My first daughter was born on a hot and humid day in August. After a 19 hour labor and 45 minutes of pushing, she came into the world kicking and screaming, and it was love at first sight for me. My husband only took a few days off from work, so soon enough it was just me and her at home during the workweek, figuring out our new routine alone. While I wish I could say it was a blissful time, it was anything but. Like most new moms, I was sleep-deprived and hormonal, and I didn’t quite know it at the time, but I was also developing postpartum anxiety. Being home by myself with a non-talking, non-smiling newborn, I often felt like I was talking to a wall all day long. As summer turned into fall and the days got colder and darker, I felt my mood mimicking the weather. I loved my daughter so much, and she was equally attached to me, but there were days when I would wonder, “when will this be more fun?”
As time went on, the newborn who slept and ate all day began to “wake up,” and I felt like I began to understand my daughter’s personality. I waited eight long weeks for her first smile, then first laugh, and around seven months, her first crawl across the room. She responded to my voice and made eye contact when I talked, and I started to feel like we were having our own little conversations. At the time she was my only child and my little buddy, and we went on adventures every day — the library, Baby Boot Camp class, the grocery store, the park. I watched her baby face develop into one of a toddler, and although I was sad at how quickly that first year had passed, I was also grateful to be on the other side of the foggy newborn days.
I loved watching her learn to walk, talk, and eat independently. I no longer felt as anxious about her sleep environment, the crying sessions were fewer and far between, and it didn’t feel quite as scary when she wasn’t feeling well. It took me a long time to realize that the newborn stage is not my favorite — but I really love the toddler stage.
My daughter is now 4 1/2, and I feel like I fall more in love with each age as it comes. Sometimes I look back at her newborn photos and miss that tiny newborn baby, but I also get excited to see the little girl that she’s becoming.
The newborn stage is not my favorite, but it didn’t deter me from wanting more children. Our second was born when our oldest was 2 years old, and our third is due in just a few months. I found the newborn stage to be a little bit easier the second time around (and hopefully even more so the third time!), because I knew what to expect and also “this too shall pass.” As much as I am looking forward to the feel of a snugly baby in my Solly wrap and the sweet new baby smell, I am okay with the fact that the first three months or so might not be my favorite. There are so many good things to come.