So many people told me that life after children would be drastically different. Yet, when they shared this bit of truth with me, I could often sense a sneer or a bit of cynicism that turned the wonder of impending parenthood into something I needed to fear. As my pregnancy progressed, I found myself increasingly uneasy about what would happen to our simple life. I knew things would change. But how?
There were things I could easily predict. No more weekends away without planning. No more lingering over dinners in swanky restaurants. No more thinking solely about myself or my husband without another little person to consider. The truth was, however, we did not do these things very often anyway.
When my son was born, I learned for myself what would change. Yes, life was different. Yes, he impacted our days. But seeing it all from a positive slant helped us to embrace the new direction our lives had taken.
Before his birth, our lives were a blur. We rushed needlessly from place to place and yet would find ourselves arriving late. With a baby in our arms, life slowed down. It took time to get ready, and hurried babies cry. We planned and plodded and prepared our little family before going anywhere. There was a mindfulness to it that I loved.
And, as we moved from place to place, event to event, this slower walk allowed us to see the world around us. We stopped to study the leaves on a tree and share them with our son. We pulled over when he cried. The “do-it-right-now-ness” of current culture released its grip on us as the rhythm of nursing a newborn became the metronome of our days. My baby’s birth slowed us down and helped us to focus on what mattered most.
Before his birth, we knew people but did not ‘wonder’ at them. We had many friends and family that we deeply loved, but with a baby in our arms we became aware of the miracle of life. We spent hours staring at this new family member, simply amazed by his ability to move, his face when he yawned, his surprise at a sneeze. We gazed at him and took video of him doing absolutely nothing at all. His firsts were incredible to us, and we cried when he cried and laughed when he laughed and then cried again because hearing his giggle so moved us. We could see God’s work before us, concrete and clear.
Our amazement at this new person transferred into a new way of looking at others. Seeing the miracle of human development from a broader perspective caused us to wonder at those around us, as well. My baby’s birth gave us new eyes with which to see people and that was a gift.
Before his birth, I knew my husband and he knew me. We knew each other as people, as employees, as spouses, as friends. We knew the details of each other--our personalities and experiences and gifts. But, with a baby in our arms, we saw each other in a brand new way. I saw my husband’s ability to love, to care for, to nurture in way that was fully renewed. And watching him adore our son drew us closer as we sought to do this parenting work as a team. New gifts were unveiled and new support was needed and all of that built our marriage in a way that we could not expect. As I became the mother I had always dreamed of being, as he became the father he hoped he would be, we found a depth to our love and commitment to one another that blessed our marriage and blesses it still. My baby’s birth helped me to see a bigger, wider, deeper version of the man I already loved.
Yes, there were hard days. There were tired days and sick days and days when the crying reigned. There were days when I cried out regularly to God to give me the grace I needed to give my child. But, we sought to see the impact of this little life from a positive perspective. We embraced the change his birth brought us and eagerly embarked on the life we were given.
This work of loving and raising our kids is a task that changes frequently. But there is something about that change that keeps the day-to-day living of life interesting and intriguing. We can go in fighting to keep what we had or embrace what is before us today. My life is different, and drastically so, from the life that I lived before. But journeying through with my family nearby has deepened my days and helped me to see that if I had to choose today, my old life or this, the decision would simple and quick.
Becoming a momma has impacted my life. And I would not change a thing.