Four Ways I've Changed Since Becoming a Parent

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Becoming a mother has (obviously) changed me in a lot of ways. I've dealt with tons of gross stuff that I would rather not think about and I've survived the sleep deprivation/actual torture that is the first few months. I've also felt my heart melt by my baby throwing his arms around my neck for a hug and by hearing him say "shoes" in the cutest baby voice imaginable.

Here are a few specific ways that I have been changed, some random and trivial and one that has been life-changing.


1. Early wake ups

James, like many children, has some sort of internal body alarm that goes off like crazy before 6 am. While most mornings I feel like sleeping for another 3 hours when he wakes me up, once I'm up I'm always happy that I get to see the early morning.

I like that I can get to the grocery store by 8 am with no stress, that I am no longer late for 9:00 am church because I've been up for 3 hours already, and that I can make plans for 7 am and actually keep them. The other day I was at the doctor's office (for tendinitis, another parental gift) and the receptionist making appointments asked the man in front of me if he could come in at 8:30 am. He said, "No, that's way too early for me" and I laughed to myself because getting places at 8:30 am is such an easy time for me to achieve now. Being awake early in the morning something that I really enjoy overall (as long as I get to bed by 10:30 pm (not a joke)).

2. Vertigo

I do not know the scientific reason for this one, but ever since James was born I have been plagued with vertigo when I get really tired. When he was a little baby I remember laying down in bed after being up with him in the night and every time I closed my eyes the room started spinning. I would force my eyelids open to stop the spinning, but then when I closed them again out of sheer exhaustion the spinning would begin again. The cycle would continue another time or two before I finally dropped off to sleep. This happened almost every night for the first weeks and gradually lessened as James (and I) were able to sleep for longer stretches.

It's much less frequent now, but when I get really tired the world around me will spin and I'll feel like I'm going to fall over. It's pretty annoying and nothing I've Googled has given me a clear indication if this is actually baby-related or not, but it is definitely tied in with birth/no sleep/extreme bodily fatigue.



3. Hair

Oh, the hair. Every mother of young children can regale you with tales about how her hair changed. Yes, I lost a lot of hair after James was born, but not so much that I felt like I was going bald. It was annoying when it started growing back in and I had an inch of hair growing around my scalp, but I dealt with it. The biggest change for me has been my hair texture. Before my baby, my hair had some sort of wave in it and always dried pretty weird. Now my hair is practically stick straight. I don't blow dry it or anything after I wash it and it dries pretty normal with only a few crazy pieces that I need to straighten the next day.

I have to say, this is one aspect of having a baby that I liked. My hair is so much easier to take care of now and causes me much less woe, although that could also have to do with me caring so much less about it. It's not really on my radar as much as it used to be.

4. Compassion

There's this scene in The Office where Pam says, "Having kids makes you so soft. I used to watch Pulp Fiction and laugh. Now I'm like, 'That poor gimp is somebody's child!'" I've never seen Pulp Fiction, but when I watched that part in The Office after becoming a mother I thought, "Yes, exactly."

When James was in his first weeks of life I would stare at his little face and marvel at the fact that he would become a boy, then an adult, and someday an old man. This is so obvious that it's silly for me to write out, but it hit me that every person on this earth started their lives as a baby. They cooed and waved their fists around, they cried when they were hungry or tired, and they had the sweetest baby smell. They blinked slowly at their parents' faces above them and fell asleep on their parents' chests. They were tiny beyond belief and utterly helpless, yet so soft and sweet.

Thinking about people this way helped me gain incredible compassion for them. I started imagining people as sweet little babies with parents who thought the world of them and suddenly it was easier for me to imagine the love that their parents have for them. Everyone is somebody's child, and multiplying the love that I feel for my baby has helped me feel more love for everyone else. I can see people the way their parents see them, and understand the whole new realm of caring that is parental love. Knowing that we all began our lives as sweet and innocent as my precious baby put the whole concept of humanity in perspective for me. We all began our lives the same way and for that, we are connected.

This feeling of compassion also helped me understand the way that God loves us as His children.  I feel closer to Him knowing that He feels the same type of love I feel for James, only of a greater magnitude. Thinking of people and God this way has completely changed my idea of what it means to love and to care and to sacrifice. And for that change in perspective I will always be grateful that I am a mother.


1 comment :

  1. I have a six-month-old so am pretty new to parenthood! Loved this post! :)

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