It's true, what they say. Having a baby changes everything. I struggle to think of aspects of my life that didn't change by January 14th of this year. I still eat (sometimes), sleep (sometimes), and do my homework (usually), but the way in which I do even the simplest things seems to be different now. I feel accomplished when I manage a shower, but only if Annika has had a bath, too. I would skip meals more often if it didn't mean I'd be taking food away from her, too. It amazes me that I haven't slept a whole night in seven weeks. I'm pretty convinced I'm losing some brain cells, which only makes doubling as a college kid that much more interesting. I apprehensively await nightfall each day knowing it will feel like heaven to lay in bed, yet I will become a different, much more cranky version of myself as soon as I'm reminded I may or may not feel any more rested upon waking the next morning. Sometimes I think I've forgotten how to care for anyone else simultaneously, and I'm aware there's no denying that the title "mother" precedes all others now. Not to mention, I haven't entirely felt attractive in months.
And yet, my life is overwhelmed by joy and inspiration.
For the first time in my life, I've experienced the feeling of true contentment. Spending time at home with my little family, I stop looking at the clock. I no longer care about what time it is, or the things approaching that I should be thinking about with either dread or eagerness. I pledged to remove the words "I can't wait" from my vocabulary whenever I'm speaking of Annika. Because I can wait for everything that is coming. I'd rather be completely absorbed in who she is today. I find it hard to believe that, even though I feel she's been here all along in some way, she turned 7 weeks old today and is nearing 12 pounds. It nearly breaks my heart to set some of her newborn clothes to the side that I'm trying to accept I can't squeeze her into anymore. Although this child has made a slave out of me, I wouldn't mind if she stayed 7 weeks old forever. I'm still a dreamer, yet for the first time I also feel that I could be happy in this house, with these clothes, forever.
For the first time in my life, I felt that my existence depended on someone else. From now on, without Annika, I cannot live. It's terrifying that life is so fragile, but it's inspiring to have the urge to keep someone else's life perfect. As so many others have said before me, she gives me meaning. No matter how tired I am when I wake, I still wake with the desire to pour all my energy into this tiny girl. I know that I've been far from perfect from the beginning of this journey, but I will never tire of striving.
Because for the first time in my life, I have no choice but to be the best I can be. I believe wholeheartedly that a mother needs to be who she wants her daughter to become, because that is exactly what's going to happen. I can no longer accept my faults as unchangeable. I cannot accept a lack of confidence, a short temper, a pessimistic outlook, or tiny ambitions in myself, because none of these are what I want my daughter to experience. I want her to live knowing she is capable, that patience will get you far, hope is never lost, and that the world is at her fingertips.