When Brielle goes down for a nap and I have a moment to myself, I would sometimes think about life before she came along. There wasn’t a specific point in time when we decided to have kids; we just knew we didn’t want to wait too long. The excitement of finding out I was pregnant was unlike any other. And while the warm feeling of carrying a little human inside me never left, pregnancy and childbirth are not without their own woes. But after actually giving birth and discovering there’s a tiny person who’s convinced she’s a koala and constantly needs to tag on to her mama, I realized pregnancy was in fact the easy part. From the day this baby popped out of me, I am forever a mother. No matter how old she or I turn. Without a doubt, becoming a mom has been the biggest thing that’s happened in my life and I’ve been reflecting on what has surprised me the most.
1. It’s more exhausting than I ever imagined.
Everyone always warns about sleepless nights. And it’s all so true. And more. Even when it was to be expected, living it turned out to be even more exhausting. Days turned into nights that turned into days and it’s all a blur. Life is suddenly a seemingly endless cycle of eat, poo, sleep, wash, change, day in day out.
2. But it’s also so much more fun.
While I expected that having a baby around would be fun, I didn’t expect it to be this fun. The little monkey, with her little nose, little toes, little laughs, and all her littleness, makes it all worth it.
3. Doing it yourself is very doable.
Before B was born, there was a time we considered hiring a nanny, because it seemed like the conventional thing to do. But after thinking about it, I decided I wanted to take care of the baby on my own, and see how it goes. If things got too overwhelming, I would reconsider hiring someone. I figured, it’s my child, I’d better know how to take care of her. Of course things get crazy on a daily basis, and some days are more trying than others. But with the help of R who is quite hands-on (when I tell him what to do) and occasionally my mom, I’m managing fine. And I wouldn’t do it any other way.
4. How much weight your body can hold.
I consider myself weak in body strength. Brielle was born at 3.2kg, and now at 10 months, she is 10.4kg. Big for her age, she is almost one-fourth of my weight! And this little lady is sure she is a koala, so her favorite place is me. Which means I get to carry her most of the time and I don’t even know how. I guess my body automatically takes on a you-do-what-you-gotta-do mindset.
5. Tiredness fades?
After a while, my tired body self-adjusted to being normal. As in being tired is normal. Which means even though I probably feel tired, my body is telling me that it’s normal. In that sense, I suppose I no longer think I feel tired. It’s just a state. A state of being a mom.
6. The number of days I can go without shampoo.
I used to wash my hair every day. And now I think, how redundant.
7. The snuggle is real.
Before actually becoming a mom, sometimes I would imagine the kind of parent I’d be: disciplinarian and tough. If there was to be a good cop/bad cop situation, I’d surely be the bad cop. But since B’s arrival, I’ve never been able to be apart from her. I spend literally all of my hours and days, with her. I don’t mind that I haven’t been able to do the things I did on a regular basis before B came along, like say going to the movies. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Granted she’s only a baby, but I think I’m turning out to be the opposite of bad cop.
8. How much babies need you.
I always figured yes, of course babies need their mothers. But I didn’t realize just how much. I’m almost never with B, and even though I have the option to let my mom babysit, I’d really rather be with her. There was one (seriously the only one time) time I went out to dinner with some friends, and in about two hours’ time my mom was calling. In the background I could hear B crying inconsolably to the point she was gasping to catch her breath. It made me especially uneasy because she is usually very comfortable and content with my mom. I rushed back home and when I got to the front door I could still hear crying. But the moment I picked her up, it stopped instantaneously. At that point I realized it didn’t matter how many toys or people surrounded her, she needed me.
9. Nothing else really matters.
The baby is truly the center of my universe. In everything I do or don’t do, I think about how things may affect her. And the rest of the everything else going on in the world? They just don’t matter all that much.
10. Where have you been all my life?
I can’t imagine my life without Brielle. It’s like she’s always been with us all this time. And I can now relate to every cliché I hear about being a parent and having a kid. You think your life is content and fulfilled, until this little person comes along. Suddenly there are parts of you in thoughts, feelings, and aspirations you never knew you had. All because of this one tiny person.