I had originally written this piece over two years ago. I wanted to post it because it continues to be applicable to this day. However, we’re now out of the newborn stage, and are firmly planted in the toddler arena. As such, I thought and update was in order. [Updates in bold text.]
As time goes on, I find myself reflecting on how motherhood has changed me [We can go ahead and stop talking about change in the past tense. Man alive, already! When does it stop?]. It’s been an interesting adventure thus far, and while I had no idea just how much my life would change with my daughter’s arrival, I can say that I am better off for it [Honestly, most days it depends on the moment you ask me. I mean, I guess I’m better for it. Love makes the world go around, right?].
When you’re pregnant you are often told that your life is going to change forever [BIG understatement]. They make it sound as if that happens the moment your child is born, but in reality, everything changes the moment you know you’re going to have a baby. There are the obvious changes in your surroundings as you prepare for the arrival, however, your body and your mind change instantly. I often said that I felt as if my body was a walking science experiment, and that sentiment holds true even now (post pregnancy hormones are a trip… just sayin’). Mentally, you spend months contemplating not only the responsibility associated with bringing up another human being, but also the excitement of introducing them to the world around them. The moment I realized I was pregnant, my over-active brain instantly started to worry about potty training. I get it: she wasn’t even born yet and I was worried about potty training! Needless to say, I spent months reigning in my tendency to be prepared for anything and everything by figuring everything out years ahead of when the information would be useful [I totally still struggle with this. Put me near a gaggle of tweens with their costume jewelry and tiny purses, and I instantly start to panic.]
You’re also often told that not only will your life change (typically for the better), but that life will be a bit harder for a while. [I’ve had one person honestly tell me if they had a chance to do it over again, they wouldn’t have had kids. Yikes.] I found that the word “hard,” or even the word “difficult,” doesn’t adequately describe just how hard and difficult things will be. Conversely, just as it seems words don’t exist to accurately describe the level of difficulty we experience with a newborn, the same holds true for when attempting to describe the love and admiration you have for your newborn. The word “love” isn’t enough, and seems incredibly inadequate. [Can I get an AMEN! I’m still trying to figure out word to describe the love I have for my spawn.]
In the end, not only has the birth of my daughter made me brave, kept me on my toes, made me learn to be patient, and forced me to laugh at my Type A ways, her birth has also taught me to live simply and love deeply. Sure, things were easier when I wasn’t waking up at 3:00 am for our first feeding of the day, but what my life lacks in ease is more than made up by the profound depth my life now holds.
Oh, and I’m convinced that if you can calm a baby that seems to be hell bent on crying at the top of their lungs after you’ve fed them, changed them, and loved them, you can do anything. [I’d like to add to this by saying if you can calm a screaming kid having a meltdown in the shoe department of a popular big-box store because you have to pay for her new shoes, you can do anything.]