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What changes when you have a baby? A better question may be what doesn't change?
Here, you can read writer and mom Rebecca Woolf's 15 most notable post-baby observations and another 27 from our site parents.
1. You finally stop to smell the roses, because your baby is in your arms.
2. Where you once believed you were fearless, you now find yourself afraid. [See a reader's perspective in #37, below.]
3. The sacrifices you thought you made to have a child no longer seem like sacrifices.
4. You respect your body ... finally.
5. You respect your parents and love them in a new way.
6. You find that your baby's pain feels much worse than your own.
7. You believe once again in things you believed in as a child.
8. You lose touch with people in your life you should have banished years ago.
9. Your heart breaks much more easily.
10. You think of someone else 234,836,178,976 times a day.
11. Every day is a surprise.
12. Bodily functions are no longer repulsive. In fact, they please you. (Hooray for poop!)
13. You look at your baby in the mirror instead of yourself.
14. You become a morning person.
15. Your love becomes limitless, a superhuman power.
And from our readers:
16. "You discover how much there is to say about one tooth."
— Ashley's mom
17. "You finally realize that true joy doesn't come from material wealth."
18. "You now know where the sun comes from."
19. "You'd rather buy a plastic tricycle than those shoes that you've been dying to have."
— Sophie's mom
20. "You realize that although sticky, lollipops have magical powers."
21. "You don't mind going to bed at 9 o'clock on Friday night."
22. "Silence? What's that?"
23. "You realize that the 15 pounds you can't seem to get rid of are totally worth having."
24. "You discover an inner strength you never thought you had."
— Ronin and Brookie's mom
25. "You no longer rely on a clock – your baby now sets your schedule."
— Thomas' mom
26. "You give parents with a screaming child an 'I-know-the-feeling' look instead of a 'Can't-they-shut-him-up?' one."
— Jaidyn's mom
27. "Your dog – who used to be your 'baby' – becomes just a dog."
[Many readers begged to differ, saying things like: "I disagree with number 27. My dogs are my additional children." "Nothing about previous babies, whether two- or four-legged, changes when a new miracle comes along." "My dog will never be 'just a dog.' " "This is sad to me. My dog is still my baby too."]
28. "You take the time for one more hug and kiss even if it means you'll be late."
29. "You learn that taking a shower is a luxury."
— Jayden's mom
30. "You realize that you can love a complete stranger."
— Dezarae's mom
31. "You find yourself wanting to make this world a better place."
32. "If you didn’t believe in love at first sight before, now you do!"
33. "You start to appreciate Sesame Street for its intellectual contribution."
34. "You have to quit watching the news because you see every story from a mother's perspective and it breaks your heart."
35. "You just plain love life more – everything comes together and becomes better because of one tiny person and your love for them."
36. "You finally find out the real reason you have those breasts."
37. "In response to #2 [above], I'd say that where you were once afraid, you're now fearless. I was always very timid and shy and let myself get walked all over … but now where my kid's concerned, I'll speak my mind and really connect with my inner 'b'!"
38. "The support you get from other people surprises you, because the people giving it are not always the ones you'd expect."
39. "Nothing is just yours any longer. You share EVERYTHING!"
40. "No matter what you've accomplished in life, you look at your child and think, 'I've done a GREAT job!' "
41. "You want to take better care of yourself for your child."
42. "You can have the most wonderful conversation using only vowel sounds like 'ahhh' and 'oooo.' "