A brief Q&A with three moms at three different stages of motherhood - 2 months pre-birth, 1+ year post-birth, and almost 40 years post-birth (lol).
The moms in question (and answer):
- One of my bestests, Becky - She is due at the end of July. Here's hoping baby Enriquez Estevez Cruz and I will have matching birthdays so we can be connected forever and ever, just like how I'm connected to Benito Mussolini, who was born on July 29, 1883! But hoping that baby won't become a dictator, although I will support and love him either way.
- My sister in "law" (really, though, sister in love), Angela - mother to the brightest light in our family orbit, Eo! She is 15 months into it (not counting the 9 months he was marinating in her placenta juices).
- My mama - mom of 39 years (to two amazing and brilliant children :), grandma of 1+ year, although if we count my fur children, she's been a grandmother for 14 years already.
What freaks/freaked you out the most about being pregnant/becoming a mom?
Becky: I’m a chill person, so I don’t really freak out. But, I really want to breastfeed, and I have inverted nipples. Then I realized it’s normal to have inverted nipples. It’s something I’m very passionate about. Well, not really “passionate,” I just don’t want to feed my kid formula. That shit’s expensive! That’s all, outside of making sure I don’t get sick. I tried not to get diabetes, and I passed the test! I think being healthy enough to have a baby. I stopped smoking weed way before I got pregnant. The biggest fear I have is actual pain, cause I don’t do well with pain. I also got pregnant way too fast, two months after I stopped taking birth control. I had been on birth control for 8 years, and I was like, What if I can’t have kids? Or it takes people a year, they say, then you have to go get checked. Also, my age. I’m 35.
Angela: With being pregnant: The birthing process. The pregnancy process wasn’t that bad, but the part about having to push him out: how was that going to happen? I know we're all made and set up for it, but that is a tiny hole and a big head. It worked out.
Right now: not that much. I think it's the anticipation of what's going to be in the future. And as sad as this might sound, I tend to dwell on all the negative things that could potentially happen, like, you know when you talk to someone about the terrible twos or the teenage years. All the bad parts. But then I’m trying not to so much, even though that’s in my nature. When I see him, and I see Steve holding him, this is how he is right now, and this is who he is right now. And maybe in 20 years, he won't want to spend time with me, but maybe a few years after that, he will. I do worry about that, even though it’s a ways off, but I know it’s all gonna go in the blink of an eye, and I kind of have to live in this moment.
Mom: I wasn’t freaked out about being pregnant or a mother. Why would I be?
You weren’t nervous?
Mom: No. I’m not [American] white. Maybe that’s why.
[LOL - Many years ago, we were watching someone give birth on TV, and I was mortified. As we all know, it was mostly white people on TV 20+ years ago. Anyway, I asked if it was that bad, and she said, "NO, they're just being dramatic, it's really not like that." This coming from the woman who has a VERY sensitive scalp and a generally (very) low pain threshold. So, either she suppressed the trauma of childbirth, or she is just a gangster.]
What are you most excited about?
Becky: You know how you wake up and say, “What do I do for myself?” Now I have to think, “What does this baby want today?” It switches the mindset. That’s what I’m looking forward to, the routine of it all. You’ve been childless, and now you’re building a new routine.
Angela: Well, tonight, the joy and excitement as he eats something. He takes after me.
[During pregnancy], I don’t know if I would use the word "excitement." It was more like, "Okay, this is gonna happen; I’m one day closer." I’m not one of those moms that was like, "Oh, my god, I'm so excited and happy that I'm going to have this child!" I think that happened during the birthing process, and I reached down and felt the top of his head. My thought was, "Your head feels like an avocado pit." But then the realization: this is life, that is our child, that is our son! Then that whole feeling and emotion ran over. During the whole pregnancy process, I wasn't like, "I'm so excited!" No. Especially since I was perfectly fine not having a kid.
Mom: Having Steve there after nine months. Having our first baby.
What do/did you think your routine will look like?
Becky: Well, first couple of months, I guess, anxiety. Is this baby okay or breathing? And then after that, passing the anxiety phase, feedings and teaching them, I guess. You wake up and the baby dictates it.
Angela: I had no idea, cause I had no experience. I had no real stories that I could relate to. What I did think about was what would it be like when he's 5 or a little bit older, because the main experience I'd had was playing with our friends' kids. So I was wondering if I would have the patience and attention span to keep a child engaged and entertained for an extended period of time. I never took care of a baby. Eo is my first for everything.
Mom: Sleepless nights. And lots of diaper changing.
What are some lessons you’d like to impart to your baby?
Becky: Oh, that’s a good one. That’s hard, because this is where Mario and I are different. I want to be able to give my kid everything. I got everything I wanted, I’m not gonna lie. Mario came from a different financial situation. So it’s like, being able to spoil the kid, but at the same time, know that life is hard. I guess overall, the lesson is: Life is not easy.
I also didn’t get into reading until I was older. Obviously, I read for school, but not for fun. And I asked Mario, How did you get into reading? He just enjoyed it. But I was like, Why? And how do we get our kids to enjoy reading? If he’s not a reader, that’s fine, but it’ll help with his creativity and learning. That’s the first “parent” thing we explored; we want our kid to read. Because in a world of technology, everything’s online.
Angela: Fiscal responsibility. I want him to be able to enjoy food. We hope he never has to go hungry. We were thinking about this whole situation tonight, cause we had a whole bowl of food, and it was over six ounces, so it's more than the packaged food, which is probably why his stomach is so big every night. We understand that it's a luxury that during these times, not only is he eating, but he’s eating well. And I think I want him to be able to understand and appreciate that later on: go to a hole-in-the-wall and appreciate that, and a fancy restaurant--assuming that comes back into existence--and appreciate that, too. So yeah, that and fiscal responsibility.
Mom: [She can’t be bothered with my questions.] … [ A few minutes later, she finally relents.]
It doesn’t matter what I wanted to impart. What’s important is what you have learned from me being your parent. Well? What have you learned from me?
[Lol, I am getting a glimpse into the kind of therapist I will be in 20 years, that is, if I haven't quit.]
What did you learn about yourself in pregnancy?
Becky: I thought I was gonna be a… not “miserable” person, but I really thought I was gonna be grumpy. I don’t handle pain or being uncomfortable really well. So I thought I was gonna be the biggest b-word. But it’s not as bad as I thought. You learn that your body is meant to do this. People tell you that all the time, but it really is. You can have one, too. If you are meant to have one.
Angela: Hormones are uncontrollable, and they can suck. Internally about myself, nothing really new came about. Everything was still normal. I’m still pretty much the same person I was then. But the emotions that came out because of the hormones.. To be fair, I only had two or so mini breakdowns. Hormones are like drugs. Once it hits, depending on how strong it is, you can't fight it.
Mom: That it’s not as difficult as they make it out to be. I was lucky because I took after Grandma. She didn’t have a hard time, so I didn’t have a hard time either.
Do you have an embarrassing pregnant story you’d like to share?
Becky: We don’t see a lot of people right now, just going for walks. I have to obviously go to the bathroom. If you eat something heavy, you go to the bathroom right away. I have a lot of gas and hiccuping, so I was farting when we were walking at Sprouts. You know when you have to go, and it just gets worse? I was farting on the way, and I can’t help it! When I burp, I can’t help it! That’s the most embarrassing.
Angela: [She asks my brother.] Not really. Does it count where I decided to take a shower during labor because I wanted to give birth clean?
Mom: No. And if I had one, I wouldn’t share it.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Becky: I think being mentally well [is important.] And manage the expectations you have about being pampered. Having a baby shower? That shit didn’t happen. Don’t have expectations. When you get married, you have expectations about this and that. It never really lives up to the expectations. And that’s cool, cause it’ll help with birth. Whatever I think will happen, it won’t. I just go with the flow now. It’s just me and Mario, and we’re gonna get through this.
Angela: Don’t turn down any help that you can get. Lolo and Lola [my parents - "Grandpa and Grandma"] have been absolute lifesavers. It’s been hard with them, so I can’t imagine what it’d be like without them. I don’t want to imagine what it’d be like without them.