They say parenthood changes you. Iím just amazed at how instantly it happens.
Our little one decided to make an appearance two weeks early. Showing her flair for drama, little Baby K decided to come in to the World Hollywood style with the big water break and fast and furious labour. No time for pain medication or anything for me; we joked as I sucked back the laughing gas that she was already showing us just who was running the show now. Turns out it wasnít a joke.
Within hours of her arriving in the wee hours of the morning, she had both of us wrapped around her tiny (and perfectly formed) little fingers. She fusses, we diligently check to see if sheís rooting, if sheís wet, if sheís too hot, if she needs to be re-swaddled or if she just needs a little closer. When she is filling her diaper, weíre digging for the wet wipes. And when she is awake, weíre there entertaining her to no end. Sheís clearly the head of the household now.
I expected being a parent to change us; I expected to become the mama bear protecting and loving her young to extremes. But, I thought it would happen over time. Turns out that those changes happen with the hormone let down; you know, alongside the random weepiness that seemed to hit daily at lunchtime over the last couple of weeks. Here are a few of the biggest changes Iíve noticed:
You really do become obsessed with poop.
There is a running joke amongst young single people and couples without kids that people with babies are obsessed with poop. Well ,it turns out for good reason. As you try to take care of a little one who has no means of communication and feeds from an ever-growing breast with no built in measuring device for output, their poop is the only way you can tell if theyíre eating enough to grow and feel satisfied. I distinctly remember our first day home, as I sat in our glider and tried to stay awake, my husband changed a diaper that was filled with pee and a huge poopy mess. And what did I do? I cheered for Baby K. Hear that? I CHEERED. Never ever thought Iíd be so excited about a bowel movement. And that excitement hasnít faded over the last couple of weeks.
You become more comfortable with your body than ever
When you realize just how amazing your body is- after all, it did grow a tiny human from a single cell and push her out a hole much too small for that big head- you think of it a little differently. My giant pudge isnít of concern to me as I go out to the grocery store; if anyone wants to think Iíve had one too many doughnuts, well, Iím too tired to care. You also get a new feeling of comfort just out of necessity. I always figured Iíd be pretty modest through labour and my hospital stay; but, when youíre in labour, you donít care whoís down there checking things out. You barely even register. And then you spend two days trying to figure out breastfeeding, and to get the help you need you end up sitting topless in the maternity ward with every nurse that comes and goes grabbing and massaging your boob to try and get it in to that babyís mouth for a good feed. It sounds awful, but youíre grateful. Though, I have yet to run in to one of these wonderful nurses in the grocery store, either.
Your carefully planned design-scheme gives way to unworldly amounts of pink
My house has been taken over by pink. And I love it. One week ago, the state my living room is in now would have driven me absolutely nutsÖ there is stuff everywhere. A swing in the corner, an activity mat blocking our kitchen entrance, pink blankets on every couch or chair arm, my coffee table is coated in diapers and bibs and no-scratch mitts, and spit cloths litter every surface of the house. It doesnít go with my intricately planned brown and green dťcor, but this house isnít for a couple anymore. Itís for a family. And this new look is testament to that.
My nails are really long
Okay, I know this one sounds strange. So let me start with the fact that Iím a nail-biter and have been for all of my life. After I gave birth and now got to keep all the vitamins and nutrients that I was eating, they started growing like crazy and I couldnít bring myself to bite them. I didnít want them to be jagged when I was handling a delicate little girl and I didnít want them to be germy as I let her suck on my fingers to pacify her. My bad habit is broken simply from an instinct to protect Baby K. And I have a feeling itís not the only thing Iím going to give up to give her the best chance I can.
But really, it comes down to this. As I pace in my living room and rock Baby K to keep her relaxed and happy, my husband stares at me strangely. When I ask why, he simply says, ďItís justÖ youíre a mother.Ē