Last week I talked about how preparing for a baby and going to war have similarities and one of my readers commented that there may be similarities in the lead up, but the gift you get from having a baby can’t compare. I have to agree. So this week I decided to talk about how having a baby and going to war are different.
There are so many things about having a baby that are hard and life changing. But unlike a deployment there is a love and bond that is formed with a new person. This life experience is not a temporary change that affects your life and then you go back to normal. A baby changes everything.
Having a Baby
The first few days after my first son was born my mom asked me how I was doing. I assured her I could handle having a baby because I had survived Afghanistan. The deployment experience had made me tougher. It wasn’t something on the typical moms resume so I felt like I had a leg up. I quickly realized that your past resume doesn’t help you when you are trying to figure out how to keep a baby alive, happy and maybe even sleeping more than a few hours at a time.
In a way, the deployment made it harder. It brought up things that I had quickly stuffed down as I overcame things to keep pushing forward. A baby was a totally different life altering event and was not like anything I had ever faced before.
I knew life was going to change when my son was born, but I didn’t realize that there was good and bad. As Lisa Jo Baker put it in Surprised by Motherhood, “You have to break up with your old self”. And now I realize through that break up with your old self you find someone knew on the other side. And although it took a few years to find my footing and get my feet in line to follow the new dance. I love the new me.
Going to War Isn’t the Same
My boys make each day an adventure and a challenge. We have good days and bad days. We have days where we are lazy and watch far too much television and we have days full of adventures, giggles and life well lived.
Having a baby isn’t the same as going on a deployment. They both teach you about yourself and likely will make you stronger. But a baby includes a gift that keeps on giving as they grow from baby to toddler to child to adult.