On Becoming a Parent

We made a deal. The deal was that if we didn’t get pregnant in 2021, we would try IVF once in 2022, and if that didn’t work, we had to rewrite our plans. I’d known that being a two-career couple could challenge our marriage, but I didn’t anticipate the hurdle of natural conception. We’d seen doctors. I’d been scanned, probed, tested, and examined in every possible way to determine if something was wrong with me. Everything appeared normal.

Everything except the pandemic. The stars aligned, we were prepared, and miraculously, we had a child.

One would think becoming a parent happens when a child is born. It doesn’t. Becoming is evolutionary.  In my journey as a parent, I’m becoming:

More attuned to meaningful priorities

A vital presentation needed to be completed by the end of the business day. This particular business day turned out to be surprisingly sunny and perfect for a walk in the park. “Pre-parent” me would have chosen to ignore the lure of the sun and work through the presentation.

“Parent” me blocks three hours in the afternoon to have ice cream, play at the water park, and watch my son explore every rock and twig he encounters.

This, in the beginning, has been a difficult choice – the duality of being a career woman and a mother seemingly in conflict. It poses the question of what I value more. In my case, it is relishing and being in the fleeting moments of my son’s childhood.

Better at saying “no”

Time is our ultimate currency. Becoming a parent forced me to take a hard look at my calendar and assess the value of my busyness. Jason Feifer wrote, “Even the most hard-charging among us must admit: Greatness does not happen when it’s squeezed in between meetings. And the meetings themselves sure don’t produce greatness.”

I started accepting invitations as “tentative” until I fully understood the value or purpose of my presence in those calls. Conversely, it is with the same clarity that I now treat other people’s time, even those without children. I’m finding that with this approach, I effectively prepare for my calls, articulate my message, and get the desired outcome.

A new version of myself

Allow me to clarify. Parenthood is stewardship. Human parents, dog parents, cat parents, foster parents, adoptive parents, and anyone who accepts accountability in raising and caring for another being is a parent. It’s like an entire dimension that opens up. It’s like a room suddenly appearing in your home.

Two weeks postpartum, I felt alien to my body and mind. I tried different approaches to reconnect with who I was prior to giving birth. There was no going back. Instead, I learned, that there is only a new version of who I am, which includes the title “mother.”

Becoming is a constant forward and up motion. Becoming is growing.

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