Becoming A Parent: My New “Normal”
Uyen Tran, Half Moon Bay, California
When my first baby was a few months old, there were days I felt so trapped. I felt that my “normal” life was pretty much over – the life where I was free to do whatever I wanted to do, to go places, to ever realize my dream. I asked a friend if that was true. She told me that I would feel “normal” again soon one day; it would come. That felt like a distant dream while I was in the thick of caring for a newborn, nursing and pumping, restless days and sleepless nights.
No one had told me that being a new parent would be so hard. I felt lost with my new identity. Running on empty, all the discomfort, sensations, and feelings were heightened. But my friend was right. Very slowly and gradually, the day came when I started to emerge from the dark bunker and see life in a different light.
I used to think that babies were so tiny and demanding of all my time and energy, and because of them, my days of freedom and my career were done (so dramatic!). But then, those babies eventually grew out of my arms, out of their baby shoes, weaned, learned to walk and run, to do cartwheels and roller skate, started school, and took field trips far out of my sight.
Even more, my career wasn’t over. It was starting over new. I always thought my babies held me back from advancing in my career. Instead, they inspired me and gave me wings to fly higher, to realize that I still could dream – for me, for them – and helped me gain the courage to make that dream a reality.
I thought I was tied to the baby and would never be able to leave my door alone for more than three minutes. But then, thanks to them, new possibilities opened up. New encounters and meanings were created in my new normal life.
Right now, somewhere, a new parent may be wishing for their life pre-baby back, and I want to go back to the night when everyone and everything was quiet and sleeping and only I stayed awake with my brand new baby in my arms, nursing the night away.
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