With my oldest in Kindergarten, I have been thinking about my pregnancy with her, about everything inbetween, and up to now. All those sleepless nights and joy filled firsts. I have also been thinking about what things were like while being pregnant with my second child. There are so many changes when you become a parent and changes happen each time there is a new arrival. In many ways, I have come to the realization that parenthood has destroyed me.
My Body is Permanently Changed
Having gone through 4 pregnancies my body is forever marked by each one. Two miscarriage. Two rainbow babies. Each time my body has grown leaving stretch marks behind. Light silver marks that will be with me always. I have gained and lost weight and gained it back again.
So much has changed about the way I look. I’ve gone from looking pulled together each day to tossing on jeans and a t-shirt, having my hair up in a messy bun, and maybe some mascara.
Bringing the Worst Out of Me
With the arrival of my firstborn, I had all these expectations in my mind of how things were going to be. In some ways, those things did come true, but I was also blindsided by what was to come. Postpartum Depression and Anxiety hit full force. Twice I have gone to battle against this and each time has been worse than before. Becoming a mother took me to some of the darkest moments of my life.
As my children have grown I have also seen how short my fuse can be and how much I need to work on my patience. I need to take a step back and slow down before reacting. I’ve realized that Anger from Inside Out and I have a lot in common.
Horrible Nights Sleep
There is no such thing as a good night sleep anymore. Sure, both of my girls started sleeping through the night at a young age but when they do not sleep through the night everyone in the house knows it, especially me! My ability to have a good nights sleep went out the window as soon as my oldest was born. I wake up when even the slightest sound is made. My husband even switched the baby monitor to his side to try and help. I’ve been told I will sleep better once they are older, teenagers even… yeah right. I will be up late worrying until they are home!
Taking care of myself went out the window with the arrival of kids. Self-care is secondary. We already talked about sleep, but eating also takes a back seat. I find myself skipping breakfast many days because I simply forget or there is no time. Feed the kids first, then maybe eat their leftovers. Forget about having a hot cup of coffee or tea til your kids are older. As a parent time for things that I loved to do rarely happened. Time for myself and recharging happens when crawling into bed late at night and often is interrupted by one or two of my kids needing me. I cannot remember the last time I got to sit down and be creative by either painting something or drawing.
Friendships Have Come and Gone
Those who I once considered dear friends are no longer a part of my life. Once you become a parent some are understanding of what that means, others are not. It can be a hard shift in friendships, one that may break your heart.
Parenthood will leave you wishing there really was a handbook that is given to you upon babies arrival. The amount of self-doubt that comes with is immense. I find myself constantly questioning everything I do as a parent. Add in all the parenting articles and advice sent your way, some of which you want to take with a grain of salt but it ends up constantly being at the back of your mind. I’ve been left in a constant daze wondering if what I am doing is right, or the best thing for my children.
Parenthood has destroyed me and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Being a parent has pushed me to the brink in so many areas, there’s still more that could be added to this list. No matter what, everything still comes back around to how incredible being a parent is and I am so incredibly thankful for it.
I have realized how much I needed to learn how to ask for help from others. I cannot do this on my own. I have been constantly reminded about my strengths and weaknesses as a person and I am working on things. I love every last stretch mark I have because they are a constant reminder of what my body has done.
Being mom to my girls has challenged me and it continues to force me to grow every day.
It is still rare that I get to enjoy a hot drink and I am okay with that. I have found a love for iced coffee. Being a parent isn’t easy. It is incredible.
Photography: Julie Christine Photography