My first son was born almost 13 years ago. I remember so vividly conversations with my cousin - she had already had her first child, a beautiful girl - she’d end our chats by saying “Grow that baby.”
Grow that baby.
I remember pushing and pushing. I couldn’t really feel anything because of the epidural but I remember the pressure and the nurse saying “Let’s have a birthday, keep pushing...and oh is it Myles or Spencer?”
I said, “It’s Myles” and there he was. The moment he was born and placed on me - I thought “Holy shit.” Really, my first thought was “Holy shit.” There was a baby in there - an actual HUMAN BEING. It was almost unimaginable. Ten toes, ten fingers, hands, feet, sweet lips and chubby cheeks. I had done it - I grew that baby. And then PUSHED HIM OUT. For the first time in my life - as a 31 year old woman, I felt powerful.
My career on the surface could be called successful - now 20 years in - I wonder if it really was, or really, if I care. My 20’s in New York City - traveling to Australia, all over the Caribbean, visiting beautiful, fancy and far off lands. Those years - I long for them. The handsome businessman whose eyes I could feel on me from across the boardroom table. The late nights at the local Irish bar. The struggle of paying rent and having to live (and eat) for the rest of the month. I long for them not because I don’t love my kids (I’m not a monster!) but because of just how much I love my kids. Gone are the carefree notions of lust and late nights.
Okay, so, fast forward: 2 jobs, 2 states, a marriage, another beautiful son, a divorce, a house, a dog (yippee). I have responsibilities - I have two beating hearts and budding minds to help navigate the world. I have a mortgage. I have a lawn.
I’m a woman living in what is still a man’s world. It’s a cliche because it’s true. I make the money and unlike some women - I don’t have a husband's salary to support my family. No shade - just my life and perspective.
You give up a lot to have a demanding job and have kids. I wouldn’t have had it any other way - I was proud to be a working mom. Sometimes, and don't hate me - I judged stay at home moms. Not because I don’t admire their choice (I do!) or know just how God damn hard it is (ridiculously hard)! I judged because I felt judged too - I'm running a household, feeding my kids, doing laundry, helping with school projects and homework, driving them to extracurriculars and all of that. Plus, meetings and endless emails and for many years, lots of off hours phone calls and writing and stress. This shit is nuts. Try dating on top of all that. Exactly. Good luck. (Seriously, stay at home moms - RESPECT).
Don’t let me fool you though - I loved it, for a while.
And then a long time goes by. A very long time. The power I felt when I delivered my son all those years ago, was gone. I’m restless, I’m bored, I’m fed up with bullshit. I’m tired of crying. I’m tired of holding my tongue. I’m tired of putting on a fake smile. Then, I leave my job. Ridiculously scary. Worldwide pandemic hits. Ridiculously scary - say it again for the people in the back.
But. But. I didn’t miss it. I don’t miss it. I reflected, like REALLY reflected for the first time in 20 years. I focused on my kids. FOR THE FIRST TIME. I cooked them breakfast and dinner. I helped them with school work. I listened to them. I sat with them. I also walked, I walked a lot. Like so many others when forced to stay home, when all outside obligations are suddenly gone - you have to sit with your life - and face it - because outside obligations are often just distractions from the shit we don’t want to look at. With due respect to the tragedies and loss brought on by Covid - I’m grateful. This once in a lifetime opportunity forced me to look at my life. And one day I called my stepmom and said, “Okay, maybe I’m crazy but I want to be a Doula. I’m going to be a Doula.”
Kidding, I'm just getting started.