Did Becoming a Parent Change You?

March 24, 2011

Twins 10 weeks old

I can’t help but smile when she says it.

“I’m not going to let having a baby change my life…”

She says it with such earnest conviction, almost as if she is challenging the universe to prove her wrong.

I don’t say anything. I doubt I could convince her now, even if I wanted to. I know she will find out her own truth soon enough.

Regardless of the choices we make as parents. Even if we continue our 6am visits to the gym or return to work after 6 weeks. Even if we still eat out at fancy restaurants or still go on spare of the moment camping holidays. Even if we sip lattes at our favourite cafe and see every new release movie. Even if we choose to do all the things we did before we became parents, we can not escape the fact that we are forever changed.

Before I had children I was responsible for myself. Just me. Sure, I cared about what happened to the people I loved but I was not responsible for their existence. Day to day, moment to moment, all I had to think about was myself.

That changed the moment that second line appeared on the pee soaked stick, and was totally blown out of the water when two tiny babies were cut from my belly.

Suddenly I was responsible for another life, or two.

Since that moment, apart from worrying about myself, now I also have other people to worry about. There are human beings who are dependant of me for life. That is a sobering thought.

That thought alone was enough to rock my world and to change me forever.

A lot of things in my life changed when I had my first babies. Some changes I chose happily, others seemed forced upon me. But those external things, the going places, doing stuff kind of things… those changes matter little when confronted with the enormity of being someone’s mother.

baby 4 weeks old

I am someone’s mother.
I will never again only be responsible for myself.

Even as my children grow up and their need for me to be physically there lessens. As they grow up and I no longer need to make decisions on their behalf. As they grow up and the things I do and say shape them less and less. Even then, when I no longer need to be responsible for them, I know it will be too late. I am already different, my life has already changed, more world has already been rocked and I will always always have a little bit of me invested in them.

I will never again only live for myself.

Having a baby (or two, or four) changed me.
Instantly.
In ways I never imagined.

{The above images are all of my babies, as babies. The twins are ten weeks old, 1 week before their due date and the day after they came home. The boys are both about 4 weeks old.}

{ 19 comments }

Leah March 24, 2011 at 10:38 pm

beautiful babies and a beautiful post *sniff sniff*

PlanningQueen March 24, 2011 at 10:38 pm

Gorgeous post Kate and one I can completely relate to. I really got to know me better when I became a mum.

katef March 25, 2011 at 8:29 pm

oh that is so true! I got to know and like me better when I became a Mum!

Shae March 24, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Having children changed me SO completely I don’t even know where to start.

And my ovaries hurt after looking at those pics

Deb March 24, 2011 at 10:42 pm

I’ve never understood it when people say things like that, and it’s even more basic – if you don’t want your life to change, why are you having children? If your life it perfect, exactly how you want it, or you don’t want it to change, why have a child?
As you say – of course it will change. How could it not?

Kate March 24, 2011 at 10:44 pm

Beautiful babies <3

And yes to everything you've written so eloquently.

Kellie March 24, 2011 at 10:47 pm

So well written. Becoming a mum allows us to see the world in a completely new light. How else could we understand unconditional love, but from our beautiful babies!
Adorable photos too. They’re just gorgeous bubs. :)

Christie-Childhood 101 March 24, 2011 at 11:24 pm

Never the same again.

And you know, many of the mothers I have met who have adopted the ‘I wont let motherhood change my life’ mantra have really struggled as they began the motherhood journey.

Aussie Mum March 25, 2011 at 1:09 am

Oh so true. Becoming a mum gave me a whole new respect for my own parents and grandparents!

Megan at Writing Out Loud March 25, 2011 at 6:43 am

As someone who was very often heard saying those words – “I won’t change!” – I can completely relate. It seems silly thinking back – anything that happens to you changes you in even a small way; how could I have thought that something as major as becoming a mum wouldn’t?!

As Christie says in her comment, going against that change makes things harder – and it did for me. I had so many ‘rules’ for myself, to make sure I stayed the same person. It’s inevitable though, and the more I’ve come to realise that and go with it, the better (and more relaxed!) I am as a person and as a mum.

Beautiful post, Kate.

katef March 25, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Do you think that sometimes we don’t want to think about how much it will change us because it is scary? Something too big and too unknown? Something we are just not sure how to face?

Deb G March 25, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Love it. And Kate, I am just in the middle of writing a blog post on this very thing myself! Very timely and I promise not to steal a thing. :)

katef March 25, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Feel free to steal anything you like… and make sure you send me a link so I can come read!

Kate from An Amazing Child March 25, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Becoming a mother changed me so profoundly. I can’t even remember what my husband and I use to do before our beautiful son was born. All I remember was that we met true love on that day.

keepcatebusy (Cate) March 25, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Oh goodness – wouldn’t it be a complete and total shame if being a parent didn’t change us! To think how much I’ve grown and changed all for the better…life would be so dull if something as miraculous as new life didn’t change us even a little bit :-)
xxxCate

And those pics are making me so clucky!! stop it!! :-)

Super Sarah March 25, 2011 at 8:43 pm

I too smile when friends assure me that their lives won’t change. They just don’t understand that nothing will ever be the same again, the nights they will spend just standing over a cot watching a baby sleep, the times they will maintain their composure over a little child’s distress only to weep in the bathroom the moment they have a second to themselves. I am so full of emotion since becoming a parent, I don’t just feel life for myself, I feel it for both my girls too and sometimes its overwhelming, bad, but mostly just overwhelming and DIFFERENT in the best possible way!

katef March 25, 2011 at 8:48 pm

“I don’t just feel life for myself, I feel it for both my girls too” – oh yes I love this line… it is so so so very true!

Martine March 26, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Yes gorgeous post. And what we usually find, is that those that think they arn’t going to change are definately the ones that have the most trouble relaxing into the role. One of the biggest lessons I have learnt from parenting, is that if you cant be flexible, adaptable and prepared to roll with the punches…then you are far more likely to struggle!

RachM March 28, 2011 at 12:37 pm

I actually said something silly the other night at dinner with my football friend…something about being a mother that implied I wouldn’t always be. It was just a slip up and he called me on it, and I realised, oh yeah, this is forever!! Now that’s a sobering thought :).

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