Motherhood didn’t “change my life”.

This is something that people say to new or expecting moms all of the time: “It will CHANGE your LIFE!” I remember the first time someone said that to me and the feelings of fear and uncertainty and curiosity filled my stomach and heart. Obviously becoming a parent is a huge deal. I often described it as your house being flipped upside down – you still have the same stuff, but now you just have to put it together again, in a different way!

However, becoming a mom didn’t change my life, it has taken me to a place in my life where I was always meant to be. This event didn’t alter the natural path of my life, it is simply a part of my journey, and most notably an inevitable part. This was supposed to happen, my life wasn’t supposed to go any other way. I am still the same person, the same soul, the same mind, the same body. Did it open my heart more? Yes. Did my schedule need to be re-evaluated? Yes. Am I a different person with a different identity and a different life? Nope.

Can we say something different to expecting moms? Something like: “your journey into motherhood is a beautiful and perfectly timed phase in your life.” or is that too long, too drawn out for average small talk from strangers in line at the co-op?

I think a lot of women my age (I’m 27) who want to have kids eventually are hesitant to have kids at a young-ish age for various good reasons, one of them being that we want to feel established in our career first, “discover ourselves” (as if you stop discovering yourself after a certain age or something…), live out our 20s with tasty sounding ideas like “freedom” and “adventure” until we are “ready” to “settle”. But here’s the thing, if you end up having kids earlier than you may have planned, you don’t have to give up all of those awesome things! And you most certainly don’t ever have to “settle” (well, unless settling is a positive thing for you).

When we found out we were having a baby, it became my my mission to create a reality for myself that included still having a dreamy job and still being able to go on plenty of adventures while also being a good mom (and I feel SO UNDESERVINGLY LUCKY to have these things as accessible opportunities). All things aside, my identity isn’t anchored to or defined by whether or not I have children. I have a choice to frame it how I want to. I can adopt the attitude formed by traditional ideals that impose pressure on women to not have jobs or have fun or leave behind their passions when they become moms, OR I can choose to have a different attitude. I don’t have to “do it all” or “hustle” 24/7, but I can still choose to live a full and happy life. If there are things in life I want or that I am passionate about, I will do the things to make them happen in the most balanced way I can to ensure that I am happy but also that I can show up for my family.

I have decided that me living my fullest life can only be good for my relationship with my son. I want to do things that make me happy because being happy influences my child to be happy. It’s contagious. If I was sad and angry and stressed and resentful all of the time about not “being able” to do things I want to do, that’s going to pass on to my child too.  So, I guess in one way I am changed, by the way I direct my energy and actions (and for whom I do so). I’m not just pursuing happiness for myself, but I am doing it for my son and for my husband and for everyone I have relationships with, for that matter. It’s a new meaning of love for me, and I feel it everywhere.

Sure, there’s always going to be guilt, anxiety, anger, stress, fear, etc. in parenting, but there is also joy, comfort, release, surrender, happiness, contentment, spontaneity, laughter, one million cheek kisses, and absurd amounts of love. Becoming a mom has lead to so much self-discovery and adventure. I am letting things go that needed to be let go of, I am learning a lot about myself, I’ve found more meanings in love than I can count.

The bottom line though, is that I am not a different person because I had a kid, I am the person I was meant to be, and I strive to be a better person every day.