I remember seeing a commercial a long time ago that said Having a baby changes everything. They weren’t kidding. My life now has virtually no semblance to life before becoming a mommy. It’s only been eight months, and I am changed for forever.
My hips are wider. My belly is rounder, much rounder. And soft. I have stretch marks everywhere. My boobs grew. And the worst part is the weight gain. Pre-baby, I was about a size 7. I don’t know if I will ever be that size again. I’ll jump up and down with pure, radiating joy if I can just get down to a 9, and even then, it’s going to take some determined will power. My hair grew really thick, luxurious, and shiny when I was pregnant. Now, so much of my hair is falling out that I leave little trails of hair wherever I go. I’ll never have to worry about getting lost… just follow my trails of hair and you will find me. Oh, and we can’t forget the circles under the eyes from lack of sleep or the telltale bloodshot eyes and swollen eyelids from endless nights of staying up crying with a colicky newborn.
The emotions you experience after you have your baby is like the being on the bumpiest roller-coaster of your life with a poor restraint system that leaves you feeling like could be ejected from your ride at any given moment. When I gave birth, I experienced the purest form of elation as I held my newborn son tightly in my shaking hands. I looked into his precious eyes as he squinted under the bright lights and thought about how this was the one moment I had been waiting for my entire life; holding my child. Then, that feeling of elation gave way to sadness and anxiety, the worst of which lasted just shy of two weeks. Although the intensity of the those feelings gradually waned, they still lingered for months afterwards. The entire experience was so new, so exhilarating, yet so daunting that it sent my mind into a tailspin. It felt like a dream. Those early days melted into one another like butter melting into warm bread. It’s all a blur… all the sleepless nights, residual pain of childbirth, and the intense pain of the first few weeks of breastfeeding made it hard to really enjoy everything.
Now, my emotions have evened out for the most part, and I think that finally being able to get a decent night’s sleep rejuvenates the soul like no other. Granted, Nathan still does not sleep through the night, but I am still able to get a good chunk of 5 or 6 hours of sleep in before he wakes up to eat. When you are rested, you are able to attack the day and can handle problems that arise with strength and certainty rather than dejected tears and doubtfulness.
Money is tighter. Babies are pretty expensive… there are diapers, formula, clothing, baby furniture, and toys to pay for, and that’s just naming a few. We go through diapers like crazy. Nathan has so many diaper changes per day that I could change his diaper in my sleep (ok, well so I’ve already done that on more than one occasion, resulting in said diaper being put on WRONG). He’s like an ETERNAL FOUNTAIN OF PEE. I wonder how many diapers he’ll go through by the time he’s potty trained… Hundreds? Thousands? MILLIONS? I bet it really is millions, isn’t it?
Our free-time has changed. Actually, Paul and I have NONEXISTANT free time, meaning it all gets eaten up by our little guy. Before we had Nathan, we would go out every weekend, sometimes grabbing a bite to eat but other times just enjoying each other’s presence, going on hikes together, or taking drives and enjoying the scenery. Now? Now, I spend all of Nathan’s awake time keeping him happy and making sure his needs are being met. His nap times are spent cleaning up the house and taking care of things that I can’t get done when he’s awake. We still don’t get much free time after Nathan goes to bed at night because that’s the time we have to cook and eat dinner and for me to take a shower.
I can no longer leave the house with just my purse, keys, and cell phone. Now, I have to have extra milk pumped, remember changes of clothes for Nathan, diapers, wipes, toys, teethers, blankets…
Sleeping in does not happen anymore. When Nathan wakes up, he lets us know that he’s awake and ready to be entertained. Recently, he’s started fake coughing to get our attention when he’s ready to get up. If you have kids, you probably know what I’m talking about… the coughs that are so superficial that they sound almost dainty. And he does them multiple times in a row, sounding like a broken record of dainty coughing. Yeah, no more sleeping in.
Leg hair grows. Yep, those days when you could take long, relaxing showers have been temporarily wiped off the face of the planet. Gone are the days of enjoying the steam and shaving my legs on a daily basis. Now, I consider myself lucky when I get the chance to shave once a week. Twice a week and I think I’ve died and gone to heaven.
And don’t even get me started on sex… We ALL know how your sex life will never, ever be the same as it was before you had children. Spontaneity is gone. Time is no longer on your side. However, once your children are big enough, there are always sleepovers. With friends. At THEIR houses. You gotta grab that alone time while you can!
Becoming a mom changed me in the most wonderful ways imaginable. I know what it feels like to love a child so deeply, so devoutly, and so unwaveringly that you would do anything on this Earth for them. There is no other feeling in the world like being a mother. It’s awe-inspiring, amazing, indescribable, and terrifying all at the same time. I wouldn’t change anything about it.