There are a handful of experiences that shape our lives in a significant way. They are different for every individual, of course. One of the most significant is having a child. Being a parent is amazing. It’s hard. It feels impossible at times. And of course, you will find that EVERYTHING has changed.
There is a human being that I grew within my body for 9 months (Let’s be real, it’s longer than 9 months, but I won’t get into that now), gave birth to, and now needs everything done for it. Literally everything. Everyone tells you that being a parent is so incredibly difficult, it’s exhausting, the hardest thing you will ever do, but nothing can prepare you for it. No amount of reading, research, or anything can prepare you for the emotional and physical exhaustion, the inner turmoil, and all the indescribable feelings that you feel as a new parent. I’ve joked that if people knew exactly what they were getting into with having a baby, would anyone do it? Even knowing what I know now, I would do it all over again.
I was so terrified. I know my husband was terrified. And as two people with professions that required training that taught us a great amount about children (a social worker and a nurse, if you aren’t familiar with us), you would think that we would be totally prepared. Not even close.
But when I looked into his eyes for the first time, and held that little being (Ok, so he was not so little, being 9 pounds and 21.5 inches long) that I had been feeling move inside me for so long, it was absolutely indescribable. This isn’t a picture I have shared with very many people, and it is a very emotional picture to me, but it only captures maybe 1/1000th of the emotions I was feeling that day.
I’ve found strength I never knew I had. I’ve become more exhausted than I thought possible, and I have pushed past that to a state of fatigue that my pre-baby self could have never imagined. My marriage changed drastically, but in an incredibly positive way. Not only are we eternal companions, but we are the mother and father of an amazing child of God.
It is all worth it.
I also have a sacred role in raising an amazing spirit. Getting to know his beautiful personality, hearing those sweet giggles and coos, and watching him experience the world for the first time is absolutely incredible.
Parenthood is more than late night diaper changes and feedings, it is more than bathing, it more than rocking a fussy baby. It’s an unbelievably daunting responsibility, as well one of the most rewarding experiences this life has to offer. My life has changed forever, but I wouldn’t go back for anything.