To give you an idea of who you’re dealing with:
I always have a list.
I overpack. I pack for my husband because there’s no way he knows how many pairs of socks he actually needs. I have at least two back-up plans, and, yes, I am nervous that I have forgotten my emergency snack. You see, I worry. BUT, I try to be the most prepared worrier possible. That makes me a good worry wart, the kind you still want to hang out with because I probably brought an extra water bottle for you. Right?
When my husband and I decided we wanted
In the moments when I didn’t know what was going on with my changing body and hormones, Carol Anne and Nicole encouraged me to trust my instincts. I never felt embarrassed or scared to talk to them, and they always followed up with me and asked for updates. When my husband was out of the country for extended periods of time at the end of my pregnancy, they checked in on me. They were on high alert, and they knew my husband’s travel schedule. When they came over for our prenatal appointment, they laughed with us.
They told me what I actually needed in my ridiculously over-packed hospital bags.
They taught Nick methods to help me feel more comfortable during labor.
They didn’t preach at me when I said I may get an epidural.
They made me feel confident about not getting medically induced, despite Nick’s hectic schedule.
Labor (Labour) Day:
I waddled into that appointment ready to have all my whimsical mama-to-be instincts affirmed.
I felt like I didn’t know my own body.
I cried, and I ate three bowls of cereal.
Plot Twist: It worked!
I labored through the night and into the morning.
Nicole was the teammate my husband needed in order to thoroughly support me through that very long night.
When it came time to push, Nick played music from Jock Jams, and we laughed and danced (I wiggled in my hospital bed). Nicole coached me on how to push effectively, and she even captured photos and videos for us on my phone during those final moments of labor. She was a familiar voice in a room full of strangers as we welcomed our sweet Eloise Katherine into the world.
Our first few days postpartum were extremely tough.
Breastfeeding did not happen how I had so deeply desired. This was one variable that I was completely unprepared for. Thankfully, Carol Anne and Nicole knew to be prepared for this. Carol Anne came over a couple days after we returned home to help us figure out our breast pump and to see if our issues with Eloise’s latch were resolvable. When I felt completely overwhelmed and exhausted in providing nourishment for our daughter, Carol Anne reminded us of our faith and strength as a couple. I will never forget when she called to check on us, and she said, “You will never be given more than you can handle.”
I was able to take the longest, most luxurious shower of my life while she folded laundry, took care of our baby, and washed dishes.
While we discussed how exhausted I was from my pumping and Eloise’s feeding schedules, she said what needed to be said: “You are free to do what you need to do to be a happy mother. You need to give yourself permission to do so.” Freedom? Happiness? Don’t just settle for exhausting, unsustainable parenting? Sounds crazy, but in those first couple weeks, I didn’t think freedom was for me anymore. We have been able to feed Eloise exclusively with my breastmilk so far, and I truly believe Carol Anne and Nicole’s support in those first, foggy days helped us do this.
Carol Anne and Nicole helped the worrier in me take a backseat. They helped me put down my lists during this new, always-changing season of life.
When I felt overwhelmed by everything to do in taking care of our newborn, they reminded me to simply be Eloise’s mama and to trust my instincts.
Mary is a new mom living in downtown Toronto. She grew up in Ohio across the street from a boy named Nick. They got married in 2014, and they have lived together in Canada ever since. Mary and Nick welcomed their first child, Eloise, in March 2018. Mary studied Secondary English Language Arts Education at Miami University.
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