Changing diapers with one hand has proven to be a challenge for pro surfer and shark-attack survivor Bethany Hamilton, but that hasn’t stopped her from embracing motherhood in full.
Hamilton, who was 13 when she lost her left arm in a 2003 shark attack off the coast of Hawaii, later returned to the surfing circuit, inspiring the 2011 movie “Soul Surfer.” After marrying Christian youth minister Adam Dirks in 2013, she publicly revealed her pregnancy last February, and celebrated Tobias’ birth last June.
“When I first held him in my arms it was just immediate love and you just know you would die for him,” Hamilton, 25, told the Daily Mail in an article published online Thursday. “It was instant love and so magical to hold a child that has grown inside me, knowing I had brought another life into the world.”
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Midnight-snack cravings notwithstanding, she said she “breezed” through her pregnancy, but motherhood has ushered in a slew of new obstacles. Her first three months of parenthood proved particularly harsh.
“Of course the sleep deprivation was hard, but learning to change his diapers with one arm has become harder the more active he gets,” she told the British publication. “I have to use my feet and the more he moves, the harder it is, so I have to try my best to distract him. First I arrange the diaper with my one arm, then I use my feet to lift his legs before reaching and fastening the diaper with my one hand. It’s even harder as we use re-usable diapers, which have a button that you have to fasten. It’s definitely not easy and some days I get so frustrated, but I always get there in the end.”
Of course, motherhood is a challenge unto itself, too. In addition to getting used to nursing, Hamilton had to cope with her son’s colic.
EARLIER: Pregnant Bethany Hamilton shows off bump while hitting the waves
“[Any] mom that has dealt with that will know just how hard that is to deal with, so much so it’s hard to enjoy the time together,” Hamilton added. “‘You just have to keep thinking it won’t last forever and you will one day get through it.”
In the end, she asserted, it’s all worth it.
“I’m loving being a mom and watching him grow,” she said. “The first time he smiled gave me so much joy it was insane and there is never a dull moment in my life now.”
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Bethany Hamilton surfs while 6 months pregnant