Story and image by Savannah Watters
I’m sure every new parent has a magical plan to keep their lives somewhat consistent and keep some identity when having their first child. “Everything will be exactly the same”, they would say. We said the same thing, but embraced the obvious changes that come with a new member of the family. Now that my daughter is almost seven months and I can fairly reflect, I think I could honestly say that my life is very much the same in some ways, just a million times better with the changes. I wake up earlier and it makes me feel good. The things I believe in mean more and I work harder to shape those beliefs for her. I’ve found out who my real friends are and become closer with my partner. My favourite concept in the world, love, has overcome my life and myself and has become my identity.
We made a point to have our daughter socialized early – taking her on frequent outings which helped me to recover quickly post partum, and having family stay with her while we went out to maintain some sort of social or romantic life. I knew we would have to get used to someone else caring for her eventually and that it only gets harder as time goes on. I have no regrets doing that after a month. We are a young couple, and to me it is important that we continue to live and grow as we would naturally so we can be our true selves for our daughter. I love her just as much as the next parent, but to allow myself a break from time to time puts that love in perspective, and know myself enough to be able to fully care for her without losing touch of reality. The responsibility comes first though, and it takes some balance.
I listen to punk rock with my baby. I have friends over to play music together while she falls asleep to the guitar and sleeps through the night. I take her to protests and political demonstrations. I take her out to dinner with us. I know we are lucky to have such a well-behaved baby, but something inside me feels that the attitude with which I approach parenting plays a huge role in how she learns to adapt to us. So far I have no regrets, just lots of love. It’s an amazingly fulfilling reward for the work all parents put in to raising our children, and that is something we all have in common, no matter what our identity.
Read more of Watters’s work on her blog, Progressive Mommy
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