Courtesy of Candace Ganger

7 Ways My Baby Changed My Life Before They Were Even Born

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Before I gave birth, everything around me started to change. Some of the shifts were noticeable (like moving and choosing a different career path), but others were subtle differences in my attitude, decisions, and overall feelings about the future and all it had to offer. Things felt a little brighter and a little more hopeful, knowing I'd have more than myself to look after. I was excited to see how the journey would unfold. My baby changed my life before they were born and, without a doubt, those changes made me better.

During my first pregnancy with my daughter, I tried to hold onto the way life was pre-baby, and for way too long. Honestly, I was scared of becoming a mother and, as a result, I was unprepared in every way possible. Those early days of morning sickness and sonograms were surreal and beautiful and terrifying. It was all new, straddling the line between overwhelming and amazing and, yet, once I accepted the changes as they came, things started to fall into place and the whole motherhood thing felt a little more real.

Pregnancy and labor and delivery and postpartum life and motherhood in general? Yeah, those aren't easy things to endure. At least, they weren't for me. Not at first, anyway, but as I started embracing the moments as they hit me, relentless though they may be, I stopped missing out on forming so many amazing memories that I cherish to this day. So, with that in mind, here are some of the ways my baby changed my life way before her birth.

I Became More Focused

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I had a full-time job, was freelancing on the side, and had just started thinking of going back to school when I found out I was pregnant. Apparently, life had other plans than the ones I was considering. Not only did this pregnancy start with a bang (as in severe morning/all day sickness), I developed hypertension early enough I was put on bedrest.

So much changed so quickly, and I had to re-think my career goals as a result. I'm so thankful my pregnancy happened when it did, though, because it forced me to think about what I really wanted from life, and what I didn't. Though not always easy financially, weeding out things that didn't bring me joy (but also paid) was a fulfilling, everlasting change I still embrace to this day.

I Took Finances Seriously

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Once I thought through what I wanted to do with my life and what paths I'd take to get there, my partner and I had to sit down to calculate how financially feasible it would be. At that time, it made more sense for me to stay home, grabbing freelance work wherever I could. Even with sporadic, sometimes measly pay, everything helped carve a name for my future self as well as pay our bills at the time.

We stumbled and fell a lot early on, because we'd never had to deal with so much responsibility at once. Money was always tight but we made it work and, today, I'm doing what I love while paying the bills. I realized long ago not to settle, and I thank my first pregnancy for forcing me to find creative ways to stick to that mantra.

I Became More Responsible

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There's no way around the inevitable, dear reader. I'd always been pretty responsible, though having another person I'd have to provide for made it more intense. No more going out every weekend, because we needed to save money. No more staying up late, because my body needed to rest. Whatever it was I'd normally do before, I had to think and re-think, to be sure it was in everyone's best interest.

I Thought Decisions Through

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Being pregnant meant thinking about what my baby needed. If I wanted to go somewhere, do or eat something, I couldn't just do it. I'd sit and think about the chain reaction first. Was it in the best interest of my child? Would it be worth it? How would it affect my pregnancy? Every little thing became a big thing because, ultimately, I wanted to make the right decisions for my girl.

My Health Became Priority

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Because of my morning sickness and hypertension, I was extra cautious when it came to how much and how often I was on my feet and/or what I ate. I still gained quite a bit of weight (from the bedrest), but never before had I been so focused on making healthy choices. It's something that stayed with me long after my baby was born, and thankfully, produced a healthy baby at delivery.

My Partner And I Re-Evaluated Our Relationship

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At the time of my first pregnancy, my partner and I had only been together just over a year. We didn't plan for a baby or marriage or really anything, to be honest. There was love there, for sure, but we were so young, and the relationship was so new, that my pregnancy caught us by surprise. Luckily, everything worked out for the best.

Before my baby was ever born, we talked a lot about what we wanted, how we'd make things work (or not work), and how, no matter what, we'd co-parent the best we could. Because of those necessary conversations, we eventually got married and have now been together 13 years (and counting).

I Accepted The Fact That It Was No Longer Just About Me

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The bottom line here is that my baby girl helped me grow up. She taught me how to think of others more, and myself less. Before she was ever born, she changed me for the better by giving me a reason to be a better version of myself. It's because of her I was able to open up and love someone more than I ever thought possible. For that, I'm forever grateful.