10 Totally Unexpected Things That Happened When I Became A Mom

Becoming a mother is life-changing.

Last updated on Aug 30, 2023

mom holding her baby fizkes | Shutterstock

By Aggie Armstrong

I read a slew of books during pregnancy. I loved finding out the size of my baby every week in relation to the food/fruit dimension. I also had a book dedicated to “teaching” parents about the first few years of toddlerhood.

And here I am.

Two years and a month into parenthood, and there are a number of things that I hadn’t expected to happen to me at all.

RELATED: I Didn't Want To Be A Mom, But Had Kids Anyway


Here are 10 totally unexpected things that happened when I became a mom:

1. My "plan" went out the window

My birth plan, my birth music playlist, my wanting to do a natural birth? All went out the window.

Being pre-eclamptic, I had to go through an emergency Cesarean after being stuck at seven cm for a long time, with my blood pressure going off the charts. There was no time to think about soothing music, just enough to make sure that my blood platelets didn’t continue to drop and that I didn’t go through any seizures. I also stayed five days in the hospital postpartum because of this.

2. Postpartum depression and anxiety reared their ugly heads

I was more susceptible to postpartum depression and severe anxiety because of the traumatic birth. I’ve written about my postpartum depression diagnosis and treatment before. I still continue treatment and it’s a constant work in progress, but I am doing infinitely better than I was at this time last year.


3. I realized I only wanted one child 

More power to multi-children families who thrive and make it work like a well-oiled machine, but having a child is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It could be because I’m an older mother, but I know my limitations — physically and mentally.

I’m so grateful that my child is bright, happy, and healthy. I don’t want to jinx the mix.

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4. My social excursions revolved around my daughter's routine

The secret to anything with my daughter is routine. That includes mealtimes, nap time, bath time, and bedtimes. We keep our schedules adaptable when we travel and for special celebrations, but when we do, we suffer as a family. So we try to stick to the routine as much as possible.


My social excursions revolve around my daughter’s schedule. Most people understand and are very accommodating. And for those who are, I’m extremely grateful.

5. I realized how little I care about the opinions of others

My child = my husband’s + my choices/decisions about her upbringing = the end.

I especially love it when I get judgy looks, comments, or advice from people sans kids, strangers, and acquaintances alike. Note that my inner monologue is going haywire with expletives as I force a pained smile towards you and say "Thank you, have a great day", as I try to get away from you as fast as I can before my inner monologue becomes an audible hiss and growl, and I make a scene at my favorite Starbucks or grocery store.

6. I’ve built up much more empathy for other people

I know this may sound like a direct contradiction towards number 6, but unless you are a) crazy judging me with my kid, or b) undeniably daft, I seem to have gotten more patience and empathy for people.


Maybe it’s my own way of teaching and reinforcing kindness to my daughter, but I have noticed an increase in patience and putting myself in another’s place. It could also be a sign that I am happier with myself.

Note: This is in no way an indication that I’ve lost my snark or ability to don my cranky pants. Let’s be real, here.

7. I've tried to stop myself from being the mom who overshares on social media

I’m not talking about poop or sleeping schedules, cause really, that’s just unacceptable. No one cares about that except for you and your partner or immediate family.

But over-sharing every change or progress of word syntax my daughter goes through… every finished/conquered puzzle that is geared for kids 2+ years older than she is… every expression or mannerism that we think is absolutely hilarious.


I’m so proud of her progress that I just want to tell everyone. But then I realized that I’m not the only mother in the world, nor the only parent who thinks that their child is beyond amazing so I manage to curb my shares to major ones like her getting accepted at such a young age into the exclusive Mensa International because clearly, she is a genius.

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8. I realized how much I need time alone with my husband

The first year was tough for us. It was a bit of a rude awakening since we have been used to being together and doing things just for us. Most of our energy these days is focused on making sure our daughter is alive happy and healthy, so we tend to go on autopilot with our marriage.

We’re constantly trying to better our time together. It’s a work in progress, but one that we have determined that we clearly need. And I don’t just mean about the intimacy part of the relationship, which is a major component, but also just finding time to go to the movies or a dinner out.


9. I also realized how much I need time alone with myself

I’ve always said I’m a high-functioning introvert with extroverted skills. But I can only do it for so long. I can get overwhelmed with too much external noise, sometimes even the ticking clock or dripping faucet can get me agitated if I haven’t had some downtime.

I value my time alone especially now, because it helps me refocus and recalibrate my mood. I need to hibernate even for 30 minutes without anyone talking to me or any buzzing in my ear. It does me a world of good.

10. My child is the most important thing to me

I may crave more creative inspiration, alone time, or more hours in the day to do all that needs to be done. But if I didn’t have my raison d’etre, nothing really matters.


The love that comes out of motherhood is unbelievably cliched as it has been purported; infinitely indescribable to anyone who is not in the same position, and all-encompassing to one who is lucky enough to have the experience.

How about you? What surprised you most about being a parent?

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Aggie Armstrong is a writer and an artist known for her multimedia work that explores various states of female consciousness.