6 Ways You Think Differently Of Yourself After Having A Baby
Having a baby was such a powerful and life-changing moment in my life, I couldn't help but categorize my existence as Before Baby and After Baby. Having a baby changes so much about the way your perceive the world, the people close to you, and especially your body. There are so many ways that you think differently of yourself after baby arrives, even if you didn't expect to change that much at all.
Since I didn't get pregnant until I was 30, I thought that my sense of self was pretty rock-solid and wouldn't change much, even after I gave birth to my son. However, so many things shifted after he came into this world. In the first days after his birth, I had to contend with the physical changes to my body and the symbiotic relationship between the two of us (with his dependency on my milk and my dependency on him nursing in order to provide him with more.) I knew that nursing would be intense, but nothing prepared me for how incredible my body was for being able to feed and nurture my son.
This is just one of the ways I felt differently about myself after having a baby, but there were other ways, too. I felt wiser, and part of something much bigger. Cosmic, even. Motherhood is mind-blowing, y'all, so you really can't help but be changed by it.
You'll Feel Like You Know Things Most People Don't Know
In the days after having a baby, you'll feel like you've had a crash course in medicine and childcare and have become intimate with parts of your body that you maybe have only glanced at hesitantly after a rather enthusiastic bikini wax. Whether you like it or not, you now know some things that you can't un-know (even if you tried).
I personally couldn't wait to tell everyone about my birth experience because I found it horrifying and fascinating at the same time. I couldn't believe no one had told me or prepared me for what had eventually gone down during my delivery, and I felt like it was my duty to report it to everyone in the civil world.
You Feel Like You're Now Part Of A Very Elite Group
You used to not really notice other moms on the street, but suddenly you're really woke to all the moms pushing strollers or struggling to open a blouse to feed a wailing baby. Now, you exchange a millisecond of a glance with another mom and you get this feeling like you just understand one another.
You do. You're now part of the Circle of Moms.
Once you have a screaming baby in your arms, you are in this club. And even though there are times when you probably wish you could have been inducted into a different kind of club (one perhaps, where you get foot massages, or people throw you parties with lots of booze), for the most part you are now surrounded by women who truly understand what it is like to walk in your shoes. It is the truest definition of sisterhood, and after giving birth, you've never understood the word better.
You Are A Little More Forgiving About Your Perceived Physical Imperfections
When your body looks and feels like a horror show, any improvements in the aesthetic department are a welcome relief.
I felt like a gruesome troll immediately postpartum, because of my stomach and my c-section scar. When things started to fall back into their normal places a few weeks later, I felt like the heavens had parted and some magical forces had bestowed small gifts of beauty on me. Pre-childbirth me would have been like, "Oh hell no," when I looked in the mirror. However, post-baby me was so happy to see a stomach that no longer bore an angry, red scar and huge indent from the inflamed tissue, that I didn't really care about things that bothered me before (like stomach flab or extra weight on my arms).
You Start To Learn To Respect Your Own Boundaries
If you were the type of person who said yes to everyone's demands of you (ahem, guilty) and was everyone's answer to everything, boy are you likely in for some changes. A baby is a giant drain on your emotions, time, patience, and (at the worst of times) everything in your spirit. You will probably find yourself reevaluating relationships that feel more like they deplete your energy than feel positive.
After I had my first baby, I started a long journey on establishing some boundaries – with friends, and most importantly with family members – in order to preserve energy for the people who needed me most: my partner and my baby.
You Recognize Strengths You Never Knew You Had
Sure, babies can try your patience and make you feel like you want to pull out your hair or get a one-way ticket to Hawaii. However, more than likely, you will spend many nights calmly attending to a screaming, squirming, peeing-in-your-face little creature all while humming and telling yourself it will all be OK.
Do you know how freaking hard that is to do? And how strong you are for getting through it all? Also, let's pause for a moment to appreciate the dedication and resolve it takes to feed another human being from your own body. Right? I know!
You Will Probably Care Less What Other People Think
As a kid, I used to be horrified when my mom drove my brother and I to school in her rollers and bathrobe. I couldn't believe that she wasn't embarrassed to be seen like that in public, especially when I wouldn't leave the house without a perfectly coordinated outfit.
After having a baby, I realized why she gave zero you-know-whats. After being surrounded by half a dozen people in a hospital room poking and prodding at your vagina, what do you have to prove anymore? Modesty really went out the window for me, starting with the first few minutes of my admittance to the hospital room, when a cute male attending stood there as my ass hung out of my hospital gown while my back faced him as I talked to my nurse. Not like he cared, I'm sure.
The not caring what people think has only served me well, because I spend way less time getting ready in the mirror these days and more time doing stuff that matters to me and being with my kids. So for me, it is a win.