There are so many popular posts out there about the horrible aspects of motherhood. There is all kinds of talk about the sleepless nights, yoga pants, and stretched out body parts.
To be honest, I am so tired of them. When did we stop celebrating motherhood and start dismissing it as though it comes with a warning label; “may cause the following…”. Certainly, not all aspects of motherhood are beautiful or glamourous, but for the most part, we all walked into this journey willingly. Additionally, we all got an enormous gift out of it. There are people in this world who ache for a child, and I feel absolutely privileged to have been able to carry 2 to full term.
As such, here is my own personal list of things you will no longer recognize after having a baby.
1. Your heart: be prepared for that heart of yours to stretch beyond belief. Take the happiest day of your life, multiply it by infinity, and that will give you a fraction of an idea of the capacity your heart will have to love after you have a child.
2. Your eyes: prepare to see things in a completely different way. Your husband, your parents, your friends, your world…you will view them all differently. My mom told me time and time again that no matter how much I loved Tyler before we had kids, I would see him in a whole new wonderful light after. It is so true…watching a big man coo and tickle a little baby changes everything in such a good way.
3. Your hands: Never before have your hands had such a purpose. There is something to be said about a mother’s touch, and your hands are now the lucky ones that get to smooth your child’s brow, hold their hand as they cross the street and rub their back before they fall asleep.
4. Your arms: Used to cradle your little one, the arms now hold all of your strength. Your child feels so safe encircled in those arms, and will nod off to sleep as quickly as they will wiggle and squirm to escape the 96th embrace you have trapped them in that day.
5. Your resiliency: not technically a body part, but nonetheless something you didn’t realize you had so much of. How are moms able to function on so little sleep, or when sick, or worried or sad? We just do, because we have to and want to. Never before in my life have I had a greater draw of responsibility as I do to my kids. It takes a lot for me to admit that I am not able to care for them and ask for or accept help. Whereas before kids a stomach flu would have knocked me out for days, I am now able to mostly soldier through, because my babies have needs too.
6. Your voice: did you know that your voice could hit those high pitches? I love that I have no shame belting out a song with my 2 year old in a grocery store, or talking like a goober to my newborn. Both my babies have fallen asleep to the repeated “ahh ahh ahh” coming out of my mouth. Both turned and recognized my voice before anyone else’s as new babies.
7. Your back: I had no idea how strong my back was before my children came along. I carried my 32 lb toddler around everywhere, even when I was full term with Gracer. I go through the day being a human jungle gym. I can carry a carseat, baby bag and several bags of groceries at the same time. I am able to crawl and jump and play with my children, thanks to the strength of my back.
8. Your mind: hello multitasking! Mothers have been gifted with an ability to multitask like no others. Who else can talk on the phone while sneaking bites of lunch, painting with a child and answering toddler questions? Who else has the patience to answer the question “what’s that?” for the 67th time that hour?
9. Your hips: no, I am not talking about them spreading. I am talking about their amazing ability to accept the weight of a baby as you go about your day to day tasks. Your hips are a now a wonderful tool for closing drawers and doors, scooting dogs out of the way or pushing in chairs. It is like having 2 extra hands!
10. Your mouth: from kissing boo boos, pretend eating toes or testing hot food, your mouth has a whole host of new duties to perform. I know my lips caress my daughters’ heads at least a hundred times a day.
I know people find comfort in others being honest about the realities of motherhood, but I think it is time to step back and remember what it is really all about.