The moment. The instant when everything in your life has been re-prioritized. The person you thought you were is forever changed. Your palms may sweat or you may be infinitely calm. Your thought process and things that matter to you are eternally altered. For most, entering the realm of parenthood is terrifying, incredible, exceptional and fleeting.
A parent: noun: a father or mother. verb: be or act as a parent to (a child).
To most of us being a parent is so much more than that. It is being a good person, a role model. Having a responsibility to someone far more important than yourself. Providing a life for a human being while giving them the tools they need to do the same. The one thing that is your greatest joy … the thought of losing is the biggest fear of your entire life.
The parenthood moment may hit us in different ways, different times and under different circumstances but it is profound and probably the happiest and scariest moment of all.
For me that moment came while I was pregnant with my first child. My husband and I hadn’t been particularly trying or not trying, but there it was on this little stick I peed on.
Pregnant. A parent.
I was alone at that particular moment but I remember like it was yesterday. I was alone as in, I was in the bathroom at 6:30 a.m. with a positive pregnancy test in my hand and my husband sleeping soundly in the other room. Shaking in the early morning spring light in that bathroom of the rental house we resided, I was suddenly overcome with joy and absolute fear at the same time. I had suspected of course, but it wasn’t real until this moment. The moment.
My whole life changed right then.
Whatever I cared about surmounted to the importance of being a mother. The instantaneous change affected what I ate, who I spent time with, my job, my goals, my marriage, but most of all ME. Everything I knew about myself was suddenly abstract and almost a third party. There is who I was and who I am now.
Just like that.
This realization hit in that moment in the bathroom. No idea how long I was in there, summing up the courage to deliver the news to my husband. Not sure if I was laughing or crying. Probably a really not so cute version of both. (I’m sure his moment was different than mine.)
There is fear in this moment and forever. An insurrmountable fear that will never leave you. Being a parent to a child will test you in every way. Your children are the beings you love the most in the world and the fear of losing them is your uttermost greatest nightmare. Maybe for some people these realizations hit them the minute they take a drugstore pregnancy test (or four) or maybe it takes time or some say, for the father, until they finally get to hold their child for the first time.
I find myself often thinking … what did I really care about before this?
Everyone is different. Everyone has different parenting styles and customs. The best way to parent is to LIVE! To give your children every piece of yourself. Regardless of your circumstances in becoming parents, we all get to “DO the darn thing” and what a great gift THAT is.