare to lose over, and over, and over again. He might not latch, you might not produce, it might not work. You will lose your sense of time, your sense of freedom, your romantic notions of being able to bond with your baby in a way that no one else physically can. IT’S OKAY. Ultimately you will unsubscribe from all the breastfeeding groups where women are like, “Omg what do I do with ALL THIS MILK?” and realize they are inadvertently as poisonous to you as the “Omg I feel so fat in this XS bikini because I used to be XXS” posts. That’s not your struggle. Find your people. Make the milk you can. Ari is going to get about 10-15 drops of breastmilk a day FOR A YEAR, MAMA. Each drop has ONE MILLION WHITE BLOOD CELLS. Formula will do the rest. Do what is healthiest for YOU and BABY. That is all that matters. That’s what makes a mother.

  3. Buy the clothes that makes you feel pretty now.

  4. If clothes don’t work, jewelry and shoes always will.

  5. Loving Ari will help you love yourself. How can you hate his chonky thighs when they’re YOUR chonky thighs? 

  6. The more you accept yourself and things as they are in the present moment, the more he will learn that from you. Finding your joy is how he learns how to find his. 

  7. To that end, don’t be a martyr for some “Mother of the year” award that doesn’t exist. MOTHERHOOD IS NOT MARTYRDOM. Go out with your husband. Have a cocktail with your girlfriends. Let the village watch over him sometimes. A happy woman is a healthy mom, and that’s what’s best for everyone. It’s also okay to WANT to go out!

  8. 99% of the things you worried about didn’t happen. 

  9. The things that did happen you did not see coming. #hellopandemic! Worry doesn’t prevent bad things from happening in the future, it only sucks the joy out of the present.

  10. It’s okay to be sad, irritated, and totally overwhelmed. It’s okay to have post partum depression. It’s okay to take an antidepressant. It’s okay to go to therapy. It’s okay to tell people you do these things. It’s okay not to.

  11. You won’t lose yourself or your goals. Have you met you?

  12. You can love every minute with Ari, and you can love every minute without him. 

  13. It will go by fast, but stop worrying about whether you’re cherishing every moment hard enough. Of course you are. Ari will be a million different people as he grows, and you get to be his mom for all of them. 

  14. ACCEPT ALL THE HELP THAT PEOPLE WILL OFFER and then pay for more if you need it. You don’t get any extra points for doing it the hard way! 

  15. “Did he poop today?” will at some point no longer count as meaningful communication with your spouse, but give yourself grace for the first 90 days at LEAST. 

  16. Lastly, some days you will feel like you did NOTHING and are still somehow exhausted. Is your son alive? Are you? Congratulations, you nailed it. Did you feed him? Bonus. Did you feed you? Bonus times a million. Did you take a shower? OVERACHIEVER! These are your standards.

THIS IS GONNA BE FUNSIES!

Good luck and Ganesh speed, pregnant Jaya!

Xoxo,

Mama Jaya

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