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Have you ever been in a situation where someone you've known for a long time uses a negative tone to tell you that you've changed? I have. As I stood there speechless, I thought "well of course I have!". I'm proud to no longer be a young, boozing clubber. While those were fun times, I've grown and become a parent, a life milestone that altered every fiber of my being. In my humble opinion, it's the greatest identity change people can go through.

On a spring day in 2019, at the crack of dawn, I arrived at the hospital to evict my baby boy, who seemed to be perfectly content in my womb with no plans to move out. With a head size in the 95th percentile and growing every day past my due date, my OB-GYN recommended we induce. After an arduous labor that lasted two entire days, I finally pushed an 8lb human out of my body. It was a day I had been wishing for, for a decade and preparing for, for 9 months. What I wasn’t prepared for though, is that I myself was reborn on this day too.

It has been scientifically proven that women are not the same after having a child. Our brain chemistry changes, our hormones change, and our hearts expand more than the Grinch’s.

  • Emotions: I had been told on multiple occasions that I was emotionless, which I kind of took offense to, but understood as I didn’t shed tears often at happy or sad things, or experience overwhelming emotions. I think if you experience various traumas in your life, you get good at stuffing emotions down and locking them in an airtight box. Well that all changed. As my heart opened and my world expanded, my emotions became more intense and closer to the surface. Recently, I cried when my coworker announced she was pregnant, when Santa Claus arrived at our street on a red and green decked-out float and even at a sweet Bluey episode.

  • Empathy: I, like many new mamas, experienced increased empathy. Oh, the empathy. You unwillingly feel the emotions of others - both happy and sad. While being empathetic is uncomfortable at times and watching the news can be quite triggering, I feel like it's a superpower. One that allows you to connect with other humans on a deeper level and gives you the gift of patience when being tested by your children.

  • Marriage: My relationship with my husband instantly changed upon the arrival of our newborn. I was confident in my marriage, comfortable and in love, but wasn't aware of how those aspects of our relationship could grow. When your husband witnesses you pee all over yourself because of the preeclampsia drugs being pumped into your veins or helps you get the hang of breastfeeding, all last shreds of self-consciousness disappear. The love I felt for him seemed at max capacity, but co-parenting with him has deepened our bond further than I could have imagined.

  • Risks: For 37 years, I lived for me. If I took a risk, I was the only one who would suffer the consequences of my actions. In my 20s, I did many irresponsible, stupid things. In my 30s, I wised up, but it really wasn't until I assumed the responsibility of parenting that I became quite risk adverse. And I'm not talking about big risks like skydiving, but small risks like driving in the pouring rain, or staying at a park alone with my child when I get uneasy vibes from the other park goers. I became hypervigilant to protect my baby and make sure I stay alive not for me, but so that my little love can grow up with a mother.

  • Stress & Anxiety: The things that used to seem so important and would stress me out, no longer do. I don't need to have my makeup and hair done to leave the house. I don't need validation by others. I don't need to have a perfectly clean house or car. On the flip side, I definitely sweat the big stuff more now. This world can seem so awful at times, and thanks to modern technology, we can see terrible things happening across the nation and globe in real time. My mom reminds me the world has always been both good and bad, and to just enjoy every day. While that's great advice, it's hard to take when you want nothing more but to make sure your children grow up happy, safe and healthy.

When I became a mama, my priorities immediately changed, and I discovered a love so deep it could fill the Pacific Ocean. I didn't just give birth to my son, I gave birth to my heart, so it naturally altered me. And I thank God it did. I'm happier with the person I am today and as my son continues to grow, so do I. So, it's ok to tell me that I've changed - I now take it as a compliment.


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