Bear with me, I’m new to this: Motherhood

Being a new mom involves more work than I imagined, but it’s all worth it.

Playtime is my favorite. The coos and waahs along with jerking movements of excitement, I look forward to these precious moments. The best of playtime is when I’m looking into the eyes of my little one and he gives me the most beatific smile that makes my heart warm. After playtime, I pick him up and watch as he falls asleep in my arms. He’s tired from being a cutie all day. This, people, is being a mom.

Looking back to March of 2018, and the two pink lines that stared back at me saying “welcome new mom!” Honestly, I didn’t know how to feel, or what to do. I was nervous about telling anyone. Thoughts like “what kind of mom will I be,” and “would I be able to handle all the responsibilities of a mom,” went through my head. I know that most new moms have those types of thoughts and it’s perfectly fine. I realized that being a mom doesn’t just start when the baby is born, but the nine months that precede the delivery date.

The months in between are filled with special moments; the hard decision of choosing the many names that both my boyfriend and I picked out, the planning of gender reveals, and baby showers. Pregnancy is also the time where everyone around you shares their own experience about being a first-time mom. I loved the fact these mothers were kind enough to share their experiences because eventually, I would witness everything firsthand. I realized that every woman’s pregnancy is different so I couldn’t believe what another mother would tell me. Strangers, would come up to me and say, “oh my god you are so little to be pregnant!” and “how many months you said you were again?” If I could count the times that people did not believe I was pregnant because of my petite size, I would be drowning in cash money right now. However, my nine months were filled with ups and downs, the good and the bad. It was enjoyable for me. I loved watching my stomach grow and the weight gain (I gained 40 pounds during the pregnancy) and taking the hundreds of baby bump photos that I will never share with the world. As with motherhood starting with conception, we all have a delivery date where we meet our little one. 

Every mom has one: My Birth Story

It was midnight, and my boyfriend and I were on our way to pick up our iHop order in Irvington, NJ. I was sitting in the car waiting for him to come back with the food when suddenly I had an urge to use the restroom. I started laboring in the iHop bathroom and I was terrified. The iHop employees were in the bathroom with me, asking to call the ambulance. My boyfriend came into the bathroom to get me. He helped me into the car and drove through every red light until we made it to Newark Beth Israel Hospital. I got there and they were like “no you are not in labor… false alarm.” 

That wouldn’t be the last they saw me that night. Within four hours I was back at the hospital, five centimeters dilated, and screaming my head off in Spanish. Humorously, I can’t speak Spanish, so I was yelling out some of the few words I do know, “burrito”, “Julio”, and “frio”. The nurses gave me a medicine called Nubain which takes the edge off the labor pains by making you very sleepy. After I received an epidural at seven centimeters, it was smooth sailing in my labor. My boyfriend and I did the baby mama challenge and I was on the phone with family and friends. The next thing the mid-wife came back in the room and I started pushing. Pushing a baby out for the first time took a couple of tries and they had to shut off my epidural but after several minutes and I had my son Jayceon Fowler in my hands.

Mommy duties

A few weeks into the next stage of motherhood I realized sleep had turned into the best friend that everyone has that ends up moving far away and you barely see anymore. Here are a few reasons:

1). Breastfeeding. I loved the idea of breastfeeding, but I didn’t realize how hard it was to get my son to latch. Every two hours I would wake up and feed him, hoping that he was getting his proper nutrition. I honestly thought my baby wasn’t eating until he went for his pediatric visit and he had gained one pound and a few ounces. I was so exhausted because it seemed like every 30 minutes he would cry for food. I would be so tired breastfeeding that I would fall asleep while doing it.

2). The infamous dirty diapers. Of course, all babies are going to use the bathroom its nature. However, at first my baby wasn’t dirtying up many diapers and then after week three, I had a lot more wet and soiled diapers. All through the night, I was getting up back and forth changing wet diapers and putting him back to sleep. My boyfriend is a huge blessing to me because he lets me sleep and he helps change the diapers especially when I’m beyond tired.

3). Constantly checking my baby. It’s probably because I’m a first-time mom but I stay checking on my son, especially at night. While he is sleeping, I stand over him to make sure he is breathing and even sometimes touch his little palms to make sure he moves. I know eventually my level of paranoia will decrease but as of now, it’s one of the factors that keep me up at night.

Work leave/ Bonding time

Being a first-time mom and one that works, I do enjoy my time off from work to spend with my son. I would also like to say thank you to whoever came up with maternity leave. At this point, I feel that it is critical for me to spend this time with him and to make sure that he knows that I’m his mom and just shower him with love. I’m fearful that when it’s time for me to go back to work I’m going to be sad because I am always near him. I like waking up every morning feeding, changing, and playing with him. At this very moment, I am enjoying every moment I have with him since I will be going back to work soon.

Being a mom doesn’t come with a manual, but I wouldn’t change it

It’s not much I can say about motherhood since my son is about to be two months old. However, I will say within these months it’s been challenging but rewarding in that I get to watch my favorite little person grow. As he continues to grow, I’m pretty sure I’m going to become even more informed on the different mom experiences. Motherhood to me seems like this; you experience, learn and grow. As for now, I’m taking this mom thing one day at a time, and as I am typing this article with my son in my arms, I am anxiously waiting to hear him sing Mommy Shark doo doo doo doo doo doo.

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Shanika

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