Well, tomorrow is my first son’s first birthday and I have about a million emotions running through my veins today. It’s impossible to make sense of them all, but they are all facets of either excitement, disbelief, or a strange kind of sadness. It’s insane to think that one year ago Harry was still living inside of my body, getting ready to take one of the biggest, hardest (quickest) journeys of his young life.
The last year has been the very best year of my life. It’s held some of the most rewarding moments, some of the happiest tears, and some of the toughest times. I’ve slept less than ever, smiled more than ever, and shed enough tears to fill a lake, but it really, really has been the best year of my life. I feel like I was born to be Harry’s mama. Not born to be a mom, no, but born to be Harry’s mama. I don’t question my instincts with this boy, and so far, they’ve all been pretty good.
I’ve changed in so many ways over the last twelve months – some predictable, some surprising. I can only imagine this little boy is going to continue rocking my world and changing me for the rest of my time, and I am so thankful for that. He has made me a better person, without a doubt. That’s the thing about the people you love, they make you want to be better. Harry did it and his Papa did it before him.
So tomorrow I’ll put on the dress I wore the day I met my little boy for the first time, and take about three million pictures, mental and digital. I’ll probably cry more than once, and I’m sure I’ll laugh the whole day through. But today I’m thinking about all the ways motherhood has changed me, and I’m here to share just a few.
My heart grew. I’m serious. I’ll admit the thing we all feel but don’t want to say when we’re thinking about having children: I was worried I wouldn’t be able to love this little baby enough because my heart was already full of love for his father. But boy, was I wrong. My heart grew enough to not only hold all the love I have for Harry, but all the extra love I have for Jon. That’s something they don’t warn you about – the second you have a baby, the love you have for that babies other parent quadruples by the minute. Sometimes the love spills out in tears (for no other reason but how much love I have for the two of them) but somehow my heart grew.
My pant size shrunk. I was not expecting this. Sure, the first few months where I lost the baby weight, I expected. But due to the change in my diet, the discipline in my workouts, and the breastfeeding, I’ve shed the baby weight plus 10 pounds and my butt is higher. I really have a much healthier diet and my new (this year) squat rack to thank for those extra 10 pounds and the lifted booty, but Harry brought on the healthy diet and the need for a squat rack in my garage, so I’m chalking this one up to parenthood too. Plus, breastfeeding.
I started eating healthier. It began with cutting out dairy because Harry was having a bad reaction to it, and realizing I was lactose intolerant. Then I cut out simple grains and realized I feel about 100 times better while sustaining a healthy diet. If you can pick it from a tree, dig it from the ground, or find it on a farm, I’ll eat it. And having a clean diet of whole ingredients only (read: no processed foods) really makes me feel so much better. I even have more energy now. And the extra bonus? When Harry started eating, he was able to eat everything I was already making – because I was eating so healthy.
I cried, a lot. I cried because I was happy, I cried because I was sad. I cried when I was proud, frustrated, in love, overwhelmed… I just cried so much. As a crier, I’ve always been prone to watery eyes, but there’s just something about sending your heart to live outside of your body that makes you want to cry even more.
I became more disciplined. There is nothing like a baby to rock your schedule like nothing else. I learned to do things quicker and more efficiently. I learned that unless I make the time for something in advance, it’s probably not going to happen. I learned to have a routine and a schedule, but to be ready to break it at a moments notice.
I became more flexible. On the other hand, having a baby teaches the most rigid Type-A’s to break up the routine and be a little more go with the flow. The minute I felt like I had a finger on Harry’s schedule, he’d change it up. So I learned to be flexible.
I started living for someone else. I’m selfish, I’ll be the first one to tell you that. Before I had Harry, I was legitimately worried about how I would handle the lack of sleep and early mornings when I was so used to my 8-9 hours of beauty rest. I worried that I’d miss doing things on a whim, seeing movies, choosing activities based on my wants and needs. When Harry and his sweet little dinosaur arms reached for me the first time, that all changed. Everything I did, I did for him. The midnight (and 3am, 4am, etc.) feedings didn’t bother me. Waking up early was fine, if that’s what he needed. I will drop everything to dance with the little boy who pulls on my shirt when the right song comes on. It was like someone flipped a switch and I was completely selfless when it came to my son. And I love that feeling.
There are so many more ways my little boy has changed me, all for the better, but this post is veering on the rambling side and I’m ready to sit here and dream about the last year. If you take one thing from this post, take this: being a mother, being Harry’s mother, has changed me forever – in the very, very best way possible. I can’t thank my little guy enough for that.