9 Months In, 9 Months Out
Celebrating 9 Months of Baby Rei
While 9 months feels like an arbitrary age to celebrate, it is actually really significant. Reileen has been living earth side for as long as she was in my belly!
The past 9 months have been crazy (I’ll get to that in another blog post), but Rei has been a dream. It has been a genuine privilege to witness our baby girl grow into this beautiful, smiley, funny, excitable fruitloop with her own likes and dislikes.
While I could wax lyrical about how awesome Rei is for another 20,000 words at least, I’m going to keep this blog post as focused as I can – on how parenting is going and how I’m adapting and healing in this new season of my life.
Reflections on being a parent
Whatever I thought motherhood would be like, this has been so much better, easier and SO much more fun. It’s also been the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m learning that parenthood is a lesson of all the dichotomies in life
- Never have I more badly craved time on my own, but when I get it I just look at photos of Rei and message my partner every 5 minutes to ask what they’re up to together
- I don’t ever stop – but I never feel like I actually get anywhere
- It feels like I’ve completely lost myself, and yet I feel more like myself than in a very long time.
Trying to see the funny side of all of these dualities – and everything, really – has been essential. Asides even from the cliche of the initial sleep deprivation and always having baby vom/poop/puree/toothpaste on our clothes, there have been so many occasions where we’ve both just collapsed from cry-laughter because we don’t know how else to process what just happened.
Once we realised that we had the ultimate barnacle baby, I decided I’d bedshare with Rei in the nursery. Choosing this meant that only one of us was sleep deprived (that would be me), and my partner could fully support us, rather than both of us being cranky and delirious. To my surprise, bedsharing has been one of my favourite things about being a parent! From a practical standpoint, it makes night feeds (we breastfeed) so much easier, but more than anything I love the emotional closeness and bond it has given us. Sadly, I think these days are now numbered as she’s turning into the ultimate bedhog – and actually gets annoyed when she rolls over in her sleep and finds me in her way!
How I’ve adapted to being a mama
I think my story is the opposite to a lot of other women, as throughout my pregnancy I was adamant that I would be the secondary caregiver and my partner would be stay-at-home dad. While this works for some, it definitely didn’t work for us – both from the perceptive of the studio and the fact that Rei did not like bottles! I’ll write a post soon about why I have left the studio model in the dust, but suffice to say it was for the best on SO many levels.
Once I left the studio, I consciously gave myself permission to completely surrender to motherhood. I hadn’t had a day off my business since 2019, and I was burnt out beyond all recognition after spending my pregnancy and fourth trimester trying to make my star-shaped business work in the square-shaped hole I’d forced it into. The first 3 months of Rei’s life were so brutal as a result of me trying to do all the things, and I knew I needed to stop and focus on one thing – being a mum to the best of my abilities.
I then fully leaned into mamahood completely. I think this was me trying to experience the fourth trimester / newborn phase as I wished I had, and I soaked up the simplicity of the feeding/sleeping/playing/diaper-change routine. Slowing down and being with Rei was definitely the medicine I needed.
I also started catching up with friends loads (albeit baby-in-tow) for the first time in a long time. It wasn’t until I stepped away from everything that I realised just how unhealthy my relationship with work was, and how badly I’d neglected my social life as a result.
My life is now a delicious-but-constant blur of feeds, cooking, meals playtime, walks, teaching a handful of awesome clients, going to baby classes, playdates with new friends, brunch dates with old friends and wholesome family days out!
Also, now Rei is suddenly having long naps (where has our cat napper gone?!) I’m able to get on top of housework, creating content and – best of all – to my oh-so missed daily yoga practice. God it feels good.
If you have a wee one(s), how did you navigate the first year?