How Being a Mom Changed My Life

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My life has changed drastically since Liam has come into the world. Aside from the obvious–budgeting for diapers and wipes, the bags under my eyes, my sore back–being a Mom has made me a better, stronger person.

I try to be healthier. I’ve always been concerned about health and nutrition. I choose organic whenever I have the option. I try to always come up with balanced meals to cook at home. All of my makeup and skin products do not contain parabens, silicone, and sulfates. When I was pregnant, this was my utmost priority and it remains that way now that Liam is here. I want him to grow up with an awareness of good nutrition and what it means to be healthy in today’s world. For him to know that fruits and vegetables are good for him and that Coca Cola isn’t.

I try to do better. What impulsiveness? I learn every day to be more patient, less easily upset. I have become selfless. I wake up three times per night to comfort him and don’t mind it one bit. I don’t care if a shower is a luxury, now. I speak to him in French because I want him to be bilingual, even though English spills out of my mouth more easily. As he grows up, I want him to be curious about the world, but most of all, I want him to be proud of me. I want him to see me as a good, loyal, honest person, and trust me the way I trusted my own mom, the relationship we have to this day. It’s the greatest responsibility in the world. My priorities have shifted and now, the things that used to be insignificant are even more so now that Liam is in our lives. He takes center stage. My life revolves around this fragile little being that needs me there to understand the world.

I respect my body. It went to battle and survived it. My breasts? They are the reason my son is flourishing, 15 pounds already at two and a half months old. I can’t help but remind myself every single day what a blessing it is that I am the reason for his health and well-being. I am forgiving with my body now, in a way I was never able to be when I was younger. It undertook the most difficult journey… and is still on its way to recovery. I am patient with myself now, too.

I love unconditionally. I had been warned… Being a mom makes you love like you’ve never loved before. The feeling is infinite, they told me. I knew it ahead of time, but I wasn’t prepared at all for the incredible love I feel for my son every time he nuzzles his face in my neck and smiles when I look into his bassinet in the mornings. What I feel for him isn’t just love but more than that: a responsibility to comfort, guide, and protect him throughout his life.

I am inspired. Since my pregnancy, I’ve been inspired to inspire other expecting moms. My mistakes, my choices, my research… It has all been shared via this blog. I have found a medium that allows me to share this journey I’m on. It has allowed me to blow off some steam, share my insecurities, but also the greatest moments of my life. I want to help other mothers be empowered and in control, inspire them to take the reins of their own pregnancies and births like I did. It truly changed my life.

I am reinventing myself. I am a mom now, and with that comes a new me. Every day, I am learning what that means, how I fit into this new role. Being pregnant, being a mom… It has made me bolder, less apologetic about my opinions, my choices. I feel empowered. I care less about making money and more about seeing Liam grow up. I look at the world in a deeper way–its dangers, its beauties–because I know I will one day have to explain it to him. I’ve spent more time analyzing myself, my weaknesses and qualities, because I know it will only make me better for my son if I do.

Everything I do now, I do for him.

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Johanna Riehm teaches in the department of Communication and Media at Manhattanville College and in the department of English at Mercy College. She teaches courses in the history of communication, public speaking, and social media, as well as creative and technical writing workshops. Johanna’s work has been featured in Graffiti Literary Magazine, The Write Place at the Write Time, The Bangalore Review, Cactus Heart Press, and the LaMothe Review. She is working on her first longer work, a creative nonfiction novel called We Carved Our Names in Tamarind Trees.

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