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Having a child has definitely changed my life. I love my daughter Allison more than I could have ever imagined I would. In fact, when I first got pregnant, it occurred to me exactly how selfish I was. I knew I loved my husband Eric, but did my cold, black heart have enough room to love the cells of the child growing inside of me? I did not think so. I was frightened, horrified, depressed, scared, and most of all, ANGRY. I had no misconceptions about the difficulties that lie ahead with a child. I could not understand why I was chosen to have a child, knowing I would fail miserably at parenting and I would have difficulty carrying a child to term (I had cancer when I was young). I underestimated the joy a child can bring, however, and miscalculated the size my heart would grow to accommodate the love I have for my child. I love her and more than I knew anyone could love another person.

I was not surprised about how difficult things were to be though; how taxing giving your heart away everyday and all that caring for a helpless child entails. There are a lot of split decisions a mother must make each day. It has changed my life in some ways I do not love so much. I do miss my slower-paced, childless life sometimes. I miss my Cheerio-free carpet and car seats that do not have Goldfish crackers smashed into them. I miss my flat stomach and my boobs being where they are supposed to be. I miss sleeping in past 7:30 a.m. and sleeping through the night. I am so exhausted some days; I just do not think I can make it. I would give anything for five minutes of peace. I do make it and realize I would not have it any other way.

There are so many things I was astonished by, however. I never expected to laugh so hard. I never expected to feel so warm and fuzzy about the simplest of events. I never expected to worry so much about the little things: Breast or bottle? Co-sleeping or crying it out? Organic foods? When do we start solids? Some times my heart fills up with so much love and concern, it feels as though my heart may actually explode and spill over with love.

I never expected to appreciate my own mother as much as I have grown to. I never expected to really enjoy being a mother. Being a mom is the most fulfilling and most challenging job I have ever had. I had no way of knowing just how blessed I would be. I had no ability to predict this little person would touch my life in the most incredible ways.

It is painful to look back sometimes and think that I thought my life was over because I was having a child. I now realize my life would have been so much less enriched. I would be missing out on so much.

Being a mother has been God’s most beautiful, amazing, and greatest gift.

Stay-at-home mom, runner, disgruntled…

Laura blogs at My Beautiful Life and lives in San Diego, California with her husband, 18 month old baby girl, two dogs, and a cat. She blogs about anything that comes to mind, which is often running, her adorable daughter or random bitching.

*You can find more info about the Blog Exchange and how to participate, as well as the May participants and entries, by clicking here. Jennifer is at Laura’s place today!*