Having a kid changes you. Everyone told me so, and I knew it was true…
But I don’t think I ever realized how much. How much different our lives would be, and how much I would change. Some things were expected, like not going out without having to think about a babysitter, or not sleeping in. Those were expected, and since we had waited so long for a child, those changes were welcome.
I was always a worrier, but now…now I really, really worry. About little M, about me as a mom, about if I am doing the right thing for her.
I used to think of myself as a patient person, but as it turned out, I needed more… and patience was something that took me a while to learn.
I needed to learn compassion and empathy. I had these things, but having them for your child when you are learning patience is sometimes hard. It is easy to be compassionate when your child is in the hospital and scared and in pain. It is harder when your child has just bitten you, is screaming and kicking, and you are bleeding down your leg from being bitten.
I never knew how intense mommy guilt could be. I didn’t know that I would worry about ruining my daughter if I was stressed, and not patient; or that I would feel intense guilt if I cleaned the kitchen instead of spending quality time with her. Mommy guilt is crazy…does it ever go away?? Probably not.
I never realized that, along with the worry, I would become obsessively analytical. I would watch everything little M would do, and worry that all of her actions, whether a tantrum or a fear, was because she was adopted. After a while, I started watching our friend’s kids, and realized that even biological children are sometimes afraid of bugs or animals, and they all tantrum. Sometimes I still find that I have to check myself, and remind myself that not all behaviors are “adoption behaviors.” Sometimes they’re just three year old behaviors. That’s not to say that there are no adoption behaviors…there are, and that makes the worry kick back in!
I never imagined how very blessed I would feel to be a mommy. I didn’t know that I could sit and watch this little person all day long, every day, and that every day I would be in awe of how special and important she is to me. I didn’t know that every milestone met would be cause for celebration, or that a hug from my daughter…and unprompted hug could make tears come to my eyes. I didn’t know how important my child’s happiness would become. I didn’t know that I would be so protective of this little person.
Having a child changes you. I know it changed me!