five ways motherhood changed me

Exactly one year ago I was struggling to make it through a church service. I was 40 weeks and 4 days pregnant, and contractions were hitting hard and often. I sat there squirming in my seat and suddenly translucently pale, yet knowing that it was not the day. Everyone around me swore this was it, the real thing. We ended up slipping out of the service early, and as soon as church was over we were bombarded with inquiries and well wishes. Again we told them it was a false alarm. I spent the rest of that Sunday slipping in and out of the deepest sleep. I'd wake up, request one of my random cravings (i.e. plain noodles and steak sauce), and then be back asleep by the time Tom made it and brought it up to me. By that evening I was exhausted, but definitely not in labor. 

That days seems like another lifetime. I don't just mean that it feels like a long time ago, I mean that it's like a completely different person lived it. I barely even recognize that hugely pregnant and seriously terrified/stupidly cocky girl. When the day of my induction finally arrived I walked into the hospital somehow both willfully clueless and embarrassingly opinionated. I knew that I didn't know a single thing about being a parent, but I thought I knew myself inside and out. 

I'm not sure the exact moment it happened, but that hospital stay completely shattered everything I thought I knew about myself. I've spent the last year picking up those pieces, examining them, and either reshaping or discarding them. The process has taught me a lot about myself and how I see the world. 

1. I don't have nearly as many opinions as I thought. Before becoming a mom, I was an expert on being a mom. I knew all the right things to do and the things to absolutely never do. I, obviously, would never have a kid who was a picky eater or didn't sleep through the night. Parenting was black and white. LOL. Now, I'm just like whatever you have to do to survive, girl. 

2. I'm not just OK with, but thankful for, a night at home. I used to be borderline neurotic about needing to be out socializing and just generally going 100 mph. Now, it's likely that I only slept for five hours and was up for maybe two feedings during that time. Then I spent the entire day making sure a tiny human didn't roll off the couch or swallow a spider. Plus I also attempted to accomplish a few things on my to-do list. Maybe I even took a shower and brushed my hair. So, yeah, I'll spend Saturday night sitting on the couch wearing yoga pants and turn my brain completely off. Gladly. 

3. I don't have to have the answers or be the boss. I'm so, so happy to say that I have no idea. Please, share all your wisdom with me. The stakes are higher than ever before, and my pride is sure as heck not getting in the way. 

4. Changes in my personality and season of life are blessings. I was not going to let a baby slow me down. I was so desperate to prove to myself and everyone else that nothing was different. I was the same old friend I'd always been, always up for anything. No matter how badly I wanted it to be, that was never going to be true. I wasn't the same. I had a baby, and that baby had needs that came before anything I wanted to do. It meant learning to protect Lana's time by saying no to others, and surprisingly it came as a total relief. When I started embracing my new restrictions I discovered that in their borders lived a beautiful, peaceful calm. I'm now quieter, less busy, more introverted than I've ever been, and appreciating that shift in myself has been so freeing. 

5.  I don't need to cling so frantically to my independence. Before getting married I was hellbent on not "just being a wife". Before having Lana I loathed the idea of being "just a mom". I was my own person with my own stuff, and I would not be defined by my relationships to other people. I was offended at the idea of being a wife and mother. I thought I was above it. Now, I'm honored to have those titles. My little family is the thing I'm most proud of in the world, and why wouldn't I want people to see me through those lenses? I'm my own person with my own stuff, but in a much quieter, more assured way. I don't have to fight for it, because it just naturally flows out of fitting so perfectly into my roles as wife and mom. My relationships aren't hindrances to my independence, they're what guide me to know exactly what to do with it.  

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