First Time for Baby


We’ve all heard the saying: It takes a village to raise a child. Well, as a first time Momma, I am here to tell you…It.Really.Does.

I am not sure I completely understood the meaning behind this proverb until I came to the raw realization that I was going to be a parent myself. 

For me, the realization that I was going to be a Mom was not when the pregnancy test read positive; it was not when my “belly bump” looked more like a basketball; and to be completely honest, it was not even when I watched my husband nervously pace the house gathering our hospital things at go-time.

(Cue the midwife) Welp, you are five centimeters dilated. You’re having a baby today!

BOOM! That’s when a spectrum of emotion took over my mind and body. But, I’ll get back to this.

My husband and I have been married two years in September, and together for over ten. For both of us, the hope to have kids and start a family one day was always our favorite conversation, and always at the top of our dream list. So, despite the grueling rollercoaster of a year that flipped every person upside down in 2020, that 16th of July, when we found out we were having a baby, will always hold a special place in my heart. Little did I know, however, it would also be the most thrilling, high-speed, and emotional adventure in my life yet.

In the early weeks of my pregnancy, I went through crazy fatigue (In fact, the grogginess I felt is what led me to take a test in the first place) and experienced slight nausea, nasal congestion, constipation, and face acne.To be honest, none of the symptoms really bothered me as a first time Mom-To-Be. It was like a “honeymoon” (just not on a Mediterranean Cruise like we planned); every day I thought I had to be pinched into reality. But no, all of it – Josie’s first heartbeat at 167 bpm, her first bump debut, her first flutters in my belly, and her first visible punch outside my skin – was, in fact, my actual life. And it was magical.

And thennn, 33 weeks hit like a bag of bricks and I was over it. I was large and in charge with stretch marks, restless, itchy as F all the time, and had terrible pelvic pain (I was wearing one of those prenatal cradles every day). I was over sleeping on my side; I was over the constant trips to the bathroom; and I was over the fact that my husband could not attend appointments with me. Not to mention, I was still teaching, so my focus was split between all-things-baby at home – attempting to get everything organized and ready - and also prepping for a long-term sub, checking in on my students, grading, and creating virtual assignments. I also hadn’t seen my friends (and really any extended family) in a long while because, ya know, COVID. To sum it up, I was tired, and ultimately, just overwhelmed. But, Moran’s don’t quit. So, in the words of Dory herself, my mantra remained the same: Just. Keep. Swimming.

I ended up swimming the entire full term of my pregnancy, and took enough walks to make my neighbors heads spin. And then, just like that, 40 weeks plus 3 days later, it was go-time…

(Cue the midwife) Welp, you are five centimeters dilated. You’re having a baby today!

Instantly I felt excitement, fear, happiness, disbelief, anxiety…the list goes on and on. Despite the numerous articles I read, the Lamaze classes we took, the various baby/parenting apps I downloaded, my mind went blank and my body went numb. The unknown was about to unravel right before my very eyes and I didn’t know how to make sense of it; I couldn’t make sense of it.

I clearly remember thinking to myself: I am going to be a mom today, and I don’t know how to do that; I don’t know how to be that. Yet, approximately 4 hours later, a mom is exactly what I was, and now, the very person I will forever be. And it’s everything I could have ever wanted and more.

I have no words to describe those first moments a Mom holds her baby. I promise you, every cliche you’ve been told is not a cliche at all! All hold so true! 

What they don’t tell you, however, is that as soon as that baby is born, the room clears out. It goes from the doctor and a room full of nurses, to just you, your support person, and your new little love. Don’t get me wrong, I was in the most wonderful trance of my life that golden hour - little Josie’s sweet face resting on my chest - but thinking back to it, how terrifying! But that’s just it. If you let yourself be, you ARE on your own at that point on and it is scary! 

As a new Mom, I very quickly learned the challenges that come with taking care of a baby and how much help I needed. And sure, don’t get me wrong, the books and all that are great, but when you’re in a pinch at 11:30 PM at night and suddenly come down with a 102 fever (because you later found out you had mastitis), or need someone to pick up groceries because eating is the last thing on your mind, or your baby has a major blowout up her back (and all over you), trust me, you’re not flipping through the pages. In those moments, you turn to your people. Your village. 

When I held Josie for the first time, there’s no doubt in my mind that my purpose in life was fulfilled. I love being a mother, and I know I am damn good at it, too. But, Mommas, let’s be honest with ourselves. Do we really know what we are doing each day? Maybe you do, but I sure as hell don’t! Every day I am stretching myself beyond any limits and heights I once had for myself, and I rely on the people around me to help teach, console, offer advice, and just be there for me and my family in the hour (or minute) of need. I am building my village.

It's not always easy to admit that we need help (trust me, I come from an Italian family and we ALL like to think we can just handle everything on our own), but Moms-To-Be, New Moms, and even Current Moms, allow others to help you when they offer to help! These are the people you can count on. These are the people who keep you grounded. These are the people who help you balance work, home, a social life, and everything in between! 

And, as you build your village to raise your child, remember to be a part of someone else’s village, too!

XOXX,

The Proud New Mommy of Josefina Grace

(written by Gabby)


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