Choosing to have a baby seems like such a simple choice. What is one more person in the family? Love will certainly multiply with the addition of that pink or blue little bundle. Having a baby is the natural next step in your relationship. How can 8 lbs. 2 oz. change your life? Being a parent won’t change that much, you think; and then, she is born.
You have an eight week maternity leave and the blessing of your mother willing to watch her when you go back to work. You’re luckier than most. So you start back to work, but you feel like you’re split in half. This has been a life changing event. When you’re at work, you think of the baby. When you’re at home, you think about your work. You don’t feel totally present in either place. Finally, you’ve had enough. You have to make a choice and the choice is clear: you are a mom. You turn in your resignation. The feminist side of you that swore you could do it all cringes. But your sweet baby’s smile puts everything back in perspective. Her baby sweet smell is better than any self-help book to help you regain your composure . . . at least for the moment.
After days and nights of no sleep, your husband begins to wonder what happened to his wife. You barely have time to shower. You’re exhausted. The house is beginning to fall apart. He can’t understand why as “only” a stay-at-home mother you can’t make it out to the store. He thought that adding a baby would be just that adding not changing, but you are both surprised by the changing going on. He misses his wife and hasn’t quite adapted to you being a mother too. Your relationship needs some time to adapt to these new life experiences.
As you daughter grows older and becomes more independent, she does so with a capital “I”. “No” rings clear from her mouth. Her tantrums would be scored at a 9.7. You are reduced to a puddle. You cry that you once were a competent woman. The only solace that you and your husband take is that if your sweet princess can say “No” so confidentially to you then she’ll be safe from future drug dealers and peer pressure.
A few years later, as you’re shuttling your two children in two different directions and are instructing them to eat quickly while you drive because you are running late again. Suddenly you come to the realization that your life is no longer your life. Your calendar is filled with baseball, dance, and scouts. Oh, wait! You do have an appointment Tuesday at 10 am; but that probably doesn’t count since in is just your annual physical.
That night as you are tucking your children both into bed, you and your husband look back into their rooms, look at each other lovingly, and know deep in your hearts that adding children to your family was the best decision you ever made. Becoming parents has changed your mindset about what is important in life. You have learned that sometimes the unexpected can bring you more joy than anything that you could have planned.