It has been a wild ride these past twenty months. Raising a baby into a toddler was not at all what I expected. Or let me clarify; I assumed I would have time. At least three hours a day is what I recall telling myself when I was pregnant. Three hours a day to write, blog, submit, and continue to build up my career.
That was not the case. Somehow, I turned from artist/writer to stay-at-home housemaid. With the free time I did have, mainly with Jax sleeping on my chest, I spent answering emails and running my bridal business. I was exhausted.
Spending time with Jax, teaching him new things, and the constant awe I’m in when watching the expression on his face with each discovery he unfolds will always be the highlight of my day. But, the non-stop cooking, cleaning, and laundry is something I don’t have a talent for and so because of that, from months four to eight of my son’s life, I fell into a deep depression, feeling like I lost a big part of my identity.
Jax was eight-months-old when we finally hired afternoon help. From 3:30 – 5:30 pm Tuesdays – Thursdays, I had a little more time to focus on other things I needed, such as running Share Journal, finding and featuring talented artists, and putting their work out into the world. I had some time to start submitting The Pace of Nature again. Yup, I have not given up on getting my novel traditionally published! And, submitting February 23rd, the third short story to Jackie Chronicles. You can read Part I Honey here, and Part II Stefan here.
But I still don’t have the time to give these things 100% of my attention and it takes a toll on me from time to time.
Back in June of 2021, Mike and I showed up at the hospital on Friday, June 4th to start the induction process of delivering our baby. We didn’t know Jax’s gender until he was born, so we referred to him as baby throughout my pregnancy.
Jax needed to be induced three weeks early, due to my placenta “tiring out,” it was unable to produce enough blood and nutrition for Jax, so, he had stopped growing. Needless to say, he needed to be earthbound so we could physically start feeding him.
The induction was a slow process, which included many procedures, along with loads of chemicals pumped into my body, all intended to prompt labor. I started going into slow labor Saturday evening. Thirty-six hours of labor later, I was still determined to have a natural delivery, even though the doctor was losing patience and wanted to roll me into the OR. Luckily, Jax’s heartbeat was strong throughout the entire process, as was mine. I said no way; I’m willing to wait and let nature take its course.
Thanks to the hypnobirthing classes I had taken, I was able to breathe through the stressful moments, remain calm, and await our baby’s arrival.
Monday, June 7th at 2:30 pm, I began pushing with Mike on my left, holding one leg, and my doula on my right holding the other; Mike wiping my forehead with a wet rag, my doula feeding me ice chips and holding a hand-sized fan in front of my face. At 3:48 pm, Jax was here. Moments later, my doula looked at me and said, “don’t you feel empowered. What a weekend, after everything you went through, don’t you feel so strong?” I took a moment and soaked in the question. And at that moment, my answer was no, I did not feel more strongly or inspired by what I had done.
I had made a conscious decision to get pregnant and have this baby. From that choice on, it was not about me or my feelings. It was about protecting this baby. My job is to do what I need to do to help this baby flourish and grow to be a well-rounded, kind, humble, giving, self-aware human being. So far, I had brought him safely into the world. I still have a ton to do, is what I’d told her. She looked taken aback, but that was how I felt.
And so, in these times when I get down about not having time for myself because I’m cleaning, cooking, and doing laundry, I remind myself of that day, of that question my doula had asked me right there on the labor bed. I remind myself of my answer to her. I ask myself if I still feel that way. My answer is yes. I tell myself that one of these days, probably too soon, I will have more time for other things I love. Until then, I will raise Jax the best I can, continue to submit The Pace of Nature, and run Share Journal. If I have time to do anything extra, well, then that’s just cool.