The Bittersweet Ache of Parenthood

It’s strange the things that make you emotional as a parent. In three weeks time our daughter will be 1 year old, and I'm currently bubbling over how well she is sleeping. 

This week we started sleep training Willow. She was still in bed with us, and none of us were getting decent sleep. So, although I wanted our bed back, and I wanted her to sleep well, it broke my heart a little (or a lot) to move my baby to her own room for good. 

It’s only been two nights without her in our bed and I miss her. I miss her soft warm body pressed against me, her hand instinctively cupping my breast and her soft quiet breath. I miss her radiant smiles in the morning when she opens her eyes and sees me. Each night I’ve woken naturally at 4.30am, see her sleeping on the monitor and feel a little lost that she isn’t in our bed, and doesn’t need me at night anymore. 

Sleep training has been the first time I have felt this bittersweet ache; she will never be our little baby in our bed again.

I know it’s so cliche and everyone says it, but my god, it feels like yesterday she was born and I got to hold my darling girl for the first time. 

When she was born, I imagined all the things we would do with her. All the things we would show her, and teach her, and I imagined her as an older child and how much fun there was waiting for our wee family. 

While I still imagine this and I am still filled with so much love and excitement over my daughter growing, this is the first time I’ve realised a stage has been passed. She won’t be a little baby for much longer, and this time has passed so quickly, and been so beautiful, I miss it already. 

Being a parent is the most wonderful, challenging, bat-shit-crazy adventure, and I’m realising that while every day she grows brings new experiences, it also brings an end to some. 

I’m finding it hard to let go of the small, warm, damp wrinkly baby I felt on my chest 11 months and 7 days ago, with her fluffy head, and her big eyes looking up at me.

I am thrilled to be with the (very nearly!) walking and talking toddler with the bluest eyes, the loudest laugh, and the most perfect tiny two front teeth, but I will miss my tiny little baby and everything she brought us. 

I knew there would be hard times, I knew I would be stressed and worried over little things, but I could never have predicted the depth of love I could feel for her. Yet another part of parenthood you can’t understand until experiencing it, is how you can love this intensely.

Sleep training is going well; two days in she is sleeping wonderfully and I’m the only one having a hard time adjusting. I’m writing up a blog post about what method we chose to go with, and how we decided it was the right time for us to sleep train. That’ll come soon, but for now I needed to write about the bittersweet ache of watching your children grow, and the crazy way love can make you feel.