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Jessica Wiant: It takes time to become a mom

"What do you do?" a lady asked last spring while I was pregnant.

"I work at a newspaper," I said.

"No, no. I said WHEN are you DUE?" she replied.

And just like that, I was relegated to a date on a calendar.

When people find out you're pregnant, usually only two things matter: The due date and whether you're having a boy or a girl.

All the rest of your life's history, where you went to school, where you're from, what music you like, what you do for a living, takes the backseat.

It's a good thing pregnancy lasts nine months, because you need at least that long to adjust to what it will mean to become a parent: To most of the world, I would no longer be the woman who works at a newspaper. I'd just be someone's mom.

I confess, in the early days of my pregnancy it was something that bothered me.

However, my son is almost 9 months old now, which means I've been a parent for equally as long as I spent "in training."

As the months have gone by, parenthood gets more full of surprises.

He's crawled to me. He's stood up in his crib. He's waved and said "hi," and gotten a few teeth. He's laughed endlessly at a game of peek-a-boo and learned to pick up his own food.
I find myself bragging about his latest accomplishments more and more often, and becoming more and more proud of the funny little guy he is becoming.

There have been other changes.

Amazingly, all the questions I had and was constantly looking up online -- about baby products, breast-feeding, diapers and baby's development -- would-be parents are now asking me. A lot of the time, I even have the answers.

There have been a few moments when I actually felt like an old pro, with my son balanced on my hip as I start a load of laundry, or when I reach in my "mom" purse for an extra pacifieror a wet wipe to save the day.

Just as my son has developed and advanced, I have some of my own achievements as a mother under my belt. I have survived along with him through fevers, vaccines, lots of spills (coffee and chili are notables), diaper disasters and more.

Not only do I love my own baby more each day, but I have a greater appreciation for the trials and triumphs of all babies. I love hearing other parents tell funny stories, and comparing notes about favorite baby foods.

The more time that passes, the more I understand the transformation that takes place once kids are in the picture.

I try to keep it in mind that the whole experience of becoming a mom can be overwhelming. I will ask a pregnant woman when her due date is, but I also try to at least ask her how she's feeling.

Once that baby comes, she'll understand: Becoming a parent doesn't happen over night, but over time it does reshape you completely.

Life is definitely all about the baby, and now I can't imagine it any other way.

• Contact Jessica Wiant at jwiant@nvdaily.com. For more "That's Life" and other family news go to www.nvdaily.com/moms.



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