Life Update

I’m a mum! What a whirlwind of emotions the past 16-months have been as my husband and I welcomed a bright-eyed baby, now busy toddler, into our lives, and into our hearts. In no way is my story unique, as many were pregnant during the pandemic, and many gave birth in the early days of unknown lockdown life. I don’t need to rehash the horrors of the past 19-months, as some are still reeling from the havoc this very real virus had on our day-to-day lives, nor do I need to share what hospital / NICU life looked like from the perspective of a mask-wearing-new-mum, it’s all a hazy blur anyways, but I do want to share some words on this new, and still very surreal, motherhood journey.  

In the summer of 2020, after a five-day hospital stay, we brought home a teeny 5lb baby. Those early days were spent on the couch cuddling our little bundle, in bed playing catchup on missed sleep, and outside, lounging under a big umbrella. Days and nights blurred together, time shifted, and life outside of our three-person cocoon vanished. The days were hard, exhausting, yet magically beautiful. Every day was a learning experience as we all adapted, grew and slowly became comfortable as a new family.

Then, after I finally thought I had a handle on my new role, anxiety settled in with each sunset. I counted down the hours until bedtime with dread, and then I would add the hours until the next feed, while subtracting the hours of sleep I would lose. Phantom cries would wake me, and the real cries would snap me out of my slumber, where I would rush to the crib bumping into doorways and walls along the way. The baby monitor was always on, always beside me providing a false comfort to what was reflecting back at me on the screen. It wasn’t enough. I was constantly scared that she would stop breathing in her sleep. I had to know that she was still alive. I would tiptoe to her room and slowly open the door to hear that inhale exhale sound, and if I couldn’t hear anything, I would sprint to the crib and place my hand on her to feel the rise and fall of her tiny chest. Relief would momentarily fill me, and when it didn’t, I would scoop her into my arms and hold her, the weight of her comforting me at all hours. I was a mess that was overflowing with a newfound love that I didn’t know what to do or how to act when she wasn’t with me.

Already, those fears feel like a lifetime ago. (Time no longer makes sense when you watch a baby grow anxiously waiting for one stage to end while simultaneously wishing you could push pause on this precious, albeit fleeting, moment in time.) Now, I watch my bright-eyed baby with awe and wonder as she begins to navigate through this world waving at every stranger that passes by, and pointing at everything in amazement. Her perspective on our surroundings teaches me the importance of showing kindness to others, that the little things we take for granted (rocks, twigs, puddles) all beautifully belong here. She teaches me that there is always time for another push on the swing, that there is always time for an extra book before bedtime, that there is always time to crawl on the floor and be silly, that there is always time for her, because one day there won’t be any time. So for now, I will hold that little hand in mine, forever and always.

Marriage & Motherhood

Part Two: Motherhood

I hear it all too often: Your clock is ticking; when are you going to start having children; don’t you want a baby? I know I’m not the only woman who hears these comments, and I’m not the only woman with motherhood anxieties, yet it feels like I am the only one not having a baby?

As someone who has recently entered her thirties, the baby talk, along with the marriage talk, is more imperative, then let’s say, everything else (career goals, community involvement, creative pursuits, etc.). These kinds of questions further add to my motherhood anxieties, let alone, the main culprit – the natural pressure my slowly aging body exudes on the ticking time bomb called my uterus. I know that I’m not the only thirty-year-old that is chasing time, a career, and an identity, but sometimes it feels like I am alone in this life race. Some of you may say that I am being over-dramatic and that children are the greatest blessing (I know, I know, I know) but so is the solace of a Saturday morning with nothing to do but the day’s crossword.

Maybe it’s all those perfectly curated baby announcements on Facebook; or the fact that everyone else IS having a baby but me; or simply, I’m afraid that I will lose my friends to mommy groups, but feelings of jealousy and resentment arise every time my cursor lingers over the ‘like, love, haha, wow, sad, angry’ feeling choices social media provides. OF COURSE I am ecstatic when friends announce that they are expecting (I’m not a heartless selfish b!), but a part of me falters – will that ever be me, and if so, when? Am I not allowed to feel these emotions because I’m not ready…If I’m feeling these emotions, then why not just have a baby? It’s not that easy! There are two things my partner and I need to agree on: Are we financially prepared and are we ready to adjust our lifestyle? Spin yes, fill you car with babies, if not, keep driving. Obviously, we talk about our future, and babies are in those dreams, but so is being debt-free, it will happen, but not yet.

I digress; motherhood is beautiful, terrifying, but beautiful. It is beautiful being able to witness my girlfriend be a mom to her little girls; it is inspiring seeing my sister-in-law and her husband lovingly adjust to their new life of parenthood; and, it is amazing seeing my partner interact with our niece, nephew, and friends’ kids. (Talk about ovaries on fire!) Yet, why is it that something so natural is so wildly judged? You didn’t birth naturally; you’re no longer breastfeeding; have you started thinking about your postpartum body; you hired a nanny; you want to go back to work over being a stay-at-home-mum? I cannot imagine the pressure mothers are under: The pressure to fit in to your pre-baby clothes asap; the pressure to be a perfect mother; the pressure to do it all on little to no sleep. It is scary! What if I need all the help; does that make me a failure? What if I don’t like it; does that me a bad person? What if I’m not good enough; does that make me a bad mum?

Last weekend, my partner and I had our precocious niece stay with us; it was busy, chaotic and fun, but after dropping her off, we both inhaled the quiet and exhaled a sigh of relief, and then my boyfriend turned to me and said, “that should cool your baby fever for the next little while.” That is, until the next baby shower invitation with all its cute miniature-ness lands in my mailbox.

Read Part One: Marriage