The past few weeks have been a learning experience for everyone in this household; with the biggest student, perhaps, being yours truly.  I've learned so much since the birth of my daughter, much of which has completely redefined words I once thought I had understood. 

Here are four words redefined by motherhood:

Trust - For an admitted hypochondriac like myself, pregnancy and childbirth were a true test in trust.  I had to trust my body, and the fact that "I can do this!" I had to trust my doctors- that they understood my body and symptoms, and were not going to overlook something potentially devastating.  And I learned to trust my instincts, particularly when taking my baby home- without a user manual or instructions {these little things should come with one, am I right?}

Respect- Wow. I thought I respected my mother before, but now its next level.  She did this four times? Without an epidural? Without nannies? All before the age of thirty-three? As the wise Yeezy once said, "Damn, they don't make 'em like this anymore."  In an era of scheduled C-sections and staffed-up households, I am in awe of her.  She made it look easy, and it just couldn't have been.

Tired -  I think it's entirely possible I'm learning the definition of this word for the first time.  And for the first thirty years of my life, I had been using it entirely incorrectly.  Tired is not what you feel when you get six hours of sleep. It is not what you feel after two-a-days at the gym. It isn't what you feel after writing a thesis, or cramming forfinals at a top-twenty university.  It isn't even what you feel while pregnant; not even during the first trimester when "exhaustion" is your first pregnancy symptom.  Tired is what you feel when you don't sleep for two days because you have a primal need to watch your baby sleep after thirteen hours of labor... and all the other sleepless nights to follow.  If the word "tired" applies to life before and after baby, then a new word needs to be invented... They could not possibly mean the same.

Love - Yes, the feeling I have for my daughter redefines this word- 100 %.  But it has been my experience with the rest of my family over the past few weeks that has so very clearly defined it.  Love is sacrificing your own sleep for your partner's- like my husband has now done more times than I can count, even when he has to wake up at 5 am to catch the commuter train to Manhattan.  Love is my mother coming home from the hospital before me, cleaning my bathroom, stocking my fridge, and doing my laundry so my husband and I didn't have to.  Love is my sister leaving my hospital room, mid-baby visit, because she had a tickle in her throat- sparing my daughter even the slightest risk of a cold, despite the fact she so badly wanted to snuggle her.  Love is my best friend making the trek from Brooklyn days before an impending surgery, all to meet my first born and hold her while I caught up on some sleep.  In other words, love is putting another person before your own feelings, wants, and needs; sacrificing for that person because, simply put, you love them.