What the First Year Means to Mom

Sometimes it’s motherhood that actually helps you discover yourself.

What the First Year Means to Mom

I thought I knew myself before becoming a mother. I thought I was no longer lost. But after experiencing this past year, I can confidently say that through motherhood, I have found myself.

Zack and I tried for close to a year before I got pregnant with Owen, and even before that, I had really worked on myself mentally in preparation for it all. I wanted to do everything in my power to "find myself" and leave my emotional baggage at the door before becoming a mother. Of course, this is close to impossible -- so much of who we are is our past, and I now know that my baggage is part of what makes me who I am. Regardless, I mostly wanted to sort out my insecurities so that I could parent confidently and without question.

And then Owen arrived. And somehow, through the sleepless nights, countless diapers and limited showers, I got comfortable in my skin. I realized that being a mom is exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. It's balanced me out in this unexpected way, and I will forever be grateful for Owen making his way into our lives.

Motherhood is absolutely number one for me. But becoming a mother has also pushed me to be more creative, more successful and more intentional with my time. It has given me the push I needed in every direction. I constantly think to myself, "What exactly was I doing with my time before I had Owen?"

The first year of motherhood has challenged me in ways I couldn't have ever expected, but has also brought me more joy than I've ever known. It's the best decision I've ever made.

Photography by Amy Frances.

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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