Childbirth was an amazing, empowering experience for me. If only I was allowed to put "had natural childbirth at home" on my resume! I had always been a bit sickly as a child, and viewed my body not as something with potential, but as something with limits. Being pregnant, giving birth, and then nursing round-the-clock made me feel like my body was capable of so much more than I gave it credit for. After giving birth (well, after the initial recovery) I was much more comfortable in my own skin than I ever was before. Giving birth and learning to breastfeed meant being unclothed in front of someone other than DH, and I realized there were more important things than the shape of my body. But I also learned to *like* my shape after becoming a mom. There's nothing like being without a waist for months on end to make you appreciate it when it comes back. And I would look at my small breasts and think, yea, they're an A-cup now, but they could be/were a DD.
My DS has given me the gift of gab. There's nothing like having to keep up your end of the conversation with a toddler all day long to loosen the tongue. I'm still a quiet person by nature, but I'm much better at small talk and casual conversation now.
I'm definitely less judgemental than I used to be, and when I hear something "shocking," I'm always waiting to hear the rest of the story, to find out the justification for unusual behaviour. I'm kinder, I think, but also less tolerant of deliberate cruelty. I tear up every single time I hear that we've lost another Canadian soldier in Afghanistan.
I'm less fun than I used to be. I don't like having to be the one to ruin my DS's fun by saying "Don't run in the house" or "don't put that in your mouth/nose/ear" or "no, you can't have chips right before supper." I say all these things because I think it's part of being a mom to keep my son safe and teach him limits, but it still feels crummy every time I get the stink-face from him because I've told him something he doesn't want to hear.
I have less patience with DH, unfortunately. Before our son was born, I honestly didn't mind if he was 2 hours late, as long as I knew where he was. But now, if he's 2 hours late from work, he's only home for an hour before DS goes to bed, which means DS hardly gets any time with his dad, and I hardly get any help from DH. And my frustration with DH is no fun for either of us.
Spiritually, motherhood really clarified my beleifs for me. After a miscarriage almost 2 years ago (at 9 weeks), I was heartbroken and looking for comfort in any way, shape or form. But I realized that I truly, deeply in my heart, do not believe in a soul separate from the body, or an afterlife, or a concious higher power. I am most definitely an atheist.
Am I my true self now? I don't know. Am I more of a grown-up? Definitely.