For most of my life, I have lived as an expat, a third-culture-kid, a minority. With that lifestyle comes unpredictability and the chance to be uprooted in an instant. With all the surprises and challenges at many corners, I have moved on and lived a very consistent life- that is until I became a parent. Nothing prepared me for the changes my life would go through with the arrival of my baby. Yes, I read every book I could find, spent hours on baby and parenting websites, asked my parents many questions, envisioned life with a little person, but nothing prepared me.
It blows me away how one moment or one life can make such a difference on a person. At first, it’s hard to soak in. You wait 9 months for that moment and it comes only to bring feelings of anxiety and peculiarity. Cries and frustration fill what used to be quiet and controlled rooms. The days and nights pass slowly as you and your baby try to figure things out.
I had no idea that some babies would need help to fall asleep, and that it really is all about the routine. When my husband and I faced a challenge like getting baby to sleep for longer than one hour, we asked and read and tried and repeated until something worked. When it worked and we felt like we became masters of parenting, another challenge said hello. Your purpose becomes keeping this life alive and reaching milestones.
You dream of when he smiles, and then it happens. You wonder when she will sit up by herself, then she does it. The first time baby says mama makes your world spin with achievement. Then there’s standing and solids and crawling and laughing. For those moments, parenting is the reason you did well in this world. When baby walks for the first time, it’s harder to hold him in your arms because he wants to explore and discover every corner of the living room. You realize time is precious and you try to soak in the moments better, but it’s never enough. She grows up a little bit more every day. Soon, there’s school and homework and worries about their friends. Who is he with, and where is she going? So many worries that you have no control over.
After the birth of your child, your life will never be the same again. A whole world of experiences and emotions knock at your door. The biggest being an unconditional love you were unfamiliar with. It’s what our parents did. You don’t really understand until you become a parent yourself. I wish all new parents the best of luck. You have embarked on an unending journey that will forever change you.