What Changed When I Became a Mom

Erin Smalley honestly

It’s 3 a.m., and I can’t sleep. Not because of a “nighttime worry” session, but because my heart is bursting with something difficult to describe. You see, 21 years ago today, at exactly 7:52am, my life was completely changed forever. After three grueling hours of pushing — and a vacuum assist — Taylor Christine came into the world. Our firstborn. I had no idea the impact becoming a mom would have on me. I had assisted thousands of women as a labor and delivery nurse into the role of a lifetime. Still, I had no idea how I was about to be changed.

The first few weeks of being a mom involved packing boxes, quitting my job and moving to a fast-paced, crazily-crowded place. However, the thing I could never fathom was just how much we loved this little girl. And furthermore, 21 years later, as her mom, I had no idea how much that love would change me.

No one ever told me how when you become a mom, how much your children would impact and change your life. Now, I’d like to paint a picture of the perfect parenting experience from birth to 21 years of age — but I cannot. I will tell you that through the adventure and journey of loving Taylor, and my other three kiddos, I can now see they each have impacted me as much as I’d like to hope I’ve impacted them.

They have expanded my heart and in the same breath the challenges have made me dig deeper to understand myself, my relationship with my husband, and them as well. Over the years you could have found me bursting with joy and crying with concern and frustration all in the same hour — in the same minute! The days of rushing to the grocery store in-between naps; temper tantrums I swore my children would never throw, both as toddlers and teenagers; and the snuggles on the couch in the middle of the day or the middle of the night — impacted me.

I have watched my daughters and son grow and mature through each season. Looking back, I’m in awe of how much they have grown and matured me. I’d like to think I’ve become more patient, more loving, more compassionate, and even more aware of how much I don’t know about motherhood—all as a result of giving birth four times—three biologically and one through the gift of adoption.

Love drives you to places you never know you would go (and I can promise you — I’m in a season that I drive kids around for hours a day), but I’m not talking just about driving in a car. I’m talking about being driven to places of joy I never knew possible; places of heartbreak I didn’t know could exist; and destinations of reflection at a level I didn’t know I could experience — even at 3am.

I had no idea the impact four little people could have on me personally, and I know the journey is still in process. But looking back to 21 years ago today — love changed everything. Love changed me.


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