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

Comments on How did your baby change your life?

  1. My little seven month old is snoozing as we speak, so I will take advantage of that to comment 😉 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 🙂

    • 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 🙂 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…

  2. “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).

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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 🙂
    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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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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