I was president of my mom’s group a few years ago. Every month, our newsletter included a President’s Greeting. It was usually a cheery preview of the month’s upcoming activities. Since I’m not very good at cheery previews, I used the space to write my own personal thoughts on motherhood. I am including these on my blog for my children to read one day.
April 2007: I just read an advice column for new mothers, and the columnist said, “To state the obvious, a baby changes everything. And he or she does so by magnifying everything, whether it’s love or anxiety, joy or exhaustion.” Yep! Ain’t that the truth?!
That really struck a note with me, because not only did having a baby magnify my external life, but it magnified me internally too. When I became a mother at the ripe old age of 29, I was under the impression that I knew myself inside and out. I thought I was pretty much in control of my life and myself, and I thought I was pretty patient and even-keeled. A little emotional maybe, but a stable person in general. HA! (My husband’s going to get a laugh reading that part!) I have no idea what fantasy world I was living in, but it all crumbled a bit for me when Katie was born. Postpartum depression aside, I found out more about myself in the first year of being a mother than I did during all the other life crises I had experienced up to that point.
I learned that I’m stronger than I give myself credit for, and I also learned that I’m weaker too. I learned that I need people – my husband, my family, my friends. I’m independent, but still dependent. I developed a deeper faith by looking at my choices as a parent and comparing them to the choices that I think God makes for me as my parent. I learned that I need a certain amount of sleep to function, and pulling all-nighters in college was nothing compared to sleep deprivation compounded by breastfeeding and running a household. Becoming a mother made me more compassionate, more aware of the passing of time, more in love with my husband, and more appreciative of life in general. It also made me more aware of my limitations. And as time passes, being a mother has made me more understanding and – my mother would be chuckling to hear me say this – more forgiving of my own parents.
How has parenthood changed you? Look back at the last few years, and give yourself a pat on the back for the great job you’ve done, the growth you’ve accomplished, and the education you’ve received. While some of it might have been painful at the moment, it is pretty amazing to see how much the human spirit can adapt and overcome and grow. You’re doing a beautiful job, Mom! Keep up the good work!