My friend overseas messaged me today and said she can’t decide if she wants to have a baby.
Her text read: I’ve worked so hard to be happy in my career, I felt previously I wanted one because I was looking for purpose but now I have that and I’m happier than I’ve ever been I’m worried it will ruin that.
So I voice-messaged her back between yelling, having to send broken messages (reality right?!).
All I know is, I never felt like children would give me my only purpose. Yes, they have given me a whole new one, one that supersedes anything else right now and probably always will. But I had purpose with my husband, in our life together before kids.
We never felt anything was missing. Truthfully, I looked at him with his friend’s children one day, and it was the first time I ever felt like I could see into our future.
So, I was utterly honest because the last thing I want is a friend crying to me through the phone holding her newborn telling me she’s not cut out for this because of how hard it all is.
So I told her—it’s bloody hard.
Yes, I’ve had two only a year apart, so I’ve added to my workload substantially—I told her to keep this in mind.
I told her most nights I go to sleep with ringing in my ears from their crying or whining.
That I‘ve never felt such overwhelm.
I told her I don’t sleep more than four hours at a time. I’ve never been so tired and there are no breaks.
I told her our relationship suffered, making time for each other just didn’t or couldn’t happen. Still, it’s a battle to find time alone.
I told her the word responsibility weighs heavily, like never before. All the choices previously made for yourself seem small when you’re solely in charge of another human being.
I told her about the fourth trimester, about the body changes and the baby blues I experienced.
I told her I’m still working out where I fit into all this, the girl before who was carefree and who loved not knowing what tomorrow would bring. I’m still letting her go and some days even mourning for her.
But I also told her this . . .
As much as I loved my independence and my work, I never had the same sense of gratitude at the end of my day as I do now.
I told her even though parts of me have been left behind (maybe temporarily, maybe not), I’ve never grown so much as a person as I have since becoming a mum. My kids have shaped me and been my best teachers.
I told her my heart has never felt so full and content, all from just hearing their laughter, watching them eat or breathe softly as they sleep. I’m appreciating the small things, I’ve now learned are everything.
I told her it’s a whole new love, not just for them but for my husband too. We may only see each other in glimpses at the moment, but this love has been carved out of special moments, not time.
I told her it’s a big sacrifice in the beginning—we gave up a lot, but we gained so much more. I know one day when I look back, I will never be prouder of myself for loving them day in and day out and finally learning to love myself, too.
In truth, they are my soul’s equal.
Dear friend, it can be bloody hard—it’s also beautiful, but your life will be beautiful whatever you choose.
Previously published on the author’s Facebook page