I had a toddler, a newborn, a new house, and I just quit my job. I was exhausted, I was overwhelmed, and I was lost. No one can prepare you for the darkness that sometimes accompanies the beautiful things.

I don’t remember what we were arguing about, but I remember him saying it, “You are not… you.” At that moment I broke down, and the tears started falling. Then, I tried explaining it to my husband the best I could. I tried telling him about all the little pieces. I was desperately wanting him to understand how significantly life was changing for me, how much it had over the years. I needed him to realize when he tells me he misses me- you know, the “before the craziness me” – that sometimes I miss old me too.

It’s just, along the way we give up some pretty big pieces of who we once were.

I fell in love, and shared my life. I sometimes sacrificed the things I wanted for the things he needed. We meshed our dreams and began building new ones together. I let go of some ideas, like traveling the coast. I held tight to others, like starting a family. You realize it just isn’t about you anymore. It’s where you both want to eat. Where you both want to live. What you both want to accomplish. You give some of your identity away for the first time, and that is a scary thing. There are agreements, and disagreements, and then a middle ground- it’s a compromise. We stood in front of each other and made a commitment. We gave each other something special, a big piece of ourselves.

Then one day you hold 8 lbs of absolute perfection for the very first time, and your heart explodes. As I cradled my child tight, I promised to never let go. To be better, to do better, to live better. Day in and day out you wipe boogers and butts. I had given up that pair of black pumps for yellow sneakers. Hobbies were forfeited to watch them find theirs. Dinner on the table, beds being made. Favorite TV shows were taken over by Mickey Mouse Club House and Paw Patrol. “Happy Hours” are moments of giggles and smiles. Time alone is 5 minutes in the shower before you look over and see a little nose pressed up against the door. Then another blessing comes. Time is split between all these little hearts. Smitten. Consumed. Forever changed. The moment you lock eyes with your child you realize, they are the most important piece of you.

For me, I had also given a piece of myself to a career I missed deeply, an identity I once had and was now gone. It was an additional purpose in my life I let go of. It was for a reason I will never regret, but it was still hard. Then, we uprooted. I know a house doesn’t make a home, but memories make a lifetime, and there were a lot made there. The day we drove away a little piece of me stayed.

In that moment of explanation I had also understood these pieces, they are part of the balance of who we are. I never stopped to think about the ones I needed to hold onto. I never considered how giving this much at once, and over time would impact me. You see, I think as women we continuously give without hesitation. We embrace change. We are resilient. Undoubtedly, we are selfless for the ones we love because we are incredibly strong.

I am always thankful I am not the woman I once was. Honestly though, I would be lying if I said I don’t miss parts of myself I have let go. I’ve become a mesh of motherhood and marriage, of careers and friendships, of family and love. I am ever-changing, always giving, and continually searching to find the balance.

Kayla Friehe

Kayla Friehe is a wife and mother of two young boys. She loves wine, chocolate, and binge watching Netflix-- sometimes all at once. In her spare time she enjoys blogging about motherhood and day dreaming of sleep.