How did your baby change your life?

Updated Oct 12 2015
WANT BABY. Photo by shanelkalicharan, used under Creative Commons license.
I'm way past the age where everyone I know is getting pregnant. At 33, I'm at the age where many of my friends are having their second child and dealing with toddlers. But, for me, this is the age where I'm finally considering having a baby of my own. Considering is not the word. Obsessing. CRAVING.

Maybe it's because I'm no longer sane about it but I feel like a baby is just going to fit right into my life (parents out there, I can hear you laughing!). My husband is terrified, but I'm ready to just jump in. I get that bringing new life into the world is life-changing. I get that my life will become more difficult. Perhaps it's something you can't understand until you have one, but I want to try.

How did having a baby REALLY change your life? — Sara

  1. Mostly it has just made me much less self centered. I do still have non-baby related interests and spend time on myself, but my life basically revolves around her and I'd do anything for her. Practically it makes everything more challenging since my child free friends still have this idea that I can just drop everything on a moments notice to go to lunch. I can't be very spontaneous, I need to plan! It takes longer to get ready, longer to get out of the house, longer to do chores. Basically double or triple the amount of time it takes you to do anything! Having a kid has been life altering, butmostly its fantastic to love this tiny little human more than anything and feel proud of myself for becoming more responsible and stepping up to new challenges without hesitation.

    • this.

      my son is nearly 9 weeks old, and it seems like he's always been here…even though he's basically just arrived.

      the newborn and early infancy is the hardest, because you and your partner have to give everything you have to a helpless baby. and you love doing it but you really have no time to yourself or to give to each other. it is hard, but wonderful. especially when your baby smiles at you.

    • I have pondered your comment last night. I have heard the things you say before – from my friends, but also here. This response really makes me reconsider wanting children.
      'double or triple amount of time for every task' and 'my life revolving around her' does not sound that appealing to me (I do not mean this in anyway as a judgement to you, I am talking about ME). It seems to me that most people at some point in their life get an urge/baby crack/crazy and then procreate, bypassing rational thought and/or their own life goals.
      I imagine that this point of view dramatically changes once you have the kid. How would you moms describe the benefits of having children?

      • "How would you moms describe the benefits of having children?"

        I feel like a lot of commenters have already touched on this, but it's basically the biologically-driven "explosion of love" sensation that makes all the hard work worth it.

        Other things that are awesome: getting to relearn the world through your child's sense of wonder, gaining a sense of what your own pre-memory childhood might have been like, and the awesomeness of teaching and watching a little brain learn.

      • I know, Hannah1cestmoi.

        I am too debating wether or not to have kids, because it supposedly alters all the things I care about, but it's somehow still the best thing that will happen to me.

    • I agree with this. My life actually feels happier and more full than before, but (at least with an infant– my daughter is almost 7 mos old) it can't be me-centered anymore, it has to be her centered. This sounds like such a… I don't know… condescending parent kind of thing to say? But it's true, and yet at the same time it's not as bad as it sounds, because suddenly I don't WANT everything to be about me.

      You also hit your rhythm as a parent and figure out how to do the things that are important to you. For example, I haven't done much sewing since my daughter was born– something I really enjoyed when she was pregnant. But I HAVE kept up on my running, cook all the time, and have managed to hold down my full time work-from-home job, three things that I love and that are really important to me. I also get plenty of down time, but it's kind of centered around my daughter's schedule. It's hard to explain. The essence of your life and your interests don't change when you have kids, but the rhythm of it does.

      All this is to say– don't overthink the decision. Expect it to be more difficult to do what you love after you have kids, but also make a few big plans (for me, Thanksgiving dinner and a 5K race) for after the baby is born that you will find a way to do. If you approach parenting with a full heart, you'll find it in you to love so many parts of it that you never expected to. Good luck!!

      P.S. Having limited time and limited me-time or us-time actually makes a lot of things sweeter. When you can't do something (or someone… hehe) whenever you want to, the times when you CAN are all that much better. Seriously. Before I had SO much free time (didn't even appreciate how much) but I don't think I enjoyed it as much as I relish my free time now, I wasn't as disciplined about running, wasn't into reading such good books, etc.

  2. Having a baby made me want to be healthy. I drank orange juice with brewer's yeast in it every morning I was pregnant. BLECK! And I cut way down on smoking. (Pathetic, I know, but that was MAJOR for me at the time.) I walked as exercise for the first time in my life. And that was just the beginning. Yoga and meditating took on new charm. I began to see myself – my overall wellbeing – as role model and that meant changing a LOT in my life but I suppose the biggest change was the new reason for getting up in the morning. Someone loved and needed me more than anyone ever had. My life mattered more than it ever had and I couldn't let my munchkin punkin down. Still don't want to let you down. πŸ™‚

    • I'm starting to try now, and already finding this. I'm actually taking a vitamin tablet (pre-conception but also has pretty much everything else in it) regularly for the first time, making a conscious choice to eat much better and am even thinking about cutting back on coffee (that hasn't gotten past the thinking stage yet though! I figure I can have one vice atm).

      Even if we don't have a baby for a while, I know I will definitely feel the benefits of being healthier too, but this has given me the motivation I needed.

  3. Yes yes! it took me a long time to get here too (due to both personal feelings about it and circumstances) but I'm 34 and expecting my first. I'm eager to hear what other mamas have to say on this, since I'm both excited and scared about what's coming in a few months!

  4. The obvious answer is the lack of sleep and free time. My social dynamic changed a lot as well. Fewer nights out with friends and more nights in with partner and baby. But the biggest change is my level of empathy for all children both real and imaginary. When I read about a child being injured or dying, whether in the news, a blog, a book or TV show, I am lost in the tragedy. I weep and cry and hug my son. That sort of stuff never bothered me before and now it has a direct line into worst nightmare section of my brain.

    • Heather, you just wrote exactly what I would have. I have become obsessed with sleep and time – and not having enough of either.

      And I'm glad I'm not the only one that has a real problem with seeing suffering. I swear it seems like every book/movie/tv show has a sick or dying child. We need a new trope!

      • Yes! Both my guy and I found ourselves in tears at a (of all things) Star Trek DS9 episode thanks to bringing our offspring into the world. Also, I always just kinda ignored birth scenes in TV/movies, and now my lady parts cringe whenever those scenes pop up

        • No biggie. DS9 made me cry, like, all the time. When Gul Dukat's daughter died, I don't even have kids and that made me a little weepy. Or when Lal told Data she's love him enough for the both of them? Totally TNG, but major tear jerker just the same.

    • When the post came out last week written by the woman who lost her baby my husband found me on the couch, tears pouring down my face. I couldn't get it together for an hour after reading it. I attribute my empathy to being a mother.

    • When the post came out last week written by the woman who lost her baby my husband found me on the couch, tears pouring down my face. I couldn't get it together for an hour after reading it. I attribute my empathy to being a mother.

    • When the post came out last week written by the woman who lost her baby my husband found me on the couch, tears pouring down my face. I couldn't get it together for an hour after reading it. I attribute my empathy to being a mother.

  5. I'm going to say that overall it didn't change a whole lot about my life. There are little obvious changes; like I need to plan more to go out (but a lot of the time Anique just comes with me); it takes longer to get out the door (add in 30min to wherever I go); I'm definitely more aware of what I eat and how I behave as an adult (I want to be a damn good role model); lots of sleepless stressful nights; and I sincerely love someone so so intensely that it hurts.

    But otherwise my life is pretty much the same. I still play rugby twice a week, I still coach rugby, I am still finishing my registration requirements for architecture, I still own my own business, I still sometimes go out at the drop of a hat, I still get tattooed, I still bike (there was a hiatus when Anique was too small to be in a bike trailer or wear a helmet).

    I still basically live my life like I was before, its just a bit more full now that I am a parent. I am super happy and I love my life, its a precarious balance but so far it works. πŸ™‚ I just get to play more, give more hugs and kisses, and definitely there can be more stress, but its fantastic!

    • I could have written this response, just substitute "roller derby" for "rugby" and take out the "get tattooed" and "architecture" parts. Plus, a lot of things are way more fun, like grocery shopping (baby loves riding in the cart!), sneezing (oh, it's so hilarious!), and going for walks.

    • Pretty much this for me: "I still basically live my life like I was before, its just a bit more full now that I am a parent."

      There was definitely about a year of newborn/infant intense times, but once we moved out of that development phase, life feels pretty similar.

      Oddly, the most notable NO REALLY IT'S REALLY DIFFERENT thing for me is that I can't take naps whenever I want. I have to coordinate my passing out with my son's passing out.

      • YES! I agree with all of this (where did that "THIS" button go?) and especially the sleep thing. You just made me realize that the way I sleep is one of the biggest differences. Before I would always stay up as late as I could get away with and sleep in whenever I could. Now sleeping in isn't really a possibility, but I wake up to a baby at peak cuteness (that has to be a survival mechanism!) rolling around and making happy noises, so it's ok. And now I go to sleep early gladly, because I know I have to take sleep when I can get it. Had you told me that I would be this way before I had a baby, I wouldn't have believed you and I would also have thought it sounded pretty horrible, but it's actually nice.

  6. It's forced me to be considerably more patient and to embrace the day to day more than worrying about tomorrow – truthfully, babies can't be bothered with your plans. Also, I had to learn that it's okay to cry sometimes. My husband has said that having our daughter has softened me… maybe it has. We certainly do laugh a lot more than we used to (truth be told, infants are ridiculous – from the facial expressions to the sheer volume of defecation).

  7. Having a baby made me want to be a better me. I have always had that natural Mama instinct so that didn't appear like it did for some but for me it made me take better care of myself, physically and emotionally. I focused and still do on the fact if I am happy and healthy then I can be the BEST Mom I can be. I love being a parent.

  8. It's the small stuff that actually feels like a big deal: I average about 2 showers a week, and I leave the house by myself only about twice a MONTH. (It's probably different for people who have family around or work in a double-income home.)My house is messier. Outings are shorter (gotta get home for those naps!). If you're carrying and giving birth to your baby (I don't wanna assume!) then the physical changes are big, too — my sex-drive isn't back to normal, and my once-"curvy" body is officially a fat body.

    All that said – it is fucking wonderful. It's a ridiculous paradox.

  9. For me, I experienced a lot of really intense and sudden changes (not showering as often, not getting out of the house on my own as often, etc.) people have mentioned in the first six or so months of my son's life. We were also exclusively breastfeeding, which was a huge part of it — once he started eating more food and it became obvious that he wasn't primarily dependent on only me for most of his care, this changed. Now that he's three, the biggest changes are still the way I structure my day, since it's usually around what's he's doing. I have to plan when I work, when I see friends, when he sees friends, when I spend time with my husband, etc. around things going on with our son. This is totally fine and is a part of parenthood I anticipated, but of all of the major changes, the way having a child altered my time is the most persistent. I imagine it'll be that way for many, many more years. πŸ™‚

  10. I can't imagine my life without my girls. I have three. Ages 17, 15 & 12. But it started off the same, my whole world was changed the moment I became pregnant with my first one. I made better decisions overall for "us". I have lost countless hours of sleep from having a newborn, teething, fevers, worried about when they were coming home from a date and more. On the flip side, I have gained compassion, empathy, confidence, the ability to teach, love beyond measure and laugh like never before. I've been blessed. I've enjoyed every stage of raising my babies. Each are so different yet strong & independent. I can see myself in my daughters…not just physical traits but personality as well. And everyday, I'm inspired to be better than the day before. Best thing I've ever done! πŸ™‚

  11. It made me a crazy planner and a more comfortable just going with the flow. I now eat healthy and endulge in treats. I found a new love of excersise and adore lounging around.

    I found balance. I find myself seeing both sides of things more. There is much less black and white. Before my baby I had life pretty settled. And post baby I'm exploring the world of "a little bit of everything". It took a whole year to feel this balance and that year is rough. Hang in there!

  12. Hving a baby made me forgive. This was something SO hard. Having a baby made me realize I cant hold onto the past, hurt, scars, pain that my parents caused. Having a baby helped me realize that because I realize the damage my parents caused me not to want to be the same. I because emotionally and mentally a better person. Of course I want to be a role model physically. I have started eating better. More so, having a baby has made me a better wife and women. I love my little Bean πŸ™‚

  13. Having a kid is both the hardest and best thing I've ever done. I turned 33 just after giving birth, and am a mom to a 3 year old. At this point many of my friends are working on baby 2. My life for the first couple years was pretty centered around my kid, but we still traveled (she's been to 7 countries-we are in Europe), went to playgroups, did swimming class, etc. I am lucky to be a full-time at home parent, which definitely has been just as challenging as rewarding. I suffered from post-partum depression, which didn't start until the baby was 6 months old. During that time especially, my husband and I, while being loving parents, were not very loving with each other. We've definitely worked on that bit it's still challenging to have patience and understanding after a long and trying day spent catering to a small person's needs to then be expected to also provide for an adult. We try to avoid job/at-home stereotypical roles, but there are some aspects you can't avoid and that creates tension. We definitely don't get out as much, having little available family nearby and not too much cash for babysitters. (I do childcare swaps with friends occasionally.) I am a lot healthier (if still fatter!) We changed our eating and exercise habits in order to set a good example. I want to have energy for my preschooler. I care immensely about what she eats and having a balanced diet. I used to be quick to anger but now I am more patient, and practice being loving and caring. I see how she is affected when I am short with her or not paying attention. I sometimes feel depressed/angry that I never seem to have the time or energy to devote to my hobbies. That I sometimes want to sit with a glass of wine and an episode of Mad Men instead of rushing off to sew something, even if I do complain that I never sew anymore. I never take long walks with my dog anymore because once my kid no longer wanted to sit in the buggy it became too much work with the kid and the dog together.
    If you are ready to have a kid, then go for it! It's never going to be rainbows and puppies, it's a very hard job raising a person. But it really is 100% worth it. I desperately look forward to bedtime and then I miss her like crazy when she's asleep. She is my most favorite thing in the entire world.

  14. Things I Expected Would Change with Kids:

    * Less self-centered (no sleeping in, conscious evening buzz management to avoid hangovers, planning activities my child would like, and/or adjusting grown-up activities to cater more to kids having fun alongside, etc.).

    * Thinking twice about how we (me and husband) socialize… a night out on the town now = dinner and drinks (and whatever else the night entails) PLUS baby$itter, and it all adds up quick when you tack on $10-15 per hour you're away (unless you're one of the lucky ones with family nearby who will babysit for free).

    * Do a lot more daytime socializing (and drinking) with kids in tow, in backyards as opposed to restaurants or bars; "happy hour" has taken on a whole new meaning– in a good way. πŸ™‚

    Things I Did Not See Coming with Kids:

    * Forced to check my assumptions about myself and the world on a daily basis; forced to explore my own "issues" in an attempt to be a thoughtful, intentional and nurturing parent (instead of being a conditional, authoritarian parent demanding strict obedience and inciting fear).

    * Parenting is HARD work! (Very rewarding work, but very hard.)

    * More of a home-body (and loving it).

    * Need to be more intentional about investing time and care in my marriage (happy marriages just don't happen– you still have to work at it, and the carving out time for it becomes harder with children on the scene!).

    * Career de-celeration (and loving it). I had been running a non-profit and working 70-80 hrs/week. I now work part-time from home for the same non-profit in a less leadership-oriented role, with the assumption that I'll return to a more demanding job when my kids are older/more independent.

    * The chasm that can happen between you/your spouse and your friends; those with kids "get it" (the schedule, the naps, the tantrums, etc.) and those without kids don't (that's a big generalization and there are exceptions, but it's striking how vast the childless/child-filled life divide can be).

    * Differences in parenting styles may impact your pre-existing friendships, and/or force you to navigate those waters carefully (example: your kid's a hitter and your friends' kid is the hittee and the friends/parents don't like how you respond to your child's behavior, and/or yell at your child "for" you, and/or suggest you "do something" when you are doing it your way but maybe not the same way they would respond).

    * The chasm that can happen between people who have kids (you) and their friends who are trying but for whatever reason(s) can't conceive. Even the most empathetic friends/parents of children can be assumed to "not get it".

    All of this being said, parenthood is one of the most joyful and challenging and amazing experiences I've ever had. Another person posted something about parenthood being a paradox, and I wholeheartedly second that notion.

  15. It changed my belief system, my prudishness, my capitalist spending, my sleep, my processed foods… We bought a house and started a mini urban farm for crying out loud! We wouldn't change a thing!

    • Same here! Well, except for the farm, which is our longterm goal. I'm slowly heading into suburban homesteading (I'd rather barter or pay in cash than run up more debt since we're almost debt-free), just for the practice so that the farming learning curve isn't quite so steep. Both my partner and I have changed so much since we had kids. We're happier, nicer, have a better sense of humour, more communicative, calmer, more empathetic, less judgemental, slightly more social… and the biggest change: We're no longer homophobes.

  16. I haven't been going out much for years so it wasn't a big transition. To bars or anything I mean. I'm more into crafting these days and I still find time to craft. I just strap my baby on and go wherever. I am now 7 months with my second and my first will be 18 months when this one is born so I imagine that will be a big change. With one kid you are still very mobile and one kid is easy to manage, well my one kid was. He is very agreeable. In fact, I find on grumpy days the thing that helps most is going out, which suits me best too πŸ™‚ gives him stuff to look at and do. it did change my focus. I used to be very work focused and I loved my job. now I'm back until this one is born and I really couldn't care less about work. I cant wait to be back home again focusing on my family. I really didn't expect that change. I am a very independent person still, but just differently than before.

  17. I was young and naive when I had my daughter — barely 19. To me it was the next natural step in my life, finish high school, get married, have babies. I know that's crazy but it's what women in my family did, and the finishing high school part was optional!

    I can barely remember life before motherhood. I was a teenager and then I was a Mom. Honestly, for me, a baby did fit right in. I think sometimes people overthink the baby issue. Of course there are challenges. Parenthood can be frustrating, heartbreaking, exhausting — all those things we hear about. But once that baby is there you just DO IT, ya know? You just do it.

    How did having a baby change me? It gave me goals, purpose, a reason to get an education, a reason to not snort things into my nose, a reason to take a deep look at my own childhood wounds and, eventually, having a baby made me a grandmother which has brought about some of the most wonderful changes of all.

  18. I think I expected and embraced the tangible stuff – the lack of sleep, the not going out as much, the greater amount of mess around the house. That kind of stuff is easy to see through the experiences of our friends and I could logically wrap my brain around those kinds of changes.

    I didn't count on the emotional changes inside of me. I teach middle school and I have noticed myself being MUCH more gentle, considerate and more forgiving with them since having a child. I struggled with the concept of my "new" identity – who was I WITH this child. For awhile after her birth, I felt splintered into two people: pre-baby Laura who was fun, spontaneous, loud, fit, funny, outgoing, etc. and post-baby Laura who had a different body shape and took her role as mother WAY too seriously. Granted – full disclosure here, I was diagnosed with PPDA when my daughter was 4 months old – I was desperately trying to be the PERFECT mother because I looked at my daughter and saw the purest most perfect creature and I wanted her to have the absolute best chance at life. Now as the mother of a 14 month old, I realize that she doesn't want perfection….she just wants me and that's all that matters.

    My daughter is now 14 months old and I don't see myself as two people – I'm just ME….that same woman as before, just now with a totally awesome minime following me around.

  19. My first isn't due for a few more weeks, but my life has already changed a lot. As a lot of people above have stated, my whole social dynamic has taken on a new life. A lot of my friend will still call or text me late or expect me to have all the time in the world to gallivant about. But truth be told, I am exhausted! I have felt bad saying no, so I have been overextending myself when I should probably be resting the most. A lot of my friends do not understand how exhausting being pregnant can be, so they just call me "grandma" and laugh at me. I am hoping that after the baby comes, they will wisen up to the fact that my priorities are much different now.

  20. 1. I have tried since my daughter's conception to have my parents argue less with me, but Eva is turning two soon and it's hard to get a narcissist to agree to stop being a dick. So I no longer speak with my parents, because I don't want to turn to their parenting tricks. Maybe I will begin speaking with them next year.

    2. I paint less, partly out of time constraints and partly because I am much more careful about coming into contact with toxic items. I sew and draw more than I used to.

    3. I have grown (through effort) much more compassion, tolerance, and patience.

    4. I can't stand violence against animals or children in television, movies, etc. Not a minute of it.

  21. My partner and I were still drinking everyday, occasionally dabbling in substance, and Hitch hiking to explore small islands in our areas on weeks we would book off, when we became pregnant (conceived in a drift wood shanty we created muahahah!) So needless to say we had to change everything about our lifestyles!
    No more none stop parties, No more hitch hiking!
    We got a nice place, and started living the typical white heterosexual life style. It was a huge adjustment, and for a bit we fought like cats and dogs, but as the tummy got bigger we slowly came to peace with our new life.
    We became happy with our house, turned it into a great nest, and loved our quiet lifestyle.
    We still went camping, but after I hit the 7 month mark I realised that I needed more luxurious items, I tried to sleep on the ground and couldn't move the next morning!

    I learned that I can not do everything on my own! That its ok to accept help.

    I learned a lot about community, which for someone so on the edges of social convention was a huge epiphany.

    Since the birth we have constantly changed and adapted to what ever phase Aurora is going through. From long days spent in bed breastfeeding, to weaning, to sunny days spent outside on the hill.

    I learned moderation, empathy, compassion, and love.

    She saved us really. If it wasn't for our daughter I don't think that we would be where we are today, and where we are us pretty amazing.

  22. It's funny because many friends/acquaintances are having kids right now and we just had ours last August, and I have been very good about NOT going on and on to them about how much having a kid changes everything. But since you asked…

    Basically, having Olive changed everything in a very profound way. My perspective is more long-view, my anxiety level has risen, my patience has grown, my ability to focus is both less and more. Less in the sense that I am even more haphazard than I used to be and more in the sense that I realize that I must do what I can to take care of my family. I have realized that I will never be truly carefree again…but that's ok, because I had plenty of carefree years and the trade-off of knowing and raising Olive is incredibly worth it. I will ALWAYS worry about her…that part is hard because ohmygodsomuchcanhappenoutinthescaryworld but I will just have to learn how to handle it. I feel more grateful for the many, many blessings in my life, biggest of all this amazing baby.

    On the not-so-deep side, my husband and I often marvel at how we used to just decide–minutes before leaving the house even!–to go have dinner in the city. Like, just up and go–wow! Or how heading to a friend's happy hour after work was no biggie…now it involves major planning (we share a car though, so that's a big part of that). Making time to see friends takes MUCH more planning, especially if they have kids because naptimes must be negotiated, etc. I was never a big drinker or partier so staying home more isn't a big deal for me…in fact I crave time with my family more than anything else.

    Oh man. Like I said I could go on and on, but as much as I hate to be all like THAT about it, it really is something that you just won't totally get until you're there. And of course, it's different for everyone!

    • Oh and two other things…I can't stand dead-baby jokes now. Used to be funny…SO NOT FUNNY now. And I have a *very* hard time hearing stories about parents losing children or children being neglected, mistreated or hurt in any way. It makes me incredibly sad knowing that not all children are as loved or even wanted as much as our daughter is…it's the kind of sadness that weighs heavy on the heart. I just wish all kids could have unconditional love!

  23. I love my son more than anything and would not change my decision to have him. However, it has been a roller coaster. Most of what people said above applies to me as well. However, it wasn't and isn't all unicorns and cherries. My son has health issues that our team of medical providers can't pinpoint. The most obvious symptom is refusal to eat enough food to sustain his growth. It is stressful and causes me to doubt my mothering abilities every day. Also, make sure your partner is 100% on board. Mine was only 90% on board with the decision to have a baby and because of that, our family life is stressed to the max right now. I think if we had an "easy baby" things would have turned out better for us. Consider how you might react or how it may impact your relationship if your baby is "high needs" (different from special needs but still a force to reckon with). It sounds like you have made up your mind about a baby, but I suggest talking more with your partner. It is normal to be scared, but make sure he isn't hiding a different reason for not having a baby behind being terrified.

  24. OH OH, just remembered one really notable thing that changed:

    I TAKE ALMOST NO PHOTOS OF MYSELF. I used to love doing self-portraits, and I have probably done as many selfies in the last 2.5 years as I used to do in a month.

    • So true! I've taken probably several thousand of Boyo in the first six months though. And my poor tabby cat has been supplanted as 'cute being to photograph' of choice.

      • Ha! So true! My phone, right up until the baby was born, was full of kitty pictures. Now, it's all baby, all the time, and my poor kitties have to be EXTRA, EXTRA cute to warrant a snapshot.

  25. I think it's one of those things that's difficult to describe until you experience it. Things just take more work, time, and consideration. It's what you make it to a certain extent though. Set your priorities. If showering daily is important to you -too let your partner know and it can happen. If it's not important, enjoy the extra time for something else. I agree with the poster who said more of a homebody, but they don't care. I've also found socializing with my friend with a kid to be easier than with the childless because she *gets* it and doesn't mind toting the kids along. That's just my experience with my friends though.

  26. My little seven month old is snoozing as we speak, so I will take advantage of that to comment πŸ˜‰ After he was born, we realized that he was a semi-high needs baby (and most of the folks we knew with babies had the catagorically "easy" baby), so for those first few months, we almost felt like we must be doing something wrong! He rarely slept, he hated babywearing, he nursed CONSTANTLY, etc. While we are both homebodies who enjoy low-key events and whatnot, we felt very tied to home with our tricky-to-manage baby. I had dreams of sitting in our favorite local restaurants wearing him in a sling, sleeping away while his dad and I had a date. Yep, that has never happened. So, keep your mind open- all I had experienced were easy babies, and I had NO idea how to handle a high-needs baby.

    All that said, I love my little goober to pieces and can't imagine life without him. The biggest challenge/surprise for us was that my baby, after happily taking a bottle 1-2x a week since he was a month old, totally forgot how to use the bottle about two weeks before I went back to work (around 3 months old). Apparently, this is relatively common, but despite trying EVERYTHING folks said about getting a baby to take the bottle again, nothing worked and I ended up having to quit my job (which I was okay with, but it definitely affected our family finances). My parents insisted we didn't try hard enough (trust me, we did), and I was feeling like a total failure until my dear, experienced grandmother told me that some babies just never take a bottle and that we were wonderful parents. It's amazing what a little bit of affirmation does for you when you are floundering in new parenthood!

    Happily, I think having our little guy brought my husband and I even closer together. In those first weeks and months, we laid aside our selfishness and were an incredible team when it came to nurturing our son. It made me feel incredible! I was prepared for lots of arguments and middle of the night whispered yelling, but we've happily avoided that (mostly). We get to gaze everyday at this amazing combination of our genes and enjoy him experiencing the world. Really, having a baby roots out that selfishness that is ingrained.

    I also am eating healthier than ever and exercising regularly for the first time in my life (though I'm pretty sure my body is never going to be back to the way it was) because I want to be strong and healthy for my son. I feel incredibly proud of what my body accomplished bringing my son into the world, which is a huge deal for me after dealing with self-esteem issues for years.

    So yes, some hard changes, some unexpected, some better than ever changes πŸ™‚

    • Rachel, yours sounds like a full on high-needs baby to me – I don't want that to sould insulting – I went through that too, as well as the shock because of only having known the easy babies – yeh they're the ones who get taken out πŸ™‚ Anyway, just wanted to say well done to you. And mine NEVER took the bottle. She'd rather starve. Yup, some don't take it. And some don't sleep. As mine wakes up, again…

  27. "Yes" to just about everything everyone else has said. One thing nobody told me when I was pregnant, though, is how much FUN having a kid is. I play more, laugh more and smile more. As a result, I think I'm a much happier person (just the act of smiling has been shown to cause changes in the brain).

  28. I think the way it changes you depends on where you are in your life. My husband and I chose to have our daughter when I was 19, he was 20, and it was the best choice for us. We grew together and grew up with her. It helped us in our non-parent lives become more focused on what we wanted and to work harder. It also helped that we moved away from family right before she was born and were never any closer than 2.5 hours to any family. We did it on our own, which gave us a huge confidence boost that has, again, bled into our non-parenting lives. I really think it also solidified our relationship. No matter how much a couple talks about working together as parents, it's not until you become parents that you see if that happens. We communicate a lot. I couldn't be happier with the ways parenting changed me. I do however maintain a significant identity outside of parenting and feel very little guilt making the things I enjoy on my own just as important as parenting. I have learned first hand that if I am unhappy, I'm an unhappy parent.

  29. Having my son changed my entire world! I've become a nurturer, a healer, a food-source, a hero, a protector… I leave the house now not caring so much what I look like, if I have spit up and drool all over me – none of that matters so much anymore. I don't ever get a full nights sleep, but that's okay too. I let my house get messy and clean and do laundry when I can – not when it needs to be done. When I take a shower, it's now like going to a spa.
    There are things I miss, sometimes, but the way I see it, my boy will only be little for a short time, and those things can wait.
    I love someone more than I ever thought possible. I would do anything for and to protect this little person.

    • I agree!! I'm reading to my husband as we speak. One thing that surprised us both is that nobody mentions much about financial difficulties. I suppose that doesn't mean they're not there, but maybe just that they're not as important as the other changes parents experience.

      • Oh…uh well yeah actually that is a big change. We are definitely a two-income family so I went back to work, and the nannyshare we have our 8-month-old in takes a HUGE chunk out of our budget. Things are very tight. But we are getting through…but damn I wish I'd saved more money before she came!

        But you're right…I didn't make any mention of that in my previous post. That does indeed speak volumes…this baby is my heart and our joy!

  30. I'm amazed how much of my brain my baby takes up. I can tell you when she's sleeping, when she's awake, what her favorite books are, what her favorite toys are, how much milk she's drinking and when, how much milk I'm pumping and when, how much she weighs, what size clothes she wears in which brands, what food she likes to eat, how best to help her eat her dinner, what I left for her lunch today, what foods she can't eat because she only has two teeth, what restaurants are good to visit because they have interesting food that she can eat, what words she can say, what signs she can make, when the diapers need to be washed again, when the sheet was last changed in her crib, what cry is a pain cry, what cry is a I'm-trying-to-fall-asleep cry, etc, etc, etc, etc. I work 50+ hours a week as an anesthesiologist and I only see her awake 3 hours a day on weekdays. She has occupied every free square inch of my brain that I'm wondering what fell out once I had her.

  31. I fell into parenting – condoms do break. Sometimes twice in a row. Ahem.

    I always knew that whenever I did start a family, I would make that my focus. I would do my best. And so, at 23 I jumped in after a few days of wondering how this could possibly happen in my goal oriented life…I had a five year plan that got thrown out the window.

    Parenting has humbled me. It has taught me patience beyond my wildest dreams. It has enabled me to slow down long enough to realize what I truly value. I was into natural living before, but my kids' health has really pushed me into the natural alternative health lifestyle. Way beyond where I ever thought I'd go – I remember wondering how people could be allergic to eggs (I now know it's no joke)…

    Today I'm grateful for two kids who crashed into my life and a supportive partner.

    I believe parenting is as individual as the people who make the baby in the first place. So, it could change you a lot or a little depending on where you're at in life. The thing I hope for everyone is to enjoy it, because your Mom is right, it goes by so fast!

  32. Having my daughter is the single greatest thing I have ever done. I have traveled extensively have a great husband/family very diverse social life BUT ,having her. takes the cake πŸ™‚
    Logistically , My life is harder, as in in now takes me 30 min to get out of the house , rather than grabbing my keys/wallet and going , I cant go out with the hubby on a date at the drop of a hat.. but really its the same ,doing stuff just take more organizing.
    She is so worth it though.

  33. Having a baby did not fundamentally change my life that much. The first year scared me, because it was so different from what I was used to. Now that he's about 15 months old, my menstrual cycles have returned (and thus, my libido), he eats enough solid food that he doesn't rely on me for nutrition, and he sleeps for a huge chunk of time early in the evening, I feel like myself in a way I didn't for that first year.

    In that time, a few friends fell by the wayside — mostly the ones who are only available evenings. I got closer to the ones who have similarly-aged children. But things are picking back up now that I can go out at night (with partner support).

    The biggest negative change is the decrease in one-on-one time with my partner. This is ameliorated by finding good babysitters — occasionally we like to make sure they can take the kiddo at their place, because then we can have loud, weird sex. (Just saying.)

    But really, all the changes have been to the good. I left my job, which has given me time and space to pursue birth work (which is my passion) and to do a huge amount of long-postponed personal development.

  34. I think that it depends a lot on you, your lifestyle, the baby (every baby is different), and how you handle it.

    It hasn't seemed like a drastic change to me, in the 9 weeks since my son was born. I was tired at the beginning (maybe 3 weeks) and needed lots of help, but since then, life has gone on prety normally. But our lifestyle was always very child-friendly: we spend a lot of time outdoors (baby was going with us on hikes at 4 wks old), at museums/historic sites, etc. We don't spend much money on going out, and our (single or dating) friends tend to gather at our house, anyway. So none of that has had to change. Only one of my friends is truly weirded out by the baby, so I don't see her that much anymore, but for the most part, my non-parent friends are happy to go out with me & baby. I also don't feel apologetic for taking a baby anywhere, though — and I will sit down and feed him wherever. (It's not like I was going to five-star restaurants before! And anywhere else, I pretty much feel like babies are a part of life and people need to deal with them; I do what I can to minimize the fussing/take him out, but I won't feel bad about it).

    It does take a little more thinking to get out of the house, but you adjust pretty quickly. (And if you're breastfeeding, you don't really need to lug that much). Babywearing helps me get things done here at home and out on errands.

    As for time to yourself … you won't have as much, but you will have some. I feel bad when everybody mentions the shower thing, but I either do it when my husband is with him, or when he's asleep or happy — I have sometimes come out of the shower to a crying baby, but it's only been a few minutes. After giving birth it is VERY important to wash everything, I found that I was developing sores on the days I skipped showering, so I have made it a priority since then!

    I think our relationship has changed a little bit, but in a good/growing way … There is nothing to make you feel head over heels in love like watching your partner interact with your baby!

    I know we're just at the beginning of this journey — but I have always been around lots of kids, big families, etc., and worked with kids. The best parents, I think, are the ones who don't take themselves over-seriously and know how to have fun (responsibly) with their children. Children really do add immeasurable joy to daily life!

  35. my baby is only a month old, so I'm sure that some of the changes we're in the middle of are temporary (night-time feedings! Needing company to hiccup!) and mostly expected. The one that I wasn't expecting as much is how having her (both being pregnant and more so now that she's here) has opened up my life to strangers. Where I ordinarily would go about my own business, now everyone stops me. And asks questions–how old, what's her name, how is she sleeping/crying/nursing(!), and, once they find out that there are two moms, how did we get her. What really surprises me is that I feel compelled to answer. It's scary to me at the moment, because it's so new, but I can feel it opening me up to the world more than i have been in years. The best part is that people I expect to be horrified that she has two mothers are the ones who smile and say that their daughter and her wife are trying, or that their brother and his partner have a beautiful son.

  36. Having a baby made me want to prove a lot to myself. I kind of figured that my writing would fall by the wayside for a good while but that wasn't the case at all. At 3 weeks postpartum I forced myself to start writing regularly again, something I hadn't been doing since pre-pregnancy. My daughter is 3 months now and I write several times a week even if it means I don't do the damn dishes. Being a parent has forced me to give so much of my time and energy to my baby that I find it all the more important to nourish my passions so I don't lose myself. But it's been a wonderful kick in the ass in many ways. I have a lot less time but somehow I get a lot more done.

    Plus, now I post a lot more pictures on Facebook.

  37. It's such a personal choice, but for me, having my son has been the best thing I've ever done. He is this beautiful, amazing, ball of clay waiting to be shaped by what my husband and I give him.

  38. I HATE when movies and tv shows depict having kids as the end of your happiness, the end of having fun, the end of having any kind of life whatsoever. My partner and I were in our early-mid twenties and were obviously among the first to reproduce, especially out of his friends. They have all been really insensitive to him not "being able" to hang out or go out drinking but truth be told, neither of us have wanted to. We were drunk or hungover almost all the time before we started having kids and it was a horribly unsatisfying way to live. Now on my second pregnancy in less than two years, I have no urge whatsoever to have a drink, not even that occasional small glass of wine some doctors insist is okay. I get annoyed by friends' stories of drunken escapades and their epic hangovers.

    People worry about how having kids will affect the things they care about, but what you don't realize is that what you care about changes drastically. I can find happiness in the littlest moments, holidays are more fun, I get to revisit my favorite toys and activities from childhood through my kids' eyes.

    Maybe I should have, but I never really stressed about the financial aspect or what I was losing. I really did think my life would open up for my baby and it has, two times over (soon to be three). Things work out, priorities shift and change, and what you gain far outweighs what you lose.

  39. I didn't plan to have my son, he just sort of arrived. With that being said, I love him more then I could ever love anything else in this world!

    He is 18 months old now and I can't believe how much he has grown and transformed into a little man. He went from being this little thing that just slept and ate and pooped, and starred at me and cried, to being a child who can say "strawberries" "pickles" "thank you", who can throw a ball and run, who gives me kisses every single morning and on our walks to daycare he holds my hand the entire way. Hes funny and weird, and just wants to learn. He's favorite game right now, it to poke at parts of my body and I tell him what they are. He knows "eyes" and "nose" without me having to tell him.

    My whole life revolves around him. To work, to go to the gym, to hangout with friends, I have to make sure he has someone to look after him, and I have to make sure he has enough mommy time during his day, that most of the time I forget that I have me to take care of too. I'm only 21, and want to go back to school, but there just isn't enough time in my day if I want to work and be home with my son. It can be stressful, and at times I just want to walk away from it all and not have to worry about bath times and making lunches. But I just take a deep breathe, and I pick him up and we cuddle on the couch and everything wrong goes away. Because this little being is amazing and deserves the world.

    I'm not rich, by any means of the word, most of the time we just get by. But no matter what, as a parent you make everything work. I have no idea how everything gets done, but it does. At night you put your kid to bed, you go to bed, you wake up and do it all over again. It just becomes who you are.

  40. This is exactly the post I was looking for. We're embarking on TTC over the summer and I'm having all these anxieties about it because I really love my life right now. This is good material to drown fears.

  41. I've found it easier to be more "real" once having my kid.
    Its hard to keep an ego when you've stared a shitty diaper in the face/gotten it on your face/worn one on your face to make a tiny someone laugh.
    Its also stripped away my tendancy of beating around the bush when communicating (cuz ain't nobody got time for that).
    I have off and on bouts of depression because it IS a major life change, akin to moving to another country: a different language, sleep deprivation, low chances of the same support you've preciously had. So maybe troubleshoot that a bit if you havent had much kid experience like me :3
    On the plus side: cosy ninja sex!

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