Asked by her workplace to write a piece about balancing motherhood and one’s working life, my daughter wrote this moving, funny essay.
On August 23, 2018, I became a mother for the first time, to a beautiful, adventurous baby girl. Getting her here was no easy feat!–but I’m sure most mothers can say this to some degree about their pregnancies and/or giving birth. My personal story, though, is that I had to be scheduled for a labor induction because my blood pressure was getting too high (which was understandable, considering that I was the size of the Goodyear Blimp in the middle of a burning hot Indiana August). So, one evening my husband, mother, and I went to the hospital to prepare to bring our little “bun” into the world.
Twenty-four hours of labor later, nothing had happened except for several frightening moments as both my own and my baby’s blood pressure and heart rate bottomed out (and zero luck with getting any sleep!) My OB/GYN (whom my husband refers to as “Dr. Sexy” because, in all honesty, the man really could have been on Grey’s Anatomy!) discussed our options with us. Option 1: Keep waiting and see what happens; Option 2: Stop the induction, let me have a meal, and start the induction again tomorrow (they almost had me on the whole “have a meal” thing!); or, Option 3: Get this show on the road and have a C-section. We went with Option 3. Already on an epidural anesthetic, I was dosed with more and wheeled into the operating room.
My C-section experience was ultimately unremarkable except for being able to feel them cut into me just before they pulled out our little bundle of joy. I do not jest! It really felt like I was in the movie Saw or something! But they snapped a photo of this perfect child and held it in front of my face, knocked me out completely and sewed me up, and I woke up just a little bit later to my beautiful little mini-me.
Once we were home, I was lucky enough to have my wonderful husband home with us for a month as we got into our new routine as parents. But eventually, my man had to go back to work and it was just me and this tiny little human being. Things didn’t exactly go as planned (when do they ever?), but ultimately, we got through my eight weeks of maternity leave. However, I experienced a whirlwind of postpartum depression, with crying and anxiety spells every day. I informed Dr. Sexy of my problems, and was matched up with an amazing therapist whom I still see to this day, eight-plus months later.
When I was asked by my office to write a blog post for our website about what it’s like to be a new mother and to balance motherhood and work life, I hesitated for perhaps all of 30 seconds before I signed on. I decided to be entirely honest about my experiences.
New motherhood has been hard and intimidating because it brought to light all my own personal “stuff” that I need to work on, as well as a general “What the heck am I doing?!” feeling that I’m certain will never go away. But it’s also been such an amazing, fun, happy, “There’s not enough adjectives to describe it” experience!
When I had to return to work two weeks before Halloween, I planned our routine and our route to the babysitter’s as well as I could, got there early–and then cried in my car for 20 minutes. Each day I felt both excited to be back to helping adults (adults!) with their concerns, as well as sad. At times it was unbearably heart-wrenching to leave my baby girl behind. But I am incredibly fortunate, for I leave her with family each working day, where she is cuddled and loved every moment.
So, to answer the question of how to balance work and family life: I don’t really have a profound answer to give you. All I can tell you is that it gets a little easier each day, even if certain hours are incredibly hard. And that it is so important to practice good self-care. As I said, I still meet with my therapist weekly to work on personal stuff that I want to have a handle on as I help shape my little girl into the woman she will become. I also laugh with my family and friends, have date nights with my husband, and try to acknowledge that it’s okay that I was, and am still, a complex human woman who wants to be present for everything in my life.
So, take it one day, one hour, one moment at a time. Talk to the people who love you. Ask for help. All the “Mommy Club” are here cheering you on! Happy Mother’s Day everyone!