Heading into motherhood, every woman is aware that life is about to drastically change. On a basic level, it’s really just obvious that sole responsibility for a human life would shake things up a bit. Also, from the minute a bump is visible, moms to-be are literally bombarded by stories and words of wisdom from friends, family, and colleagues about how things will never again be the same.
I can tell you this: no matter how many babies you’ve spent quality time with, no matter how many books you read, apps you download, stories you hear, or questions you ask, you can never be fully prepared for motherhood.
When your sweet babe arrives it feels as though your entire life is a box of loose puzzle pieces that have been strewn about and need to be reassembled. Everything is different. You have new and indescribable emotions, and sometimes your heart is so full you can feel it when you swallow. You have stretch marks, and loose skin, and you kinda pee a little when you laugh. Your definition of love is altered. Self care is something you now need to set time aside for. And your relationships with your spouse, friends, family, and pets all shift. How could you ever fully prepare for that?
But despite all of this, when the puzzle pieces do finally reassemble, your life will be more meaningful than you can imagine and your days will be full of simple joys. You will become programmed to live for the little things. And I think that’s the best way to live.
Recently, my cousin asked me what has surprised me most about being a mom so far. At first, it wasn’t easy for me to answer. I’d been so caught up in momming that I hadn’t stopped to really reflect on what I was learning about myself along the way.
I’m only six months deep into motherhood, and inevitably there are many more surprises to come, but here are the five things that have surprised me the most so far.
Mom anxiety is no joke
Despite the fact that I am very social and a definite extrovert, I have always been a nervous person. In early adulthood I would spend countless hours senselessly analyzing the silliest things, sometimes holding myself back from social outings or from taking safe risks simply because something about the situation worried me. Over the past decade I have made a very concerted effort towards not sweating the small stuff and conceding that there are some things I simply can’t control or change. I was doing really, really well at this. Until the day our son was born.
I have never felt anxiety like mom anxiety. Literally everything, and every scenario worries (and sometimes panics) me. I would need a separate blog post to have enough space to list the things that I worry about and overthink on a daily basis.
I will never be able to repay my own parents
Since becoming a parent, I see my childhood and my relationship with my own parents in a new light. I grew up knowing that I had great parents who provided for me as best they could, and I was of course very grateful for this. But I had NO clue about the level of selflessness that goes into parenting and the blindingly incomprehensible love that a parent feels for their child.
It’s mind blowing for me to look at my son and think that my parents love me the way I love him. It’s a pretty warm and fuzzy realization.
Also, since our son was born my mom has been an absolute blessing. The favours, support, gifts, and general thoughtfulness she has sent our way are so substantial that I sometimes actually feel guilty. There is no way I can ever repay her, aside from ‘paying it forward’ by being the best mom I can be for our son.
It was possible to love my husband more
The day my husband walked into my life is the day I started living a life I feel really proud of. He is my light, the best part of every day, my very best friend, a total hunk, and he brings out the truest parts of me. Pre-baby I truly believed that it was impossible to love him even an ounce more. I was wrong.
Seeing those big arms holding our itty bitty son gets me every time. He’s just the most amazing, hands-on, fun, fearless, and gentle dad. Being a father brings out qualities in him that I would have never seen otherwise, and falling in love with these ‘new parts’ makes everything feel new and exciting again. It’s the most remarkable thing to find new love with the same person, over and over again.
I feel more beautiful as a mother
Every momma has lived the truth that carrying and delivering a baby is not easy on your body. Post baby, everything about my body is different. Some things bigger, some smaller, and some things sore, striped, and saggy. Despite all of these changes, somehow I feel more beautiful as a mom.
There’s a care free confidence that came over me after delivering our son. Part of it might be that I no longer have time to worry about my appearance. But when I look in the mirror, no matter how tired I am, I just look…happy! Even my stretch marks (as annoyed with them as I sometimes am) put a little smirk on my face because they remind me of how powerful and adaptable my body can be. And that’s absolutely beautiful :).
I’m terrified to return to work and leave my son
I have spent a decade crafting my career, making so many decisions based on jobs, loving what I do, and building a good chunk of my identity around my accomplishments at work. Some of the people I’ve most admired and cared about over the years have been colleagues. Despite this, the thought of leaving my son all day to return to work makes me feel horrible. I do miss my peers, and I’m excited at the prospect of having adult conversations, being reminded I’m great at something aside from being a mom and wife, and returning to a career that I really do love. But I am 0% excited to leave our son. It’s still six months away and it makes me feel physically ill.
To all the working moms out there who have already gone through this transition, I salute you. You’re tough cookies. Also, please send me allllll the advice because I’m gonna need it. Help!