I am a woman who considers herself to be educated both formally and through a variety of life experiences. I did my share of research and reading ("What to Expect...") to prepare myself and my husband for parenthood. To say a baby changes everything is an understatement. He changed me. Here's how...
1. I hate to state the obvious but, I am now a Mommy. Yes indeed. I was not striving all through my 30s to be a mom. I was not even visualizing myself as a mom. But in His perfect will, God saw fit to make me a mom at the age of 42. Now, I've been through a lot of things, especially in my misguided youth, and have done some really hard things, but caring for a newborn is by far the most challenging and rewarding thing I've ever done.
2. My marriage. We have been married 3 1/2 years. We dated 2 years before that. We were totally into each other and our fun little life before baby. It took us a few weeks to focus on each other again. Aside from being occupied with our new roles as mommy and daddy, there is the fatigue factor. And beware, fatigue can make someone a little less patient and lovey-dovey. Remember, the marriage must always be first. Show the love even when you are not feeling it.
3. My faith. We prayed for this baby for a year. Thankfully, fertility was not an issue for us. However, if you do your research, "they" will say that if there is not a baby after 6 months of trying you have an issue and you should see a specialist. We decided to keep praying and give God a chance. This isn't for everyone, I know. But we thank God for our son. And we wonder at His handiwork every single day.
4. Priorities. All of the sudden fine dining, going to movies, travelling to exotic locations and career just do not seem that important.
5. Flexibility. I am the structured lifestyle type. I like my routine. That is now out the window. Flexible is the new me. Now, the baby's routine is important. But he is not necessarily adherent to that, except with bed time.
6. Out of the workplace. Staying at home is wonderful. However, there is a huge change involved. One can experience feelings of isolation, loneliness, and mind mush (i.e. absence of intellectual challenge). Find a new group of friends. For me it is Baby Bootcamp, but there is also Gymboree, Mommy and Me Yoga, playgroups and so on.
7. Perspective. Single adults can easily become self-centered. Not in a conceited way. It's just that you do everything on your own terms and your own schedule. When you get married as an older adult, you work through the transition to put your spouse before yourself. When you have a baby, there is someone else before yourself. My order is God, husband, baby, me. And this does not even take into consideration family, church, and service.