The truth is... having a baby does change you.
I totally forgive any childless (or those who are consciously child-free!) folks for noticing. I’m lucky to have so many wonderful, understanding friends in this category, but I can see how parents can be a bit annoying in this way.
Still, it’s not completely our fault. A big part of you wants to be the same person as before, but it’s just not quite possible. Something big has shifted.
When I had my daughter, I was on a mission to prove to myself that nothing had changed (though I really didn’t recognize that at the time).
My husband and I went out for our anniversary dinner a month in. Halfway through dinner my breasts were bursting (painful!) and by the time we got home, I just grabbed my daughter and sobbed. I missed her so much it physically hurt. Not a huge success.
But I just wanted my “old self” back so bad. I was someone who would book a girls trip to Vegas with a silly amount of frequency; someone who just tried out stand up comedy in my late 20’s because I’d always wanted to; someone who loved last minute, completely spontaneous meetups.
But logistically, these things just weren’t possible anymore.
And then when my son came along... Holy shit I was tired! I wasn’t even up for pretending that a dinner out with a one-month-old would be fun. My life was about finding sleep wherever I could, full stop. Survival mode.
Now we’re nearly six months in with two and it’s starting to feel different. More than manageable... it’s fun. Life is taking shape in a new, better way.
Motherhood can immediately fit like a glove, or it can be a very difficult transition, or, probably most often, it employs some myriad degree of experience from in between.
But motherhood, like water, will find its level. That expression, about water, is all about integrity.
And living your life as a new Mom, with integrity, may take many forms: maybe you’ll discover being kickass stay at home mom is your calling; or maybe you’ll jump back into the work force with intentionality that can only come with being a working parent; or, again, maybe your experience will be something in between, like most people.
Whatever it is that feels right for you, it will materialize. You’ll become that person and you’ll no longer miss your “old self” because it’s not a straight dichotomy like that.
You are still yourself, and so am I. Actually, you’re even better. You’ve reached for something significant and challenging, and come out the other side.