I never would have believed that bringing a child into the world could change my life so dramatically. Of course I expected external changes… we bought a house and lots of toys, prepared ourselves for sleepless nights, diapers, nursing, bottles, and the inevitable burden of someone depending on us so completely.
But those were minor in comparison to the internal transformation I underwent.
From the moment of their births, each of my children has gotten inside me and transformed my heart, my mind, and my whole perspective on life in ways I could never have imagined possible.
With each birth, I have been reborn into a person I did not know before.
My first child’s birth caused me to question all my previously held beliefs, especially with regard to health and nutrition. His birth was peaceful and so deeply fulfilling, a truly gentle home birth.
I found myself asking over and over, “How could my society have taught me to fear childbirth, to expect it to be painful and even unbearable to the point that I would need and want to drug myself to escape it?” I had been terrified all my life of this event, and when it happened, it was wonderful.
Furthermore, what else could I be missing by blindly believing whatever the norms of my society dictate?
I set out to question the truth behind every detail of my previously held beliefs. It was a monumental task, but I could not imagine trusting my preconceived notions without making an attempt at informed decisions.
We changed our diets, our doctors, our personal care and cleaning products, and our approach to raising our child. I started subscribing to Mothering Magazine and found a home on their natural parenting forums.
We opted for co-sleeping, cloth diapers, elimination communication, delayed vaccinations, nursing on demand, and made our own baby food. When it came time for me to return to work, we decided to hire a nanny rather than leaving our somewhat colicky baby in group care.
I am still on the trajectory of learning and unlearning that started four years ago with that first birth. There is so much to uncover about my new self as old habits and perspectives fall away.
Furthermore, the birth of our second child last year was just as monumentally life-altering as the first, if not moreso. I never would have believed it to be possible… but it happened.
And I am grateful every minute of every day for the incredible opportunities my children have given me to learn and grow and uncover my true self.