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Girl Talk: New-Mom Blues

Q. I feel guilty admitting this, but I'm frustrated by how much my life has changed since I became a mom. I love my baby, but I miss the old me. Is this normal?

Let's get this straight: You shouldn't feel guilty (even though I know you still will). It's completely normal to look back wistfully on your pre-baby days. No sane mom could embrace the all-consuming care a little one demands without lapsing into frequent fantasies of the even mundane things you once took for granted -- like having two free arms to wrap around your partner or two free hours to spend at the gym. (Heck, two free minutes would be welcome now, right?)

Even though we know our lives will be different post-baby, when said changes actually occur, we're shocked! I suppose that's because it's virtually impossible to anticipate your new life. You may just have imagined your pre-baby life -- you, freshly showered, wearing clean clothes, with all your mental faculties intact -- but with a sweet-smelling, non-screaming bundle of cuteness tucked under your not-at-all-tired arm. Instead, you've had to adjust your daily (and nightly) routine, as well as your entire outlook. Things you'd never noticed before, like how fast people drive, now seem scary. At the same time, items that used to rank high on your list, like watching Grey's Anatomy or checking yourself in the mirror (Am I wearing pants? Matching shoes? Doh!), drop to the bottom.

Okay, now that I've made you really nostalgic over your paradise lost, let me cheer you up. You aren't a different person, just a different version of you. It may be a more tired, moody, plump version, but the temporary physical changes pale in comparison to the lasting change that matters most: You're falling in love with your baby. If you can, revel in the transformation. If you're too flippin' exhausted to think straight, let alone appreciate it, that's all right, too. But at least ditch the guilt -- it will help lighten the load. Those lingering dinners with girlfriends and nights of uninterrupted shut-eye are simply on hold. In the meantime, you get to experience a whole new set of emotions and events. At some point, you'll realize that the new you isn't so different from the old one.