I have been a parent for a year now. I have survived the first year of parenthood. Unbelievable? Yes. Unbelievably tough? Oh yes. But even so, unbelievably incredibly wonderful? You bet!
In some senses, the warm sensation of giving birth is still coursing through every part of my being. But in a lot of other ways, we have come a long way since then. We have survived the first year of parenthood with minimum casualties, even if a little inelegantly at times. The sleepless nights were tough. The breastfeeding struggles, the colic crying sessions were tough. So were the teething pains, the colds, the fussy eating episodes, the missed nap days, the cranky spells, the sleep training sessions etc. Sometimes, it seemed like a never-ending cycle of fussing, crying, and rocking. Or of whining and resenting. Many times, it seemed unlivable. A lot of tears were shed, a lot of battles were fought to go from sunrise to sundown (or more accurately, from baby-up to baby-down). We were rudely thrust out of our comfort zones. Our relationships suffered. We were stressed, always on the edge, and constantly bickering (mostly hushed bickering because Lord knows, waking the baby up would only compound our problems). But through it all, throughout the hard days and dark nights, the proverbial silver lining shone bright in the form of Gini, the light of our lives.
Now that the first 365 days have been lived through, it seems incredible how much we have grown in a relatively short span of time. How much more we are willing to give to our baby and to each other, how much patience we are willing to dispense, how much compassion we are willing to practice. When people tell you surviving the first year of parenting is not going to be easy, they are telling you the truth. But when they tell you it’s going to be worth it, they are telling you the gospel truth. Truer words were seldom spoken. It is so worth it, I can’t even begin to tell you. As hard and far from the truth as it might sound, every drop of posset, every blowout poop, every morsel of wasted purée, every glass of wine passed over, every inch of saggy skin, every GB of data spent browsing the Internet for solutions, every little battle scar of the first year of parenthood is truly worth it!
PS: Over the course of my short parenting life, I have heard the saying “every sacrifice will bear fruit” a number of times already. I know it’s spoken with love. I know I know it means well. But I have a problem with it. With the fact that struggles are called sacrifices because it sets our kids up for a lot of pressure to live up to those sacrifices and pressure-parenting is not something I wish to do. I can only speak for myself but I truly mean it when I say this, I may have struggled a lot but I haven’t sacrificed anything. And it’s been worth it all.