They’ll tell you you’ve changed.
And it will be true. You’ll forever wear the name tag staking a claim at your former motherless self, but now you are she- an evolved version.
And you’ve only just had your babe mere moments ago but you’ve changed already, yes. And you’ve changed them, too.
I’ll tell you why.
You’ve changed him. Your husband- who drove you speedily through the darkness of the night to the hospital, cringing with you each time he hit a pothole or a red light, meaning you would grip his right arm tighter.
Your husband, who took a step back unconsciously as you began involuntarily pushing out your firstborn son, your body heaving and stretching, trembling and shaking. You frightened him with your strength. Shocked him with your courage. He only stepped back to try to process it all, admiring your determination for it being 4am and you so not acting like it.
Your husband, who just weeks before admitted he knew next to nothing about labour, who was now receiving the most intense and perfect hands-on example of what it looks like, who had a tear in his eye as he looked into yours, is changed. Changed by your ability to birth a 6 pound version of your every effort to love and be loved, changed by your ability to show him what a woman can and must do.
Your husband, who stands in awe of you when his son is placed on your chest. Wondering for a moment if it can be real, is forever changed. Changed by your new purpose in life, changed by the glory that was this day.
So yes, you’ve changed, but you’ve certainly changed him too.
And her, your mother, who flew across the country to be here for you.
Your mother, who created in her womb your every cell, your being, now witnessing her own baby birthing hers. Your mother, who still remembers your birthday like it was only yesterday, and who still feels the pains you yourself are enduring, like it was last night’s dream.
Your mother, who has been viewing pictures of you as a baby every day this past year, now changing forever as she is warped into a new time and place and her hands are sweating, feet are pacing at the sight of it.
Your own mother, who cannot for the life of her imagine she has any small part to play in your undeniable strength, your ability to look so graceful and poised in your greatest moments of struggle, here as you birth her firstborn grandson. Here, as you perform an everyday miracle.
Except this is anything but everyday to her- this is monumental. Standing next to your bed offering you a cold drink, the cup is set down and she takes your hand in hers as she weeps in silence. Just holding you and staring- wishing she could do more for you. Wishing she could offer you the gift you are offering her right now.
You’ve changed her.
And you’ve changed me. Arriving at the hospital, I never really know what to expect, though we’ve been talking all night. Arriving at the hospital, it always takes a moment for me to orient myself with the room and figure out where I fit in- to see what you need most.
I am always guessing. Guessing what your next move might be and bringing your slippers in close as I see your willingness to escape the bed. I am absorbing, learning what each and any sign of transition might look like so I can relieve you with the near end, and I am listening, making my hand available for holding or reassuring at precisely the moment it could be wanted.
You’re changing me. Making me better, keeping me inspired, ensuring I’m growing. Every time.
So when you get home, and you’ve got a nursing baby at your breast and your house looks like a bomb went off and yet you’re still smiling through it all, admit that yes, you’ve changed. And you too are always guessing, and you too are getting better at this thing called motherhood, and you too are owning the change, step by step, day by day.
Hell yeah, you’ve changed. And continue to. And you’ll never understand how much of a change you’ve made in the hearts of each of your support people too. Because to us, despite the inevitable tears and frustrations over the coming days and weeks, you will always have that birthing goddess within you.
So take it with pride when people say you’ve changed. Because how could you possibly be only who you were before? Oh no, mama, you are so much more.
We can remind you of your strength to get through it all. We’ll all remember the day you changed- and it was glorious.