Tag Archives | baby

Mama

In the beginning Penny was jaundiced and lost 13% of her birthweight after leaving the hospital, so we were putting in regular appearances at the pediatrician’s office.

Bleary-eyed and sleep-deprived, I held my daughter so a lab technician could prick Penny’s heel and draw blood to test her bilirubin levels.

“Name?” asked the lab tech.

“Penelope Van Sant.”

“Date of birth?”

A long, long pause. “Uh, hers or mine?”

The technician gave me a pitying laugh. “Hers.”

That was the first time I realized that I was a parent. The first time it really sunk in. All my life, the only birthdate that had ever been requested of me was my own. Until now.

There’s a new layer to my identity. In addition to so many other things, I am now also Mama. I’m not sure what that means, just yet.

I love my daughter. I was actually a little bit worried about this before she was born, because I’ve been told that sometimes the love doesn’t come right away. That I might feel awe, that I would surely feel responsibility, but that love–real love–might take a little bit longer, and that it would be normal if that were the case. But it wasn’t. I loved Penelope completely as soon as I saw her. Awe and responsibility, too. But I was full to bursting with so much love.

I’m still exploring what it means to be a mother. It means feeding Penny, changing her, keeping her alive. It means cooing at her and delighting in her smiles. It means holding her and rocking her and getting up in the middle of the night. It means doing these things over and over and over again until I’ve lost all sense of time. It means doing these things even when I do not want to do them. Even when I am tired or stressed or angry or sad or overwhelmed. I take care of her anyway, no matter what, because I am her mother.

But that is only for a little while, and those are only the tasks of being a mother right in this moment. Those are the things I do, but not who I am.

And that part, I think, will take a little longer. I have only recently gotten used to being a wife. It took over a year to fold that into my identity, to say my new surname with confidence. I still haven’t recorded a new voicemail message, though. Being a wife is something I grew into, and I imagine motherhood will be the same.

For now, being Mama is strange, but so sweet.

 

Posted by on March 6, 2014 in Personal

The Home Stretch

bump progressI am 37 weeks and 4 days pregnant. There are 17 days left until my due date.

I really thought I would update this blog a lot more throughout my pregnancy, but it just hasn’t happened. A lot of things have fallen by the wayside over the last 9 months, and I’ve struggled to come to terms with that.

We have finished all the classes, we’ve installed the car seat, we’ve sort of cobbled together a nursery (at the very least we have a place for the baby to sleep) and so really, all there is to do at this point is wait.

I hate waiting.

There are times–many, many times–where I can’t believe I am about to become a parent. Becoming a parent is so irrevocable. It is forever. So much of my life is about to shift and change. There are days when I still can’t believe I am a person who is married, who jointly files taxes and owns a car. A financially responsible person with a savings account, whose student loan debts are (gradually) getting smaller instead of larger. A person who–on paper for certain, and oftentimes in practice–is an adult. A functioning, contributing member of society. When did that happen?

I can’t believe I am about to give birth to a little girl any day now. And that I’ll be expected to take her home with me and keep her alive and spend the next several decades teaching her how to be a compassionate, responsible person.

The desire to have children was easy for me. It has always been there, and I have always been sure about it. What surprised me, really, was everything that happened after that desire was set in motion. I always believed  that I needed to have a child in order to feel like a complete, whole person. In order to have a happy, full life. As soon as I got pregnant I was slammed with the realization that that line of thought was flawed. There is no complete. There is no whole. I will forever be expanding. We choose different paths, and once we’re on our way we can’t imagine life could ever be otherwise. But now I know there are infinite possibilities in each of us. I could still have had a beautiful, full life if I had chosen differently. More than anything else, pregnancy has given me a magnified sense of self.

I am ready, though, to be done.

I am tired of the physical complications and emotional tumoil of pregnancy. It’s been enlightening, it’s been devastating, it’s been infuriating. It’s been a fucking bitch, and I am done. I am ready to put my shoes on without assistance and roll over in bed without pain. I am  ready to have a glass of wine with my husband and make it through terrible, manipulative commercial breaks without bursting into tears. I’m ready to hold my daughter.

There will be challenges to being a new parent, undoubtedly. But I am just so excited for the challenges to exist OUTSIDE OF MY BODY. I’m so excited for David to hold his daughter. I can’t wait to see them together. I can’t wait for the three of us to be a goofy little family. I can’t wait until she’s old enough to eat solid food so I can give her a lemon to taste for the first time and video it, because videos of babies eating lemons is one of the best gifts the internet has ever given me, and being able to torture my own kid with lemon wedges for my personal amusement is maybe a good 50% of the reason why I got pregnant in the first place.

All of my terror regarding labor and delivery (and “terror” really is the word for it) is still present, but it’s been muted, softened somehow by time, education, and inevitability. I have my plans, my hopes, but am trying very hard to surrender myself to the fact that so very much is going to be out of my control.

There is so much about the next stage of my life that is unknowable. What will she look like? What will she be like? What will I be good at? Where will I fail? What will make our family stronger? I am so thrilled to start discovering who she is, and who she will be. I am so looking forward to seeing my husband grow and change, and I am welcoming the ways in which I’ll change, too. And the ways in which we’ll stay just the same.

In short, Baby, it’s time to come out now. We just can’t wait to meet you.

sophie

 

Posted by on December 23, 2013 in Personal