On November 17, 2010 at 3:39pm, my world changed forever. God brought our daughter, Emmalyn Grace, safely into our lives. I knew nothing would ever be quite the same, but I don’t think anyone could prepare me for what lay ahead in my first year of being a mother. 

Having a child is the greatest life lesson you can receive. These tiny little beings, with ten bitty toes, and rosy cheeks, are the most important and influential teachers one can ever have. My once six pounds & 14 ounces little love, taught me so much about myself. Unbeknown to her, she has been my light, my angel. At 23 years-old, when I had Emmalyn, I thought I knew precisely what I was going to be like as a mother. I was strong and confident with my visions and opinions. 

Flash-forward one year… Ha! Silly Me

Things like cloth diapering, breastfeeding, forbidding Walmart, etcetera–all flew out the door like folks on Black Friday. What I’ve come to realize is that motherhood is SO unpredictable. No matter how many baby books you read, or people you talk to, there’s always going to be something to throw you off course. For me, it was the dreaded “P” word: Postpartum Depression. Although it ended up being a blessing in disguise, it was the worst time in my life. But it taught me so much. About myself, about being a mother. 

Having to be hospitalized for a week forced me to let go of my need for control. It taught me how to be more laid-back as a person, and that taking an infant to Walmart really isn’t as bad as you think. (There’s a lot worse.) I’ve heard mothers say numerous times. “I can’t even remember what life was like before baby.” I can. While I really miss some certain aspects of my non-maternal life, I am a much better person now. You would think that having a baby would make me even more controlling and up-tight, but through everything my PPD experience taught me, I am living a mentally healthier and more relaxed life. I made a new mom-friend last week, and she was kind enough to come over to help me make chocolate-covered pretzels for Emmy’s party this weekend. As we were talking and making a mess, she mentioned how nice it was that I wasn’t such a perfectionist about the appearance of the pretzels. I thought, Oh–if you only knew me before… Even one of my best friends has told me how proud she is of me for not sweating the small stuff. It makes me feel proud, too; to hear those compliments from someone who has known me for years, as well as someone who has come into my life only recently.

The first three months of Emmalyn’s life crept by so slowly for me. I kept thinking, When is this going to get better? This is so much harder than I ever thought it would be! And now, time is moving quickly. The proof is in the pictures, my friend. My baby girl is ONE–even though she gets mistaken for a six month-old. { It must run in the family, ‘cuz her momma got mistaken for a high school student last night ;p } My selfless husband, parents, in-laws, family, and dearest friends, have supported me through this tumultuous year. I don’t think I could have made it without them. Scratch that–I KNOW I couldn’t have made it without them. But I wouldn’t be who I am today, if it weren’t for one extraordinary being… my daughter, Emmalyn Grace. She has been my number one motivation. I have been touched by an angel….

There’s so much I want to say to so many people. & to most of you, I have. But I especially don’t want to leave out my blogger buddies. I can’t thank you all enough for your encouraging words. Not one single message goes unappreciated. There are many of you who have made such an impact on my life, which I will never forget. 

Thank you.