By having a baby you are embarking on an exciting and magical adventure. During pregnancy you’re aware that you are taking on a huge responsibility and that there’s going to be an unavoidable season of chaos but everyone seems to take great pleasure in telling you just how much your life is going to change once you give birth. How it won’t belong to you any more, how you’re never going to sleep again, you’re going to be forever skint, you’re never going to be able to enjoy yourself again, you’ve pretty much RUINED your life, so well done.
Of course things are going to be different, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to be terrible. Not by a long stretch. But parenthood changes so much more than just your sleep cycle. No one seems to concentrate on the positive mental changes to your life that having a child also brings, so here are the 5 most noticeable things I found really changed about myself after birthing our own personal sleep thief…
A newfound admiration and respect for my own parents
When my own mum told me I wouldn’t know what love was until I have my own children, of course, I struggled to fathom the magnitude of just what she meant. I thought ‘love’ summarised my feelings for butterscotch Angel Delight and shiny new Zara heels. But it turns out that wise ol’ owl was right again. All I think about now is Millie and the lengths I would go to in order to protect her, keep her healthy and make her happy. I never realised I had the capacity to love this much and whilst it continues to grow, it continues to terrify and amaze me every day; my beautiful little baby, who grew inside of me, and I love more than I ever could have imagined possible.
And that’s how my parents felt about me. And still do, everyday, for 25 years. It’s weird feeling to finally comprehend that unconditional love. (*Ahem* so yeah, soz for being a brat.)
Now I’m sure many others disagree with me but I have so much more confidence post-baby. My body is awesome, it literally made and housed a person for 10 months and continues now to provide all the nutrition we need to keep that little human alive. It’s amazing not to have that worry about my appearance constantly any more.
My once perfectly perky boobs are closer to my belly button than my chin, my stomach resembles something Picasso created and it kinda looks like I’m wearing an apron made of Babybel cheese when I bend over, but for now as long as A-line skirts exist, I’m totally cool with that.
Compassion and empathy for fellow parents
Prior to having Millie, I wouldn’t have called myself a bad person; I didn’t have an overly short patience and I wasn’t exactly selfish, but becoming a mama has definitely opened my eyes and if there’s one thing it has really given me (apart from a bit of a sore foo-foo) it’s empathy.
It’s embarrassing to admit now, but on reflection before having a baby I could perhaps act like an iddy bit of a beef whistle, rolling my eyes at the misbehaving child in the supermarket, or tutting at the ‘inconsiderate’ mum taking up the whole pavement with her Bugaboo Donkey, I mean how dare she (cringin ‘ell).
Fast forward to now and I’m much less Judgy McJudgerson and a LOT more understanding, it’s like I’ve been submerged in a pool of compassion and it’s so lovely and refreshing. I find myself sharing an understanding look with the tired looking mum in the midst of a baby public meltdown, or receiving a knowing smile from fellow parents that one time every time my little hellion screams a restaurant down at a pitch only dogs and bats should be able to hear.
It’s like a private members club and it’s pretty darn cool.
Appreciation for my other half
It’s true when they say there is nothing sexier than a good dad. I watch them together and it gives me all the fuzzies inside; I’ve fallen in love with him all over again in a way I never knew possible. After the birth, he wasn’t just there for me; he was really there for me. You don’t know love until you see the lengths someone will go to in order to look after you postpartum; it’s intimate and it’s messy, he really was a champ. I don’t think I will ever be able to thank him enough for that.
But don’t get me wrong, it’s a huge transition to go from a lovely life of late nights and endless wine, just the two of you, to then be thrown head-first into caring for a helpless little being 24/7, crying at you through startlingly familiar eyes. As we navigate through the early days of parenthood, we’re certainly both still finding our feet and although we might not agree on everything, we are 100% team-mates and I’m so grateful to have him to share this adventure with.
It’s so important to be able to rely on each other, support each other and when you feel like you’re knee deep in shit (I mean that quite literally), you have someone who can tag in, Tekken style.
Now I’m organised (Kind of)
To say I was an unorganised person is probably up there with the biggest understatements in the history of the world. I’m actually quite surprised I got as far in life as I have. But having a baby has pretty much forced me to get my shit together. No matter what anyone says, your life doesn’t have to change completely after having a baby, you just need to plan ahead a bit more than before.
I’m still not exactly 100%, I mean nobody’s going to be hiring me as a PA any time soon. There’s many a day I forget to put breast pads in (literally most days) or carry a spare set of baby clothes (of course that’s only on the days when a nappy load decides to forego it’s elastic barriers) but I’m definitely much better.
My baby inspires me to be a better person every day and she’s teaching me so much. My life is no longer about just me and yes, I might be a little bit more tired than I was pre-baby, but I’m so much happier.