In just a few short weeks my baby girl turns one (sob!), and I thought it was time to sit down and have a look at what’s changed in the space of a year. Becoming a mother has changed my life drastically. It has brought changes for the positive, and it has also been a magnifying glass for the glaring short-comings in my life. So what has changed then?
-my health: from hitting rock bottom with the threat of a spell in hospital as conventional GPs were of no use, finally through the help of a homeopath we discovered what was making me so ill. Without having my daughter, I would probably never have discovered the truth. The physical strain of the pregnancy and labour brought my body to such a state that we were pushed into searching for the answers instead of allowing ourselves to be pacified with the mediocre state of health offered to me by the National “Health” Service and their pills to mask symptoms. For improving health even though I still have rough days, I have my daughter to thank.
-creativity: I would never consider myself to be creative. It wasn’t something that was overly encouraged in my childhood. My parents would openly admit they weren’t great at drawing etc and I guess due to this it was never something they felt they had the skills with which to encourage me to be. All through school I hated arty stuff, and I never felt my work was worth anything. Since having my daughter I have somehow from somewhere found a love of creativity. I don’t believe my skills have improved any, but maybe my acceptance of them as they are has improved, and my willingness to push myself and try out new things has increased. In the last 11 months I have done more artistic stuff than I have since leaving high school(quite some time ago now). I have made a pattern for and sewn up a stocking for my daughter for Christmas, I have made her a picture with a quote on it to be framed for her bedroom for her birthday, I have also drawn and coloured her birthday invitations which were sent out to people(even a year ago the thought of someone seeing and judging my “handiwork” would have been enough to handicap me in this area), and I am also hoping to take some of Miss E’s baby clothes and turn them into a keepsake stuffed toy for her. Wow, I never could have guessed such things would be done by me before she was born!
-baking: I have rediscovered my love of baking. Before my GCSEs I used to be baking all the time. I loved to make cookies, cakes, bread etc. Then studying took over and adult life got in the way of another creative channel. Now I love the times I can be in the kitchen whipping up some form of cake batter or a frosting cupcakes. I’ve even allowed other people outside of my husband and my parents taste my baking. I also decided I would make and decorate the cake for her first birthday party……………….my first time ever dealing with fondant icing!
-confidence: As I look at the two previous points, I guess a big thing that my daughter has given me is confidence and self-belief. Ill health and years of people just assuming I was making it up because on the outside I looked normal, caused me to lose a lot of confidence in myself. Since having Miss E, I have regained some of that. I am open to pushing myself and yes, failing sometimes. I am willing to go to gatherings of strangers alone to make new friends and to give my daughter the chance to attend different events. In the past I’d rather not go, than have to face a bunch of strangers.
-sacrifice: Miss E has taught me the meaning of going without for someone else. I have sacrificed my body, my time, my possessions for her, and I am ok with that.
-love of peace and tranquility: by this I don’t mean the times when she has gone to bed in the evenings or for a nap. We used to have the tv on a lot before Miss E was born. In the evenings, we’d flop down on the couch and get sucked into that thing for hours. Communication, real communication was minimal. It always bothered me, but it took having Miss E for the big change to come. When Miss E is awake the tv is not on, plain and simple. Now, when she is asleep we rarely have it on either. I love the peace of just being. I no longer have to have something filling my brain with noise and images all my waking hours. It’s liberating. In fact, I would quite happily get rid of the tv altogether, but my husband isn’t quite so far down this road as I am and still likes the security of having the black screen sat in the corner just incase something good comes on tv that might be worth watching.
These are some big things that have changed since having my daughter, but there is still much room for improvement. Some of these areas are;
Selfishness: I have made big sacrifices, it is true, but I am still oh so selfish. Selfish with my time. I want my daughter to sleep when I want her to sleep, to play happily by herself when I want her to do that. And when she doesn’t, I often don’t take this impingement upon my plans very graciously. This is an area that with God’s grace I am still working on and learning much about.
Patience: This area is HUGE for me. Various happenings in my life have caused me to become rather impatient and snappy. I can fly off the handle easily. Since having my daughter, I have made big steps to keep my cool, and sometimes I do succeed. But more often than not, I fail miserably. I raise my voice, I get angry, I storm about, I get demanding, I want my daughter to do things to my time scale. I am more often than not displaying the type of behaviour I do not want her to see or copy. This must change, and it is an area that I bring often before the Lord in prayer. I want to, NEED to cultivate a heart of patience and gentleness. It’s not easy to kill off old habits, but it must be done as my daughter deserves a better example after which to model herself.
As I look forward to the next year of life with my daughter this is the thought I want to keep at the forefront of my mind:
“Your children are the greatest gift God will give to you, and their souls the heaviest responsibility He will place in your hands. Take time with them, teach them to have faith in God. Be a person in whom they can have faith. When you are old, nothing else you’ve done will have mattered as much.”
― Lisa Wingate