featured photo by Jana Graham Photography

After the First Year Postpartum: A Personal Inventory

December 2017 | by jenna jones

We recently got to celebrate one year for my littlest babe! Yes, it was her birthday, but this is about me.

The one-year milestone is a big one for me. Your baby is only a baby for a year. There is a precious intimacy that comes with breastfeeding, middle of the night fussing and soothing, the physical closeness. Intimacy slowly gives way to independence for both of us as she starts sleeping through the night, eating food, learning to walk, and using words.

I feel thankful, and proud, and tired. Now it’s time to assess the damages. Make no mistake; nurturing new life comes at a high personal cost. Sometimes beyond what is readily given. So things get taken from every other area to sustain this little new life. Now I have a chubby, happy, healthy baby and get to direct my focus on tending to the places that have been left wanting and are now crumbling.

There is no shame here. It is all part of the process. Through the breakdown and rebuilding the Lord can grow our empathy, strength, wisdom, maturity, and eventually joy.

So here is my list of damages from the last year that need repair…

Memory – No joke, I have short-term memory loss. Did you know if you don't get regular sleep your brain stops efficiently recording new memories? My brain is currently in delete mode. I am now sometimes sleeping through the night, and my brain is slowly coming back.

Body – Still 25 pounds over my pre-baby weight. It turns out things change when you're over 30 having your third. *All good. I found a great “mom bikini” that covers the newly acquired back rolls. **Also, the weight would probably come off if I didn’t have donuts before bed. Still working on that one too.

Marriage – Small kids create a special bond in marriage. The kind of bond that comes from being in the trenches together. So we’ve got that part down! But there is a different sweetness that can be lost when both people are under a lot of stress for extended periods of time. I am hoping to recover some of my sweetness towards my husband that has been sitting on the shelf for a while now.

Prayer – I still pray… But let’s be honest, I am not very well acquainted with alone time. I read my Bible while the kids splash in the bath. I pray in the morning while listening to the kids play/fight downstairs. I put worship music on in the car. Listen to sermons while folding laundry. But, I miss long stretches of silence to meditate on the Word and hear from the Lord.

House – Everyone tells you not to worry about the house and just spend time with the kids. Yeah, I am great at that. But eventually, someone has to clean something. My husband has been a trooper. I am going to try to remember how to wash a pot.

Here’s to 1 year!

To my little one — You are worth it. We made it through this first year, and I am looking forward to turning the page and entering this next new season with you.

To the mommas — Are you still inside of that first year with a little one? If so, give yourself some grace. It's ok to put things aside to care for an additional life. You don't have to feel guilty about this season. It won't last forever, really just a year. The time will soon come when you can pick back up the things you have laid aside.

Are you coming out of a season with a little one? You can be proud; you have given your life for another. Even if you feel tired and beaten down, have hope! Seasons change. Is there anything you are hoping to pick back up or recover as you regain some independence? What are your damages that need repair? No shame. There is beauty in the rebuilding and restoration.

Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s December 2017 issue.

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