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The First Year: Learning to Trust Yourself

By Jeana Lee Tahnk

The moments leading up to the delivery of my first baby, nine years ago, are still so fresh in my mind. Going through that experience for the very first time is probably what cemented it into my memory bank for eternity. Preparing during that first pregnancy meant reading all the baby books (there were no apps back then!) and learning about all about things I should expect in the first year after the baby is born.

After he was born, I studied those nurses in the first couple days in the hospital wondering how long it would take me to have such ease with a baby that small. I read the books when I brought him home about bathing, feeding, naps and anything else I needed to know about newborn care.

I kept diaper logs of dirty and wet diapers to ensure he was getting enough to eat during the day. I kept track of naps to make sure he was sleeping enough. I timed my nursing sessions to see if he was indeed feeding every 2-3 hours. Those first few months of being a brand new parent to a brand new baby were certainly a learning curve.

As the months progressed and I became more adept at this whole parenting thing, I started trusting my instincts more and reading those books less. I eased into the flow of life with a baby and realized that a lot of what I questioned before he was born was because I didn't know what to expect. Now that he was here, we could navigate the world of parenting together.

Of course I had questions about things I really didn't know, like what that weird rash was or why he went through a phase of eating six bananas a day. But what I learned in that first year is that parenting isn't something you get from reading books. Parenting happens when you are in the trenches with the thousands of diaper changes, the all-nighters, the neverending hugs and cuddles, the good, the not-so-good, the everything that comes along with having a baby.

I learned to have confidence in myself as a mom because I knew that no matter what my baby needed, I would do everything in my power to figure it out and tend to his needs. That's the ultimate test of parenting and it's one that I could only learn by doing. And I'm still learning nine years later.

Read More by Jeana Lee Tahnk

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