There are so many things I want to tell my sister right now. There’s the obvious statement that her life is never going to be the same.
But how is it different? How are we changed by parenthood?
There are big things, like having another person to keep alive. But there are also a lot of little things. Like how from now on, if she ever passes a mirror or a window with her son, she won’t look at her own reflection anymore, she’ll look at him.
She will never sleep the sound sleep of the childless ever again, even a year from now when he’s sleeping through the night.
Her life’s choices will be motivated by worry – and sometimes fear – a lot more than ever before. She will never think of herself first again.
She will talk about poop and pee and vomit in normal conversation and never think twice about it. She will also clean up all of the above with equally as little thought.
Her heart will hurt more and rejoice more, and she will feel it more acutely than ever before.
She will be amazed at how proud she can feel over little things like a perfect latch or a tiny gurgle that sounds almost a little bit like “mama.”
She will find herself tearing up at unusual times – family events, preschool programs, kite-flying excursions, Sesame Street Live. I don’t think the pregnancy hormones ever really go away…
Every day will be an adventure. Sometimes it will be challenging, like growing up with a sister just 17 months apart in age. Sometimes it will be wonderful, like growing up with a sister just 17 months apart in age.
If she’s like me, she might sometimes find herself lost, find her mommyhood taking over her life and crowding out her sense of self. But I think sometimes that’s okay. I think giving up parts of our selves temporarily for our children is normal. But I would also tell her to not lose herself completely. Because her son will benefit most from having a happy, whole mom. And she is going to be a wonderful mom.