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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 yearsago, are still so fresh in my mind. Going through that experience forthe very first time is probably what cemented it into my memory bank foreternity. Preparing during that first pregnancy meant reading all thebaby books (there were no apps back then!) and learning about all aboutthings I should expect in the first year after the baby is born.

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

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

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

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

I learned to have confidence in myself as a mom because I knew thatno matter what my baby needed, I would do everything in my power tofigure it out and tend to his needs. That's the ultimate test ofparenting and it's one that I could only learn by doing. And I'm stilllearning nine years later.

Read More by Jeana Lee Tahnk

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