I’m truly in love with being a mom, and it’s probably the thing I’m most proud of. But as Brandon and I approached the time when we wanted to expand our family, there was some hesitation on my part. Maybe because I’ve grown up around lots of babies and kids so I was pretty aware of their life-altering nature (that does not mean I was prepared for one of my own, until it actually happened). My husband, on the other hand, was an only child for the first eighteenish years of his life, so he falls more in the “blissfully unaware” category.

Looking back, I wonder, what was I afraid of?

I would often wonder how different my life would be after having a baby. I would never get alone time anymore, time to relax, be able to sleep in, time to escape into a good book, and just plain old free time. Wow. Did you catch all that? All of the “me” that overwhelmed those thoughts? Unbeknownst to me, a little 9 lb package was on her way to reset that mindset. A complete overhaul, you could call it. 

Basically, having a baby was a kick in the pants that I needed.

When Aven was only ten days old, I got sick with an infection related to her birth and all that comes with that. My mom was staying at our house to help with the baby, especially during the nights so I could rest between feedings. The second morning I was sick my mom quietly woke me up and let me know it was time for the next feeding. Not going to water this down – I actually said “no. I can’t.”  I was still so drained physically from giving birth and then on top of that, fever/chills/generally feeling like crap…I couldn’t imagine finding the energy to provide nourishment for my daughter. But here’s the thing – I was her only source of sustenance. I had not started pumping any breastmilk. We had no formula. We definitely had not attempted trying a bottle yet. After about five minutes of a pep talk to get motivated to get out of the bed, I did. I wasn’t feeling it. But it was required of me. I like to think of this as one of many “welcome to motherhood” moments. She needed me. In a completely practical, physical, life-sustaining kind of way. How I felt was irrelevant. 

Selflessness and parenting – they kind of go together. It’s an ongoing lesson (and a struggle) to be last rather than first, especially in our self-centered culture. But as a believer it’s something God has called me to – to serve. (And this applies whether I’m a mom or not. It applies to every facet of my life.) 

Selflessness shows up even in the small things. Like having a good attitude in the morning despite how the night before went. It’s a testament to the power your child has over your heart – they may keep you up all night long but when you wake up that next morning (and peel yourself out of the bed and the exhaustion) only to see them smiling sweetly back at you, what do you do? You smile back. Every time. You can’t even help it. 

Mornings have not historically been my favorite part of the day. But now? As tired as I always am, (even when she sleeps all night – I’m still tired), I get to wake up to the sweetest face on the planet, and I get to spend the first moments of my day with the happiest little person you can imagine. Now it’s hands-down my favorite part of the day. There are lots of smiles and snuggles and sweetness. Brandon and I even sometimes fight over who gets to wake her up!
Thinking about it now, I realize there really is no competition between sleeping in versus waking up to a smiley, blue-eyed, babbling little girl child in footie pajamas….with serious bed head. She makes my days brighter. 

Every stinking morning.

So, back to those thoughts I had pre-baby on life post-baby. 
Almost all of my concerns centered around time, and now ask me who I spend all my time with?
My daughter.

Ask me who I want to spend all my time with?
My daughter.

The irony is not lost on me.

This isn’t to say I never crave time to myself anymore (oh, I do! I have introverted tendencies and alone time feels like a necessity to my sanity), but it’s a much more balanced perspective now. Like for instance, showering without a little person staring at me from the other side of the glass door is golden. Blow-drying my hair without having to play peek-a-boo at the same time is much more efficient, although I’ll admit, less fun. Sitting down with a book and getting through a couple chapters before I crash to sleep for the night is totally blissful. Running errands is seamless and eerily quick when I don’t have a 20-ish pound weight attached at my hip.

Ultimately, I believe my fear came from imagining big pieces of the puzzle called my life disappearing completely. How would my friendships and my marriage change? Would I be able to continue to work? I didn’t know exactly what my new life would look like, and that’s a little scary. All of the impending blessings of a child were sometimes clouded by my fears. I didn’t know if I would be a good mom or know how to raise a daughter. 

But now, when I look at my life’s puzzle? I see so many new and cherished pieces locked into place, right alongside all of the old pieces. My puzzle has been changed forever – it will never be the same – it’s completely new. 

And more beautiful than ever. 

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