This time last year, I was going to have a baby—but I didn’t know it yet. He was only a few cells awash in a roaring corporeal sea, growing to the steady sound of my heartbeat.
Popular wisdom is constantly trying to tell me that now that I’m a mom, I’m a completely different person. This is true in many ways, but the person I was before my pregnancy is still very much there. I’m just a mom on top of it all.
Although my son isn’t yet four and a half months old, I can say definitively that I’m most effective as a parent when I remember to allow myself a fair measure of me-time, during which I nurture the interests and goals I had before I discovered my pregnancy. I want my son to see me engaging with the world, because this is how I think he will best learn to interact with the world himself. Of course my son’s needs should be fulfilled before I cater to my desires.
That’s paramount. But so is making sure he has a happy mommy. He deserves one. But this, like all things, involves a delicate balancing act. How can I be everything he needs and give him everything he needs while remaining happy, sane, strong, and positive? I’m still figuring it out—and I’m confident that even the best among us have our off days.
This time last year, none of this was on my mind, of course. What a difference a year makes.
I’ll never forget the day we got news of a small passenger. It was a Monday in summertime. As summer folded into autumn, we learned the baby was a boy. Autumn took us into winter, and like a mama bear, I holed up in the warm house, emerging only rarely for a family engagement or doctor’s appointment, counting down the days until I would meet my little cub.
And then, he was here. He changed my life forever. All the more reason for me to remember who I was before he came.
I don’t want to erase my old self. I don’t want her eclipsed. I want my son to know both versions of me: me, the person and me as his mommy, the woman who grew him through summer, fall, and winter, who wants only the best for him, who can’t imagine her world without him anymore.
Kelly Gallagher is a first-time mother from Scotia. She’s excited to share her new adventures with readers.