Dear First-Time Mom: You Will Still Be You

First-Time Mom

Many of the books and articles I read while pregnant talked about the huge changes parenthood brings. 

Nothing will be the same

You will be instantly transformed!

You’ve never conceived of such a love!

Your entire identity will be consumed by motherhood!

After my daughter was born, I waited and waited for the earth-shattering changes. Surely, any moment now the heavenly choirs would start singing and I would become The Mother. My life’s total transformation would be complete.

Well, she’s 16 months old now, and I’m still waiting.

Of course, there are changes. But I’m often struck by the sheer normalcy and continuity of my life. My husband thinks that since I’ve wanted to be a mother for my entire life, I didn’t lose my identity when Bellatrix was born — I finally fulfilled it. Whatever the reason, I feel shockingly the same, even after making the decision to stay home with the baby. Everything that has happened feels like the only thing that could have happened.

I still feel exactly like me. A more tired me, granted, but still me. I am not overwhelmed by a love for her I could never imagine (which I somehow feel guilty about at times, which is why you should read blogs with caution). I love her dearly and unconditionally — just as I imagined I would. But that is also how I love my husband, my mother, my sister, etc. 

We are grateful to have very good friends as the “village” to help raise our daughter. Just this week, my husband and I attended a 27-hour movie marathon — all 11 Marvel movies, in a row. It’s an absurd activity, the kind of thing everyone warns will be a thing of the past once you start having kids. But it is our present reality, because we have the resources and drive to make it so. Becoming parents didn’t suddenly turn off our geeky natures.

In Kevin Smith’s film Dogma, the character Bethany learns her true heritage and laments that everything about her is a lie. Her companion replies, “Knowing what you now know doesn't make you any less who you were. You are Bethany Sloane — no one can take that away from you, not even God. All this means is a new definition of that identity. Be who you've always been. Just be this as well.”

Becoming a mother did not suddenly render my previous identity and relationships obsolete. So if this is a secret fear deep in your heart, have hope. Be who you have always been. . . just be a mother as well.

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