A Reflection On The Last 20 Weeks

Source: Kristen Driscoll Photography
Photo: Kristen Driscoll

With only two weeks left of my maternity leave, I’ve been reflecting on the past 20 weeks. The fastest 20 weeks of my life. Physically having Reece started a rollercoaster of the deepest emotions I’ve ever felt – absolute fear, intense sadness, pure joy and happiness, a deeper love than I can ever describe and finally a peace that I never thought was possible. A peace that I hope will stay with me as I begin my new journey as a working mom.

Reece’s birth was intense. When she decided to come out and meet us, she was obviously super excited, because it was fast and furious and involved a lot of backflips. So many flips that she turned herself upside-down, resulting in an emergency c-section. “She’s breach. You need a c-section…right now.” With that statement, I’ve never been so scared in my life. They assured me that she was okay, but I was in active labor and she was trying to come out booty first. Probably shouldn’t have sang her “Baby Got Back” so many times. The moment I saw her is when the peace came over me. The rush of love and emotion was fierce and being a mom felt right. I knew that this little lady would change our lives forever and not just in the normal “now we have a kid” way, but in a deep emotional and spiritual way.

We lost my grandmother when Reece was 4 weeks old. It is a privilege to be her granddaughter and a true blessing that I had 32 years with her. She had an unwavering faith in herself, her family, her friends and in God. She was an incredibly selfless person and radiated strength and grace. I’m so thankful to technology for giving Reece a chance to “meet” her Gigi and for letting them see each other. It comforts me to know that her influence will live on amongst our family and Reece will get the chance to know her from us all. She always said “If it’s for the good of my soul, then let it be.” Something that we can take with us and live by.

I’ve watched my husband fall head over heels for this tiny human and I get to fall in love with him over and over again as he melts every time she flashes her beautiful big, gummy smile at him. I’m not going to say that we weren’t really living before Reece came onto the team. We have a life filled with love, fun and living room dance-offs and we’ve had our own intense, juicy love story, but she is the reason for it now. Her beautiful innocence makes me want to experience the world through her curious eyes, which I believe is making me a better person every day. I know that we will be the most powerful influences in her life, but so will she be in ours.

I’m so amazed and in awe of what my body did. It grew an awesome tiny human. A perfect, gorgeous, spunky little lady with the sweetest personality (ask me again about the sweet personality in 13 years). And now it makes what it needs to nourish her, keep her healthy and double her size. For my skin’s sake, I always knew the importance of treating my body well. But I have a deeper respect now for it and am amazed at what it is really capable of.

I’ve almost accepted that my body will probably never be the same. But it has brought us the most beautiful baby in the world so the extra squishiness, the weird lines and veins, the surgery scar, and the psoriasis flare its brought on are its new normal. It has worked incredibly hard for over 9 months and continues to do so daily especially while my immune system fights itself, so it really deserves to be cut some slack.

I read an article yesterday that @HuffPostParents shared by a woman named Kara Lawler that really resonated with me. Kara vowed to herself that she “won’t sit on the sidelines again.” One of the first things that I promised my daughter when she entered this world was that I would never miss a chance to play with her. I never want to sit on the sidelines because I’m uncomfortable in my body. She deserves to have a confident mommy who is always up to splash in the pool, run around with her in the park, take her on adventures and do a million other things. I will remember that promise when I’m feeling insecure about my spotty skin. I will remember that promise when I feel a little extra squishy and I will remember that promise when I try to talk myself out of exercising. I will teach her to respect her own body and to exercise and nourish it wisely, but also that pizza is awesome and that she should always eat the cookie.

A Reflection On The Last 20 Weeks
Right now, as I watch her practice her new rolling talent and scold the toucan on her jungle mat for unknown offenses, I feel so incredibly honored to be her mommy and lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to stay home with her longer than the usual 12-16 weeks. She amazes me everyday with her new sounds and movements and with her spunky, yet serious personality that comes out more and more everyday.
I have an endless to-do list of things I wanted to accomplish on maternity leave and I guess some I can work on getting to, but I won’t. I will take in and enjoy the next two weeks filled with her incredible smile, yummy baby giggles and try to figure out what the toucan’s problem is.
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