When a woman announces their pregnancy, amid all the congratulations she will receive so much advice. “Enjoy your sleep now while you can!”, “Enjoy your last months of freedom”, “You’re life is about to change forever!!!”
Sleep? Yes it is a given that a newborn baby will keep you up at night. Freedom? Not much of it when your body is creating another human, so that ship has sailed. But the ones that said “your life is about to change forever”, now that is one I took for granted. Of course, it would. I would have another person to take care of, more things to carry around (I had seen my sister handle twins like going to the mall was a weekend road trip), and another person to be responsible for. But these things I knew, I had seen it all. What I didn’t know is what no one can tell you. No one can show you. It is only felt when you become a parent.
When you were born on the 9th of July 2013. Nothing came as much as a shock to me than the emotional changes I experienced. It was as if my heart was flooded with love so much that it ached. My mind drowned in worry, not because I would fail as a mother, but because the world might not be safe enough, kind enough or good enough for you.
The love I felt was so sudden, so deep and completely overwhelming. It caused me to question whether having you was worth the anxiety that I now had to face every day of my life. Perhaps a bout of postpartum depression, because I loved you so much that it literally hurt. I would sit in my room, hiding from guests that were eager to meet you, and cradle you in my arms, thinking “what did I get myself into?”. But it was too late, because from the very moment I held you, I knew I could never live without you.
And now I understood. This is what is meant by “say goodbye to your freedom”. Freedom is more than having less bags to carry, leaving the house at will, not being a constant food source. Although all these things are true and will have to be sacrificed, the true freedom left behind is the freedom to “chose to care”. Once you become a mother, every plane crash, every school shooting and every horrific crime becomes yours. Empathy is the new you. Protective instincts that you never knew you had will surface. You now care about pollution levels, chemicals in your home and organic meats. You no longer are free to live just for you, you are living for someone else. I even felt I should take better care of myself just so I can be a better version of me, for you. Every step, every thought, is to better the world around which my child will grow, making sure you are happy and healthy and that I can always be there for you and protect you.
And yet I know this will not always be the case, you will soon grow. You have already grown so much, and impress us everyday with the new things you learn and observe. Two years have gone by, and although I can now control my anxieties and my fear of the world failing you, my love for you continues to grow with you.
So please, my only request, when you are older and have reached the age that you don’t need my protection. Tell me that I have done well, let me know that I raised you to be kind and respectful and that the world has been good to you in return.
And to all the moms-to-be out there, all I can say is enjoy your worry-free sleep, your last months of emotional freedom, because your life will change forever… but it is going to be great!
Photo Credit: James Paul Correia