Even though there were things I thought could have done better or differently when I first became a mother, there was much I felt gratitude for.
Looking back, I remember feeling gratitude for:
1. Being able to have a baby
I felt grateful that I was able to fall pregnant and give birth.
2. Having a healthy baby
Yes, my baby had a few lesser health issues and the usual childhood illnesses, but nothing major. He was lactose intolerant, but thrived on soybean formula. Eczema made him itchy in spite of our attempts to avoid exposure to many known irritants, but I was grateful he didn't inherit asthma, which was in the family.
3. My own good health
Okay, so I had pre-eclampsia and spent the last 13 weeks of my pregnancy in bed. However, my blood pressure returned to normal after I gave birth and there were no ongoing issues. I caught the usual colds and infections, but hey, that's to be expected.
4. A safe place to live
My house would never feature in Home Beautiful, but it was safe and secure, warm and dry in winter, and cool enough in summer. There was plenty of space and our baby had his own room. When he grew up there was a good sized backyard where he could play and enjoy the clean, fresh air and sunshine.
Sometimes I see photos of children living in crowded squalid conditions, especially in poorer countries, and it makes me feel gratitude for living where I do. I am grateful for clean water and air that is not smoggy or polluted.
5. A supportive husband
Hmm, I know my marriage wasn't fairy tale perfect and we divorced down the track. However, my husband took care of the house work during my time on bed rest during pregnancy. He did the shopping and cooked the meals during that time so I could follow doctor's orders and not put our unborn child at risk.
6. Financial security
Okay, so I was the breadwinner and to get that financial security, Ihad to return to work when our baby was 2 months old. Although I wanted to be a stay-at-home mother, I was grateful that my baby was well cared for by his father, in his own home. I felt gratitude to have a secure job to pay the bills and to provide financially for the family.
7. Friends and family
I felt gratitude for family support and long-term friends. The new friends I made through my baby were also a great help to me. One of the mums I met in hospital is still a close friend, 35 years on.
I appreciated a 24 hour phone line I could utilise to talk to a trained nurse for advice and reassurance. When needed, I could consult a doctor for medical treatment.
I was grateful for practical advice from mothers who had been there before me. And I appreciated the lack of advice from those who trusted me as a new mum to follow my maternal instinct and work out what was right for my child.
9. Sleep, when I got it
My first child was not a good sleeper. When I returned to work, I made sure I slept on the train to get an extra 40 minutes each way. I would lean against the window and hold my ticket so the conductor did not have to disturb me when he checked it.
10. That my dog and cat accepted the baby
I had heard stories of pets who developed anti-social behaviours such as weeing in the house once baby arrived. Ricky, our dog, had been with us seven years before my first baby was born.
Both pets accepted our baby without jealousy. In fact, Ricky would come and fetch us if we didn't react quickly enough when baby cried. Janie, the cat, didn't take much notice of the addition to the household.
Becoming a mother made me aware of many things to feel gratitude for.
What do you feel gratitude for in your motherhood journey?
When my daughter started daycare, I spent a lot of time trying to find the right fit for her and our family. I did a lot of research and asked a lot of questions. Over and over again though, the answer to my question would come back the same, "she'll be fine."
I want hours upon hours of delicious sleep followed by hot cups of tea, reading my book and nothingness. But I'll have to get up now to comfort, feed, clean, dress, entertain, love, laugh, play, and repeat.