No one ever said it would be this hard

Tough. A major transition. Challenging. A huge learning curve.

I heard all of these descriptors and more when I was preparing to get married. I knew it would be an incredible change, and likely a difficult one at times. Honestly, I braced myself for rocky times ahead when my husband and I – who both happen to be quite stubborn and independent – began life together.

Turns out, it was much easier than I anticipated. And I’m so thankful.

But I sort of wish some people had used those terms when we were preparing to welcome a baby into our family. Because man, that was a far more challenging change than marriage.

When we announced my pregnancy, all we heard was congratulations and well wishes and the usual warm and fuzzies. (Maybe some mentioned the difficulties ahead, and I just didn’t hear it.) We’d been around kids enough to know it wouldn’t be all sunshine, roses and unicorns. But I definitely was underprepared for how darn hard it would be.

I love my daughter to pieces and would do anything for her; I think we’re all adult enough to know that’s not up for debate here.

But seriously, suddenly becoming fully responsible for the survival of a tiny human is quite a shock. I had read all about birth and knew it was a rather traumatic experience for the baby entering the world, but I wasn’t ready for how traumatic it would be for me. Not just physically, but emotionally and mentally and all the rest. Sleep deprivation is no joke, and I’m emotional at the best of times. My poor husband.

Becoming a mom was ridiculously more challenging than becoming a wife. Not even comparable in my case.

When I got married, I proudly took on the title of wife and filed it alongside sister, daughter, cousin, friend. On my social media profiles it slid in front of writer and photographer.
When I had a baby, the title of mom seemed to supersede every other role, task or piece of my identity. It didn’t just add to who I already was, it was like it overshadowed and overwhelmed who I was before.

I’m still in the process of figuring it all out, to be honest. I’m infinitely grateful for the opportunity to be a mom, to experience everything that means. And we’ve found a rhythm and routine that makes daily life far easier. But it’s still hard, and I’m learning that it’s okay.

What challenged you the most after you became a mom?

Cheryl Hazelton
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