Motherhood changes you; it is inevitable, whether you want it to or not.
I knew this would happen before becoming a mother, but I did not understand how until I had my own children. During my early twenties there was a time when I, to be honest, was not even sure I wanted children. I mean, how could I give up spontaneous vacations, early morning spin class or sleeping in on Sunday mornings? Pretty selfish, right?
So looking back, what would I tell my younger naive self about becoming a mom? Yes, being a mom does change you, but not in the ways you might think. And so I would say this…
That from the first moment I locked eyes with my first born after the doctor put her on me, seconds after she was born, my chest felt heavy. Not from the weight of my baby, but from the love I instantly felt for this tiny creature that I grew inside me. And here she was, a living breathing tiny human and she was mine. That alone was enough to profoundly change me forever.
That even though I know I will (eventually) loose the last of that baby weight, my body will never be the same. My once flat and toned abs are now replaced by stretch marks and my c-section scar from baby number two. While this though would have horrified me pre-children, I see now that they are proud badges of honor because they are the marks of bringing three incredible little people into this world.
That my once lofty career goals as a journalist pales in comparison to my desires to be the best mom I could be for my children.
That going back to work to a job I previously enjoyed was torture after I dropped my newborn off for the first day of daycare with strangers. And even the thought of her crying there made me fight the urge to drive back, pick her up and quit my job. Just. To. Snuggle. Her. Again.
That watching your one year old take her first steps is simply one of the best parenting moments. EVER.
That the mama bear instincts are fierce even for a somewhat reserved, quieter person such as myself. Like the day my Savannah came home from daycare and said a little boy had pushed her. Those days are hard. It stirs up so much love for your own flesh and blood and the need to protect them, that the lines become blurred on right and wrong because all that matters is making it better for your child.
That all it takes for me to loose myself in a state of panic is the shrill cry of “Mommy, I need you!” And I come running armed with band aids, ice and hugs and kisses to repair whatever physical or emotional wound is at hand.
That those television shows I used to love like CSI and Game of Thrones, I can no longer watch because I can not even comprehend how there is so much evil and violence in this world I brought children into.
And those news reports of still born babies, and child deaths from co-sleeping, drowning, or being left in the car. I. Can’t. Even. Because what if that was MY CHILD? And I wonder through my teary eyes is there anything more horrific than losing one of your own?
That I love my husband for reasons I never would have found attractive before children. And the thought of ever loosing him, my best friend, the father to our babies, my soul mate, is a serious fear of mine. Because how can I do this without him?
That watching my husband dance with our children, snuggle them for bedtime stories, throw them in the air as they squeal with delight or push them on the swings makes me fall in love with him all over again.
That when my Scarlett was diagnosed with infantile scoliosis, I sat in the doctor’s office unable to breathe. That night I sat in bed googling images of said condition trying to makes sense of it. Because who is ever prepared for that?
That hearing your baby’s belly laughs from repeated raspberries makes everything better. Always.
That sending your daughter off to preschool for the first day is joyful and sad all rolled together. Because you’ll miss her. Because she is growing up. Because the years are escaping. But there is fear too. Will she have fun? Will other kids be mean? Will she be safe?
That my goals and dreams I once had for myself are no longer the same anymore. That my dreams now are to watch my children accomplish theirs.
That my life is no longer as important as my children’s lives. And I would trade mine for theirs without a second thought if it meant they were safe. They are my heart. My life.
That the words, “Mommy you are mean,” cut deep. And they hurt no matter how much I try to brush them off. They hurt because I don’t want to disappoint them, but I also have to teach them. So I become the scapegoat.
That when I was pregnant with Scarlett, I wondered how I could possibly love another child as much as I love my first. But then she was born and it happens.
That even after a really hard day with my children, and they are finally asleep, I wander into their room for one last kiss because I miss them.
That when I look down the road to high school graduations, first day of college and weddings, I choke back tears because I cannot fathom how I am supposed to let go.
That those things, the spontaneous vacations, early morning spin classes and sleeping in on Sunday mornings, that is not what is important. Those are not the changes I am talking about. Those are not the things in life I will regret not doing.
But regret being a mom? Never in a million years. So yeah, motherhood has changed me, but most definitely for the better. And I cannot imagine it any other way.