“It’ll change your life!”
How many times did I hear that when I was pregnant?! At least 100! And though it’s true, “change” doesn’t begin to describe the transformation of your life. You know that your life is bringing you a new adventure with this bundle of joy. And you may understand some basic changes: you expect that instead of late nights with friends, it’s going to be late nights with crying baby; instead of happy hour, it’s now napping hour; instead of the duo you shared with the hubby, it’s now a trio. But the reality for me was so much greater and intense.
Before baby: I used to spend many nights in my office until 7 or 8 p.m. working on all the “behind the scenes” stuff like paying bills, HR stuff and continually looking for ways for us to grow and improve.
As a pediatric dentist I am involved in my local Portland/Beaverton community and my dental community, and spent many evenings at meetings or events. After baby: I’ve gone from working 60-80 hours a week to under 40 hours in 4 days. I rush to get home every night by 6 p.m. so I can nurse my sweetpea. I’ve only missed dinner with the hubby once, and that was a tough night. I came home to a sleeping baby and I teared up. Even though he was asleep, I picked him up and snuggled him (luckily, he did keep sleeping!) I hardly recognize the person I have become and yet, I love every minute.
Working with kids has been my passion since a young age. I started babysitting at age 12 and my life naturally progressed into a path of becoming a pediatric dentist. I’ve been surrounded by children my whole life and yet I find myself completely mesmerized by the littlest things my own child does. My baby figures out how to grab his toes and I spend hours encouraging him to do so; he rolls over and I have to call all my friends to tell them—as if he’s the only infant who has ever done this. When he smiles, my heart melts and I know the true meaning of love.
I always knew I would raise my own children but, like so many other women in their 30s today, I focused on establishing my career first (and making sure I married the right guy). I finally hit a point in my life where I felt ready. Ready to experience the wonder of pregnancy and the development of a little human being, ready to give my child all the attention he or she would deserve.
What I wasn’t ready for was the complete transformation of mind, body and soul. Sometimes I look in the mirror and I think, “Who am I now?” Though I’ve always been an upbeat person, now I can’t stop grinning ear-to-ear.
The struggle for me lies in finding a balance between time with my family and baby, and time at my office, being fulfilled in my very rewarding career. I absolutely love my job and my days filled with adorable children. Now that I have my own child, I find myself connecting to mothers on a deeper level. Instead of a secret handshake we have little secrets that include baby giggles, difficult deliveries and struggles with child rearing.
My advice to women thinking about having kids: when you’re ready, it’s the most awesome thing you’ll embark on, and no one can truly describe the transformation. Once you get there, you’ll find yourself more closely connected with other mothers and having conversations about everything from nursing, to going back to work, to when your baby should start teething—and most especially, how much your life has changed.