I look back on my last night out with friends before I became pregnant as if it were a scene from a movie and not my actual life. The times I laid in bed, easily consuming multi-season Netflix series knowing I could sleep in as late as I wanted. Now, watching one episode per week is an accomplishment. I didn’t realize those were the last moments of extended “me” time I will probably ever get, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Nowadays, I find myself mindlessly rocking my grocery cart to soothe a baby that isn’t even in the store with me. After just 7 months, my muscle memory already defaults to thinking I’m rocking a stroller.
That reality check got me through many mental battles about “not being ready”. Interestingly, pregnancy is actually closer to 10 months (40 weeks) for full term; something I previously had no idea about. I only made it to 38, but still, it felt like an entire year.
During that time, you go through phases of nausea, fatigue, excitement, panic, nesting, reading books, making lists, and focusing on the prep work. What else can I do to somehow be “ready” for the moment he comes? Will his nursery be perfect? Are his diapers in an easily accessible place so I can grab it with one hand while keeping the other on the baby? Did I buy the right diaper rash cream? I have to bathe a newborn baby without getting WHAT wet?! Did you say umbilical STUMP?!
I could go on like this for a very long time, which is the funny part. “Old” Tyler left her laundry unwashed for 2 weeks and never thought twice about the type of detergent I used. This new neuroticism of motherhood is something no one told me about. The layers of worry are like nothing I could have ever known.
When you’re so tired that you should, as everyone says, “nap when the baby naps”, but instead, you’re peeling, boiling and pureeing 5 different kinds of vegetables and cleaning an endless pile of bottles, spoons, bowls and sippy cups. Love is putting someone’s needs before your own, and missing them when they are asleep.
This is who I am now. I feel more whole, more productive, and more responsible than I ever even wanted to be. That version of myself that always seemed so far away, the version where I am a mom to someone who looks at me with eyes that are studying my facial features every day. Those 9(ish) months are not only spent growing one new person, but two.
Tyler Sylk is the Creative Director for Bumpdate. She is a first time mother with a passion for creative writing and personal connection. With a Master’s Degree in Public Health and over 10 years working in hospital settings, Tyler focuses her energy on helping those around her and empowering them to use their voice. She believes we can all learn from each other if we take time to listen.