My first child broke me. He split me right apart. Broke my heart and mind into tiny pieces I never thought would go back together.
Absolutely none of it was his fault. Not even the tiniest bit of it. He was simply the catalyst. That precious little boy turned me into a mama and, therefore, knocked my world off its axis. My head spun for months with no real direction.
I wasn’t prepared in the slightest. And even that feels like the understatement of the decade.
My sweet first-born threw me into a new world of less me and more we. I was no longer an independent woman—I had a tiny human I had to cater to, raise, and most importantly, keep alive. My days were long and my nights were even longer.
I questioned every single move I made daily, to the point of causing nearly debilitating anxiety.
I lacked the energy and personality I had pre-kid. I didn’t have the desire to change out of pajamas, much less leave the house. I didn’t care to engage in conversation with my husband, or really anyone else, anymore—I was too tired to try, and I sure didn’t want to argue. (Why does no one talk about the post-baby marriage exhaustion? It’s a real thing.)
I retreated into a person I didn’t recognize. I truly struggled.
But, I eventually overcame.
I didn’t realize having a child would be as difficult as it was. I didn’t realize how much my life would change. Call it oblivion, immaturity, or just general cluelessness. Maybe you could chalk it up to only seeing the good things on social media about having a baby. Who knows, really? I’m leaning toward a mixture of a little bit of all of it.
Why didn’t anyone tell me this? People always make out the hard part to be the labor and delivery—the actual act of pushing the baby out. Don’t get me wrong, that’s hellacious in its own right, but I didn’t realize that the true hardships come once you bring that baby home.
You attempt to change your entire life, literally, almost overnight. It’s earth-shattering.
If I could go back and tell my pre-kid self anything it would be this: it’s OK if your first child breaks you.
My sweet, precious, first baby boy taught me more than anyone else ever has, and probably ever will. I needed to be broken. I needed to fall apart. I needed to experience all the things I did because it made me into the person, and mama, I am now. I needed him to do it.
My second child was a vastly different experience.
I learned not to question my every move. I learned mother’s intuition is a real thing and I should listen to it. She showed me I don’t necessarily have to do things by the book.
As I held her as a newborn in my arms while I watched my toddler son play, I realized I am capable. I am enough. I do have the ability to do this all over again.
Yes, it was hard the first time. So incredibly hard. Truly, nothing could have prepared me for it. But the second go-around—I was ready. Wiser. Less scared. More in the groove of being a mom. More in tune with the baby, and even more in tune with the now-toddler running around.
My first-born made me question everything in me.
My second child helped me realize I am a good mom. I can do this.
I can learn from my first experience and I can prosper. I can love my babies, teach them, and grow with them. I can let go of the fear of the unknown I carried bottled inside with my first child. I can now face the unknown head-on because I know it’s OK to figure it all out as I go. No one has it all figured out. (And if they say they do, they’re lying).
My sweet children have shown me more about the world in less than three years than any other experience in life ever could. They each have shaped me and molded me into a better person in their own tiny, unique ways.
My first child broke me. But, I needed it.
Maybe I needed to grow up. Maybe I needed to be brought out of my oblivion. Maybe I needed to be less selfish. Maybe I needed to realign my life priorities. Maybe it was a combination of all of that and more. I may never know the truth, but I know I wouldn’t be the mama I am today without it.