First Baby on the Way? Your Life is About to Change Forever...and Here's What It's Like

Brooke Duke

Get ready, they told me. Your life is about to change forever.

I had my first (earthside) child seven months ago. The road to conceive and carry her was long. I endured a miscarriage and subsequent grief, agonizing pregnancy sickness to the point I was hospitalized twice and on bed rest for months, depression, and too many medications to count. I felt like she would never get here. I just wanted to get done being pregnant and start being a mom.

And they were right; my life has changed since becoming a mom. But none of them are changes that I would wish away. I am much, much happier as a mom than I was pregnant or even without children. It’s not for everyone, but motherhood suits me in a way that nothing else ever has.

My nights grew shorter, but for a good reason. There were all of those late-night wake ups - but instead of tossing and turning because of insomnia or pregnancy pains, I got to hold my precious baby and nurse her.

There were tears. Sometimes of frustration, sometimes of loneliness, sometimes of overwhelm. But they were much more welcome than the tears of grief and sadness after my miscarriage.

My relationship with my partner changed. Suddenly our lives revolved around this little bundle of joy, making it much easier to put our relationship with each other on the back burner. It challenged us to really focus on making time and energy for each other, and while it was initially difficult, we grew closer as a result.

I gained clarity on the other relationships in my life. I learned who was worth having in my life, and who was not, by their reaction towards my child. I will not beg anyone to be a part of my child’s life. Full stop.

I had to learn how to take care of myself. It’s really hard to breastfeed if you aren’t eating or drinking enough. I had to learn how to keep myself hydrated and fed even while caring for a tiny human. I also learned the importance of naps, and to not be ashamed of needing (and taking) extra sleep.

My body kept changing, and I had to just love it. After I gave birth I lost nearly 30 pounds (I had also lost a lot of weight during my pregnancy due to hyperemesis). Suddenly even my pre-pregnancy clothes were too big. After a while I was able to gain that weight back, and my body was more similar to my pre-pregnancy body. But my stomach was softer. My breasts were fuller, and sometimes saggier. I noticed some new stretch marks and scars. Yet somehow I loved this body even more for all it had been through and the life it had made. I remind myself of that whenever I am tempted to judge it too harshly.

I found the happiness and peace that I had been missing for so long. I found healthier coping mechanisms. I rediscovered old joys. I made music again. I was reborn into this wiser, kinder, firmer, lovelier, more patient being.

Being a parent is not easy. It is never without challenges. But it is also something that I wake up thankful for every single day, and love beyond measure.

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