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Struggling with first birthday

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

My daughter had her first birthday this past Friday, and I'm having a really hard time with it!  I'm not ready for "babyhood" to be over, and I'm very seriously grieving.  It's been an incredibly intense year, and I've begged for a break more times than I can count (and rarely got it), but when I'm honest with myself (or as honest as I can be in my sleep-deprived fog), I don't want her to grow up yet.

 

To make it even worse, I'm feeling pressure from DH, and putting pressure on myself, to transition my daughter to her own bed, to get myself back to work, to regain some semblance of "normal" in the household after a year of hunkering down, nursing, and being in baby mode.  And DD is going full bore into hardheaded toddlerhood and is getting more difficult to handle.  Oh, she's adorable and learning so much, but Mama's got to step up her game.  It's funny - six months ago I was BEGGING for "some semblance of normal," now I'm begging to turn back the clock.

 

Just seeking support, commiseration, a pep talk please!


Edited by Zirconia - 1/16/13 at 6:20pm
post #2 of 11
Big hugs for you, mama! It can be SO hard to see our sweet little newborns transform overnight into 25 lb spirited toddlers! Okay so it's not overnight but it can certainly feel like it! I do miss the newborn stage myself. It was amazing to meet that little person and nothing will really change my life as much as that day did. What helps me is seeing the incredible little girl she is turning into and appreciating how much we've both grown in the last 21 months. Sure, she's a lot more willful than she used to be but she is also sweeter and more cuddly. As a baby she was always on the move and wanted to be rolling/crawling/cruising rather than being held. Nowadays she will run up to me with a huge grin, saying "moooooommy!!!!!!" and give me the biggest hug her little arms can muster. She cracks me up. She makes silly faces just to get a giggle. I loved her as a baby but each day she manages to get me to love her a little more. Maybe the difference is that I had looked forward to starting a family rather than having a baby but for me each day bring something new and delightful. I'll be honest; 12 to 15 months was very hard. She was often frustrated, constantly teething, and sleep was hard to come by. But once we emerged on the other side (especially around 18 months), things were great again. I think apart from legitimately mourning infancy, you're faced with the unpleasantness of early toddlerhood. Here aspirations outclass skills by a huge factor and your LO is overcome by frustration over her ineptitude. Once the skills refine and blossom, she will be happy and fun again - even more so than in infancy. Take heart that you won't be stuck with this tantrumming, super sensitive little person for too long. Hugs to you mama; they do grow up too fast! I hope I helped a little hug.gif
post #3 of 11
We exist to fulfill our children's needs, not vice versa.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Skycheattraffic, thank you!  DD is soooo much fun now, she's chattering nonstop, learning new things every day.  I am enjoying this time!  It's just happened so FAST, you know?  Yeah, she's frequently frustrated - her needs are getting more complicated (she's not just hungry now, she specifically wants more avocado!), so I've been working on sign language and also giving her opportunities to make lots of simple choices, which is helping a lot.  And I have to remind myself that the first birthday was merely a day on the calendar, it didn't really change anything about our day-to-day life.  And so far, our attempts to stop cosleeping have failed miserably - she just flat won't go in her crib after a certain hour - so for now, I can honestly say that we're cosleeping for her sake, not for mine, even though I enjoy it.  :)

 

DHinJersey, you're right that my job is to meet her needs, not her to meet mine.  But truth is, we are humans in relationship with our babies, and in relationship with each other.  We have feelings, and we have needs.  My baby doesn't exist to meet my needs, but she sure does meet some of them by virtue of being in relationship with me.  To deny that is to deny being human.  The problem comes when baby's needs diverge from ours and we refuse to let go.  As my baby turns into a toddler, I'm faced with the first of many "letting gos" on this journey.  I am meeting her needs, and I'm clapping and encouraging as she grows and develops, and I check my selfish feelings at the door.  But I still feel it - I'm sad.  That's why I reach out to other mamas.

 

Thanks y'all.  It's all part of parenthood, I guess - transitions and stages, every day is new!

post #5 of 11

Zirconia, my DD turns one at the end of the month.  She's taking her first steps and it fills me with the strangest feeling.  One the one hand, I am so. stinking. proud and amazed that this little human I pushed out almost a year ago who was able to do NOTHING is now walking around and feeding herself.  On the other hand, she's becoming so independent! As a baby, she's so a part of my life that it's almost like she's a part of me, but now she is toddling off to become her own person.  Before I know it she won't be nursing anymore... It really does make me sad.  I know that this is not my last baby, so this is not my last experience of having a baby and that is a nice feeling, but *our* time in baby-dom is winding down.  It makes me realize how precious time really is, and also appreciate my mom a little more.  I can only imagine how much she misses that time with me and my brothers.  This is par the course of the human experience of being a mom.  But like skycheattraffic said, each new day really does make me love her a little more.  Sure, she's not my little baby anymore.  As she's grown and entered new stages I find myself saying "oh this is the most fun time!". Like when she transitioned from a newborn, it was so much fun to have this little smiley baby! And when she transitioned to sitting, it was so much fun to have a little baby who could play by herself for a few minutes! And when she started crawling, it was so much fun to watch her explore the world!  And now she's transitioning into a toddler, and she can communicate with me and hug me, I really do love this time too!  Yes I do miss my little baby girl, but I have so many pictures and memories that that time will never be gone. :) 

post #6 of 11

It's quite a shift to go from infancy to toddlerhood.  So much changes, and your whole game plan has to change with it.  The thing that stays the same is you still kinda have to follow their lead (in a lot of areas), but suddenly discipline/limit setting enter into the equation, and that's always quite a shock at first because with babies, there isn't any need for those skills.

 

I kind of like the decreased dependence on me for everything, but will admit I kind miss the holding/rocking/nursing too.  The gradual detachment (of learning to let go a bit) is not easy.  I went back to work full-time at 12 months, and it was hard even then, but definitely easier than trying to do it during infancy. 

post #7 of 11

My DH and I often say "STOP GROWING" to each of our kids. They just grow so quick, and it is always bittersweet.

 

My babe is now 8 months old and I am desperately hanging on to the baby phase. It has just been so sweet. Its normal what you are feeling. You'll find that "Oh! This is my favorite stage!" every stage older they get ;)

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

It's true, each stage is definitely more interesting and more fun!  After a couple of rough weeks, I'm settling into the toddler groove and feeling much better.  One thing I realized was that my family had built up this birthday into some kind of rite of passage.  DH was saying it's time to get her in her own bedroom.  Grandparents were (and still are) dropping hints about weaning.  I was letting myself feel pressured too.  That not only made me mourn her infancy, but it also stressed me out because it would be up to ME to make these changes.  And the thought of trying to force something baby wasn't ready for - just to please others - sounded miserable for all of us.  When I finally realized what was happening, and dismissed all the rubbish, and re-grounded myself in a baby-led approach, I felt so relieved and could once again enjoy the moment!

post #9 of 11
That's wonderful! I get a lot of "you're STILL nursing?!" comments (DD is 21 months) especially when people find out I'm pregnant. You know what's harder than nursing a toddler while pregnant? Weaning one who wants to nurse! I had a rough night with DD a while back and turned to my mom for support and she said "oh you won't be able to do that (nurse) with two!" She doesn't have any experience to speak of when it comes to nursing.
Somehow people are so interested in pushing their own ideas when it comes to parenting. Just follow your own instincts. Since DH doesnt help with night parenting, he has no say in how I do things. I do what works and gets me the most sleep.
post #10 of 11

I keep asking Little Miss just who the hell gave her permission to grow up.  She grins and grins.  It's so bittersweet.  I agree that we, mothers, are there to meet our child(ren)'s needs, and not vice versa (Not yet, anyway.), but that hardly has a thing to do with how difficult it is to realize that the months are flying by and gone forever.  mecry.gif

 

I've been struggling a lot lately with letting go.  She sleeps so much better alone.  Do you think I leave her in her Arm's Reach?  Ha.

She's the one on the playground that darts out in front of the speeding scooter on her way to the big slide.  I am really gritting my teeth back here to keep myself from forcing her to hold my hand at all times.  The back and forth is hard on the soul.  One minute she wants nothing to do with me, she's furiously lisping "I do.  Big girl!", the next she's sitting with her head on my chest, worrying a piece of my hair, just snuggling and being a baby again.  Mama's poor heart can't take it.

 

On a lighter note, we are still nursing, but it's been very limited for a few months now, and I'm starting to suspect we're getting ready to be done.  It's sad.  So I mentioned it to my mother, and she immediately gave my grief, saying she thought I'd nurse longer.  Thanks, Mom.  Most of my girlfriends are getting grief for "still" nursing at 16 months, mine wants nothing to do with the boob anymore and you're scolding me for not forcing it  on her 6 times a day.  I really cannot win with that woman!

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zirconia View Post

It's true, each stage is definitely more interesting and more fun!  After a couple of rough weeks, I'm settling into the toddler groove and feeling much better.  One thing I realized was that my family had built up this birthday into some kind of rite of passage.  DH was saying it's time to get her in her own bedroom.  Grandparents were (and still are) dropping hints about weaning.  I was letting myself feel pressured too.  That not only made me mourn her infancy, but it also stressed me out because it would be up to ME to make these changes.  And the thought of trying to force something baby wasn't ready for - just to please others - sounded miserable for all of us.  When I finally realized what was happening, and dismissed all the rubbish, and re-grounded myself in a baby-led approach, I felt so relieved and could once again enjoy the moment!

Wow, it's great that you realized all that :)

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