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    Any woman who has borne a child will agree that after nine months of pregnancy and the experience of bringing life into this world, she is a different person.

    On the physical aspect, it's easy to pinpoint the changes that have transpired: your hips are wider, the skin on your tummy isn't as taut as it used to be, your feet are probably one or two sizes bigger, and you bear the "scars" — stretch marks and stitches — from pregnancy and childbirth.

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    Although women who proclaim that motherhood has changed them probably means it as a figure of speech, science confirms that a woman IS different after bearing children but in a "deeper" sense. This phenomenon, occurring at the cellular level of the body's DNA, is called microchimerism, where a small number of cells originating from another individual can be found in a host individual's body. Microchimerism can happen in a number of ways, and one of them is through pregnancy.

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    During pregnancy, fetal cells may enter the mother's body through the placenta, and these become integrated with the mom's tissues. According to the Smithsonian, fetal cells are like stem cells that are "pluripotent" — they can grow into different kinds of tissue and assimilate. One study found that the cell samples they collected from 26 women who bore sons contained the Y chromosomes — the sex chromosome associated with males — in all of them.

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    Although it is not yet fully understood how the maternal cells interact with fetal cells, scientists believe these might be found in tissues that may directly affect the fetus, such as the mammary glands for the production of breastmilk, and the brain, to trigger maternal instincts. 

    Motherhood changes you

    Aside from the scientific process explained above, one's outlook in life goes through a meaningful change when motherhood enters the picture. As spiritual guru Osho said,  "The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before."

    We asked members of our Facebook group Smart Parenting Village what kind of changes they noticed about themselves when they became parents, and here's what they sent us via Facebook (answers have been edited for clarity):

    "I learned to not stress over the small stuff. Before, I always wanted to be right all the time. Now, if something has the possibility to stress me, I just let it go." - Aia Austria 

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    "I've become less daring and more mindful about my safety. Siguro dahil kailangan nandyan ako para sa mga anak ko. Hindi pwedeng may masamang mangyari sa akin." - Kath Pompa-Calagui

    "Still pregnant, but I suddenly learned how to save money right away. I also learned to appreciate how supportive my partner is of my pregnancy. I am definitely more in love than ever." - Eyah Ballada

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    "Since I became a mom, I started to feel afraid of getting old, that I won't see my kids grow up and have their own families." - Gigi Bello, mom of two

    "I have depression. Since getting pregnant, I learned to take better care of myself, to always eat my meals on time, to look both ways before crossing the street, and just generally have a better outlook in life. I've always said that my partner has saved me from myself, but our daughter has taught me to like living. It's still hard at times, but just feeling her move inside my belly every day is enough to anchor me and actively makes me want to be alive for a very long time, something that I've never even wanted before. She owes her life to me as her mom, but in so many ways, I also owe her mine." - Trish Tullas, pregnant with her first daughter 

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    "I’ve never been this scared yet strong — scared to see how cruel & unsafe the world is, yet strong because I know I can do anything just to protect my little girl from any harm. On a lighter note, I've also memorized all the nursery rhymes and lullabies although I don't really sing." - Sarah Tariman

    "I've learned to value my hard-earned money, which means less spending on unnecessary things like makeup, bags, and shoes." - Janet Sincai

    "Motherhood made me love my mother more. She became a new person to me. All the things she did and are still doing now for me and for our family became immeasurable. I feel tremendously grateful for having her as my role model in my journey as a mother. There is no word to describe her now and her name is my sole definition of the word 'mother.'" - Pennelope I. Baria

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    "Since I became a mother, I noticed that I've become more patient. You'll be surprised how you can juggle motherhood, being a wife, house chores, school activities, and even your personal life in between the hustle." - Jo-an Liwanag

    "I used to hate online shopping when I was single. I doubted online sellers. But when I gave birth, online shopping became my stress reliever." - Arianne Ulip Politico-Ilagan

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    "I noticed that I became more introspective. Motherhood has its fair share of joys and challenges, and I usually find time to have a self-check and reflect where I am at. I think this helped me prevent post partum blues and direct me to my priorities, vision, goals for our family." - Victoria Ann, mom of two

    "I realized rest is important. Since college, I've always been a multitasker (academics, orgs, part-time jobs), which helped me juggle a yaya-less motherhood. But now, I am conscious to include rest in my agenda. If I am well-rested, I can function better, have less flare-ups, and enjoy the time with my husband and kids more." - Anna Patricia Rodriguez-Carranza, mom of two

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    "I never knew one’s strength could be at the same time his weakness, until I became a mother." - April Joyce Candela, mom of two

    "Having taught for 8 years, I thought I was already a very patient person, but my newborn daughter taught me patience. I thought I was already so in love with my husband, but now I am head-over-heels bewitched by my daughter. Motherhood is the best thing that has ever happened to me." - Sherry Mae Briones-Nariz, mom of one 

    "'Yung mga dating akala ko kadiri, keri ko pala. Pag nagsusuka anak ko, instict ko na na sasaluhin yung suka sa kamay ko (kesa dumiretso lahat sa kama), magkuskos ng shorts/PJs na may ihi o dumi, at mag-breastfeed sa loob ng comfort room. Kapag nanay na, you do what you have to do talaga. Kakayanin mo lahat para sa anak mo." - Pinky Aquino

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