Who Will I Be When The Newborn Phase Is Over?


I’ve been reflecting on a question lately: Who will I be when the newborn phase is over? This isn’t the first time I’ve contemplated this since I just had my fourth baby. I know all too well that I do not belong to me right now. I am solely dedicated to the care and well-being of my newborn, two, four, and six-year-old, and husband. You might say I’m a tad preoccupied, and the idea of so-called “self-care” doesn’t really apply in this (fleeting) phase.

I do not belong to me. Especially my breasts. They say that a week of breastfeeding is nearly equivalent to the hours a full-time job takes. Not only that, but you’re burning around 500 calories per day doing so. So I suppose you could say I’m doing some so-called “self-care” of sedentary proportions. But my Groundhog’s Day life of breastfeeding, diapering, rocking, easy button meal prepping, crumb cleaning, napping, WWE refereeing, and repeat does not lend itself to the version of “me” I was pre-baby.

Not that I want to be the same person I was pre-baby. It’s like looking back on your Facebook memories from years ago and thinking, Who the heck was that person? One of my favorite GIFs says something along the lines of, “There’s no one I have less in common with than the person who wrote my 2008 Facebook status”. The thought of losing my tan and toned stature used to make me cringe. Now I love and accept my body for the wonders it’s braved. It used to seem unimaginable to survive without certain people in my life, but some are merely a memory now. The only things I’d like back from 2008 are my ability to thrive despite lack of sleep and not sighing every time I move a muscle. The point of life is to evolve. We are always growing and changing – in mind, body, and spirit.

So, who will I be when the newborn phase is over? I shouldn’t have to say this, but as a disclaimer, I adore the newborn phase. While it’s definitely more challenging, too, as they say, “enjoy every moment” when you have other children to parent, it’s still a time I truly try to soak in all the details and moments through the ups and downs.

But it’s a time that I don’t belong to me. With each passing newborn phase, I’m different than before. Some is for the better, and some is questionable. Will my questionable qualities outweigh the improved ones? Will I come out the other side like a phoenix, reborn and better than ever?

I cannot say. I hope it’s the latter. I hope that when the fourth trimester has passed and I graduate from saying “my newborn” to “my baby, ” I can embrace a me that I’m proud of. I can embrace a me that is stronger, more mentally mature, more pink and energized like the flamingo.

I know one day I’ll miss the middle of the night cuddles, the tingle that comes every two hours, being “on” and needed 24-7, smelling like spit up (okay.. I probably won’t miss that last one). My role as mommy is my top priority right now, but the me I’ll be after the newborn phase is still up in the air. When the dust has settled, I pray that my mommy role doesn’t wholly define me but is just one awesome hat I wear. That the memory of the newborn phase leaves me feeling grateful for what was and what is to come. That the me that emerges is one that can conquer the world or at the very least, the mounting dishes in the sink.