Parenthood as a concept can only be fully understood by adults once they embark on this scary yet breathtakingly exciting journey.
The woman, as the nature intended, goes through the pregnancy fearing childbirth and managing the symptoms, like morning (or as it should be known in most cases ‘all day’) sickness, increased or loss of appetite, gaining weight, enduring back, leg and other pains, whilst trying to envisage what lies ahead. At the same time, her partner attempts to assist, in most cases, in any way possible whilst also enduring unknown emotions and not being able to grasp just how their lives will change in a matter of months.
Once the baby is born, the woman understands that childbirth was not as scary in comparison as caring for a completely helpless little soul, especially with the first child. Nappies (or, as they are also referred to, diapers), wipes, lots of mess and total lack of sleep become part of the daily routine. Getting out of the house becomes a coordinated military mission. Catching up with friends and family requires advance notice and lots of planning.
A year goes by and the parents, in their rare moments of sanity, ponder on just how different things have become. Priorities have shifted, social life has taken a beating and any thought of sleep now brings back distant memories of feeling rested. However, in the same year valuable skills have been acquired on how to look after a child, including feeding, bathing, playing and teaching. Each new day brings parents increased awareness that caring for a child bears enormous responsibility of not just bringing up a human being, but making all possible attempts in shaping their offspring into a good, kind, well-mannered and well-educated member of our society. However, with all the responsibility suddenly being placed on the shoulders of the parents, there is also an amazing gratification of experiencing unfamiliar feelings such as unconditional love. A smiling or peacefully sleeping baby seems to bring total happiness to all members of the household.
As kids grow up, nappies, milk and toilet training are replaced by homework, children’s weekend activities, play-dates with their friends (and respective parents of those friends regardless whether they are liked or not), school concerts and finding answers to never-ending questions. A mother, who was previously longing to hear ‘mum’ from her little one now gets rather annoyed after the 27th time of hearing it in less than a minute. Asking the same mother whether she gets any sleep would most likely trigger the response of “Sleep? What sleep? Oh…sleep is overrated anyway”. It has been said that “the older the child, the larger the problems”. And so the journey continues…
Being a parent myself, I can categorically say that having children has changed my life perception completely, reorganised my priorities and the things I consider important. However, it was a change for the better. I love my kids, I cherish my not so long ago acquired status of a mother and would not change it for the world. Like many other parents, I have a long and tiresome road ahead of me with lots of road blocks. It is the biggest job of my life but I am up for the challenge.
If you are considering having children in the near future, brace yourself for a ride of your life but enjoy every moment along the way. As Democritus stated: “raising children is an uncertain thing; success is reached only after a life of battle and worry”.