BY JENNY B
Three years ago, I co-opted the family Easter egg hunt to announce my husband and I were becoming parents. The aunties and uncles and grandparents-to-be received an egg with an ultrasound photo, while my nieces and nephews were cracking open eggs full of chocolate and jellybeans. As a person who did not get the natural ‘crafting’ gene that my sewing-machine-owning mother and sister have, this was a victory in planning and execution.
The year after that, we took a photo of our daughter in a blue oversized armchair wearing what is still my favorite fancy dress of all time. And, this time last year, a late walker but ambitious scooter, she was finding her own way around in pursuit of Easter eggs, tolerating even the touch of grass, sequins glinting off her pink-on-pink dress into the sun.
The 2020 Easter egg hunt scene is different than any of us expected, to say the least. The community Easter egg hunt in the local park will not take place this year. And, honestly, we’ve been letting her find and open plastic Easter eggs with a variety of treats in them for weeks, as we try to entertain her, gather some momentum for potty training, and balance work and home responsibilities during the Stay At Home order in our state.
There are many unknowns in these anxious and uncertain times. It reminds me of my journey into motherhood through high-risk pregnancy. I wanted to be a mom for years before I was. There was a lot of waiting and watching, hoping to correctly read the signals and clear the next milestone. I kept thinking, “I’ll be happy when we’ve reached 12 weeks…20 weeks…27 weeks pregnant…” for the corresponding medical guidance and likelihood of a healthy outcome for baby and me. There was always another goalpost: bringing her home from the hospital, 5-days post-birth, all the regularly-scheduled pediatrician visits in the first year....
My in-laws have a saying to reflect the anxiety and restlessness of early parenthood, “Many nights, I walked the floorboards with you.” On the bookshelf near my daughter’s crib, there is a framed photo of that first ultrasound. In a photo frame etched with “Love at First Sight,” she seems such a tiny but triumphant baby with her arms raised. It was my anchoring image on many late and sleepless nights, to remind me what a miracle having my healthy and strong daughter is. My daughter has pointed to it and asked about it. In her toddler voice she calls it, “Little Baby,” because I told her it was her when she was a little baby.
There were a lot of reasons or moments we could have lost hope and given up along the way to becoming parents. The first photo I see on my bookcase, most mornings, is her as a newborn baby, smiling at her first morning’s light. Throwing around the term ‘miracle’ can sound cliché or not applicable for those who aren’t religious. So, I’ll say that it’s a daily reminder that perseverance, listening to medical guidance, and leaning into the support of your family and community yield great outcomes. Be well and take notice of what anchors you and has moved you through past challenges that might otherwise have been overwhelming. This isn’t just for parents and those wishing to be parents – this is love in the time of COVID-19.
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