Redefining Yourself as a Person, a Parent
Published: February 22, 2006
It’s funny how life works. I had never anticipated being a parent. And I don’t say this meaning that I never liked children. I just never imagined myself with children. I was 29 years old when my husband and I after five years of marriage started discussing the possibility of having a child. My worst fear was would I be a good mother? I mean, I had my own mother to use as a role model, and believe me, she was the greatest mother a child could wish for. She was a stay at home mom and was someone who would do anything for her children. A great listener, a great friend, someone I could trust, and above all, someone who I truly admired. So how would I measure up to this? She could cook, sew, do the laundry and iron – all in a day’s work. I, on the other hand, was more of a “heat it up” and take it to the cleaners” kind of gal.
I didn’t have much time to really ponder the situation as I found myself pregnant almost at the same time as the thought had entered our minds. I think the strangest thing for me was suddenly finding women friends that I never knew I had at work. Being pregnant as I learned very early on in my pregnancy is a bonding thing for women. Everyone had advice for me. People I didn’t know from other floors of my office were coming up and touching my belly. If you are a shy person, brace yourself, as you will have total strangers asking you the most intimate questions with your body. “How much weight have you gained?” is one I think I hated the most.
I received a lot of advice, but I think the best advice was to read the book “What to expect when you are expecting”. The book takes you through every month of your pregnancy and discusses all the changes that are taking place with you and your baby. It really opened my eyes to really understanding the whole experience.
Other advice I took to heart; I rubbed tons of vitamin e on my stomach to avoid stretch marks and wore loose, comfortable clothing right from when I started gaining weight. I may have looked uncomfortable sometimes, but I never wanted my clothes to contribute to that.
I won’t say I wasn’t an emotional wreck sometimes, with my hormones playing against one another. But that is perfectly normal and sometimes you would be surprised at how great you will feel after a good cry. But I did worry a lot. I went back in forth in my mind about the possibility of losing my career and losing all that I had worked so hard to get in life. I had some people in my office (who never had children) telling me that I had made a huge mistake. I really did love my job but in retrospect, I was defining who I was by it. So I had to come up with a new definition of who I was going to be.
But really, I think what is most important is the first time you hear your baby’s heart beat and see your baby on the monitor. You really understand that there is a life inside of you and suddenly all the aches and pains and discomfort that you have been enduring takes a back seat – trust me on this. And you suddenly realize that all your fears about being a good mother are overridden with the immense sense of maternal instinct - it just kicks in. And when that child is born and they put that child in your arms and that child looks up at you, you know from that moment on, your life will never be the same. And you know what? That’s a good thing.