Yes, I sometimes think of life before our daughter arrived—and I long for it.

I long for time to myself, to develop my career, and to hang out with friends. I long for days when I didn't have to worry about changing diapers or preparing the next meal.

But most of all, I really appreciate where having a child has brought us. And when I stop to consider the alternative, I don't think my life would be any more interesting or better without our girl. Here's why:

I discovered my calling–as a mother!

Because our daughter came into our lives when she did, I was able to experience a necessary transformation as a woman maturing into a mother. I am forever grateful for this experience!

I realized how important it was for me to be a mother–to nurture and love someone with my whole heart; to break my hard exterior and replace it with tenderness from within; to sacrifice for love and place someone else's happiness and well-being before my own. These were all invaluable lessons I needed to learn.

You got a real job

You responded to the essential nudge that where you were in your career was not where you needed to be. So you found a better paying job, one that offered more than your previous positions. This gave you the opportunity to mature, to explore a different job industry (one that you now enjoy), and to take pride in supporting all of us.

My creativity skyrocketed

Since most of my time is devoted to staying at home, I have been given ample opportunities to express myself creatively through photography, blogging, and writing. The new subject of motherhood gave me a topic to discuss and document, and with that, I have developed my connections and my skills to further push me to improve and seek creative endeavors.

Nutrition, health, and “green" thinking bloomed

It wasn't until our daughter started eating solid foods that we really considered the importance of going organic. This sparked a new all-around lifestyle for us! We began thinking in terms of how our choices were affecting her now and would impact her in the future. Not only did we concentrate on the food we consumed but also on the cleaning products and health and beauty products that we used within our home. We also focused our attention on issues like sustainability, fair trade, local products and companies, the environment, natural methods of baby care (such as using cloth diapers or natural remedies for pain/sickness), etc., that we that we may not have considered as soon as we did.

We grew closer to each other as spouses

With our marriage being so new, we had to hold tight and place our trust and confidence in each other. We had to open up and be more honest about our feelings - especially given that the beginning of this journey was not so easy for us to accept. Through this, we also grounded ourselves in our faith, knowing that we had to trust God and his plan wholeheartedly.

Simplicity became the name of the game

Once our baby came along, all other priorities went out the window; or at least were given their proper place. In a lot of ways, what we wanted and thought we did (or didn't) have to do became about what we needed to have and needed to do.

For instance, we needed to mature as people, we needed to find sources of income that would allow us to provide for our baby, and we realized that having material possessions wasn't going to make us whole, let alone help practically.

In addition, I thought our family needed to live in a house in order for us to be happy. Although my original dream plan for us was to get married, buy a house, then have a baby, our beloved daughter showed us that life can be done out of order and that living in an apartment can still be a happy home environment. It isn't about where we live, but that we are together.

Through this journey of parenthood, we have learned a lot of things about ourselves and our marriage. And we are continuing to grow and learn! It is such a gift to be able to become more knowledgeable and learn from our mistakes together. Becoming parents was the best thing that happened to us because it opened our eyes to life; especially a life outside of us and our desires. It opened our eyes to the joy of children and the beauty of our daughter.