Both wonderful and exhausting

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Father and son. Photo by: Andrea Huls

I knew parenting would be difficult. However, I had no idea just how difficult until I became a mom in December 2019.

If you’re thinking about having kids, I’m here to share the good and the bad of parenting in the first year.

Let’s get the bad out of the way first.

After giving birth, all women go through postpartum. It’s a challenging period.

I was glad everything went well during labor and that my baby boy was healthy. Yet, my body hurt. My hormones were all over the place. I cried a lot during my early weeks as a mom.

It took a while before I felt like myself again. …

How can a broken person be a parent?

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My son has fallen asleep at last. It’s 22:37, and I’ve been up since six o’clock in the morning. He has a ton of energy and curiosity, which keeps me busy. I watch as his chest rises and falls and am mesmerized at the sight of him. I’m exhausted, but my heart feels full. A few years ago, however, I didn’t think I was capable of being a mother. I was afraid to be one.

Where to start?

I was worried I would pass on my issues.

I was afraid I would reproduce destructive patterns.

I was concerned that I wouldn’t know how to escape from my childhood demons. …

I know 2020 didn’t turn out the way you expected.

I know it’s been a tough year.

I know you canceled trips, parties, and celebrations.

I know you didn’t get to say goodbye.

I know you’re facing loss and mourning everything this year was supposed to be.

I’m sorry.

I wish I could tell you 2021 will be better. But no one knows.

What I do know is that the world needs more compassion, empathy, and kindness.

Start with yourself. It’s okay to feel the way you think and be the way you are.

Next, be kind to those close to you and then extend your empathy to strangers. …

It’s okay to take your time to mourn.

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Photo by ZACHARY STAINES on Unsplash

My closest friend from college was supposed to fly from Washington, D.C., to Barcelona last May to meet my newborn son. After spending time with us, she planned to head to Italy for her cousin’s wedding. Both trips were canceled.

Another good friend of mine, who lives in Frankfurt, was going to celebrate his wedding in June. After taking some time to think it over, he and his bride-to-be felt wiser to postpone.

I had hoped my brother, who lives in Bolivia, would come to visit this past summer to meet his nephew, who he has only seen through a smartphone screen. …

Being your mom is the greatest gift.

Couple holding tiny baby shoes in their hands
Couple holding tiny baby shoes in their hands
Photo by Andrzej Witek

I can’t believe a year has passed since you were born. I remember every minute of that day. Giving birth to you is one of the most beautiful moments I have ever experienced.

The weeks before going into labor, I was anxious something would go wrong. I thought a lot about the fragility of life. I thought about how in just a few seconds, I could lose you. I already loved you so much. I wanted to protect you and make sure you were and would be okay.

All worries aside, I was excited to meet you. I had dreamt about you, time and time again. …

And how it could change yours

Scrabble letters that spell out mental health
Scrabble letters that spell out mental health

Going to therapy was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

I went when I was ready.

The decision to go to therapy is a decision a person has to make for themselves. No one should force you to go to treatment. If someone does push you, it is not going to work.

For therapy to have an impact in your life you need to want to be there, week after week.

You will have to open all the parts of yourself that you kept closed.

You will have to put in the work.

I believe everyone should go to therapy. Seeing a therapist should be normalized. …

How my grandmother’s life inspires me every day

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My grandmother Betty, “Abuelita,” as I called her, was the embodiment of strength, resilience, and selflessness. She taught me what a tenacious woman is by setting an incredible example.

She played a significant role throughout my life, especially during my early years. She took care of me when I was sick. She taught me how to cook. She spoiled me but also disciplined me.

No one’s cooking will ever be a match for the feasts she prepared. Her hugs had the power to make my worries go away, even if for a few seconds. I wish I could hug her again. …

Overcoming my eating disorder

**Disclaimer: Some of the content in this piece might be triggering to people who experienced or are currently struggling with disordered eating.

Woman measuring her waist
Woman measuring her waist

I was 14 the first time I tried to make myself throw up. It was after a classmate made fun of my thighs. I wasn’t successful. But that didn’t stop me from trying again and again in the future.

I don’t have many memories of me feeling happy in my body. As a kid, I looked at slimmer girls with envy and felt deep shame.

At primary school, my weight didn’t go unnoticed. I was called Mrs. Hulk, among other derogatory names. I remember the warm tears running down my face when looking at myself in the mirror. …


Andrea Huls

Finding strength in the shadows, I write stories about self love and mental health. These are my views on navigating the world as a woman.

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