Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Two Weeks Down: Thoughts on New Motherhood

My first visit to New York was in the fall of 2004, a month before the presidential election. I came to visit my then-boyfriend who was here for a few weeks doing a rotation for med school. Exactly three years later — almost to the day — I moved here — this time, to live with Drew, the man I’d been cross-country dating for the last year and a half. We moved to Brooklyn in June of last year and by fall, I felt at home, finally, nestled on our little tree-lined block, ten minutes from Prospect Park. I spent many a late summer and fall afternoon riding my bike along the park loop, just as I had in Central Park before that and the lake front in Chicago before that.

I do my best thinking on a bike, and last fall the topic I pondered the most was motherhood and when I wanted to have a baby (Drew had already made it clear he was ready whenever I was, and the sooner the better). You can’t live in Brooklyn and not think about parenthood. I once heard someone describe this borough as having an aggressive presence of babies and that’s exactly right. To put it in perspective, I started a new moms’ group in my neighborhood a few weeks ago, anticipating an isolating winter ahead if I didn’t make friends with other women having babies, and in less than a week I’d connected with 15 other new mothers (or mothers-to-be) within five blocks of me. In fact, in the last two weeks, five of us have given birth (all to boys!). That’s a lot, right? I mean, for a relatively small urban neighborhood?

Anyway, my point is: you can’t escape babies in Brooklyn — at least, not in my part of Brooklyn, and so, on my bike rides last fall as I passed countless women carrying their infants in Ergos and Byorns and Moby wraps, I thought a lot about when I’d want to have my own little mini me (or mini Drew). I went back and forth and back and forth, afraid — petrified, really — of making a definitive decision. What if it turned out I couldn’t get pregnant? What if I could? What if it took a really long time? What if it happened right away? Every scenario seemed really fucking scary, and as much as I wanted to put off the decision-making indefinitely — and all the decisions that would inevitably stem from this one — I was 34 and knew the clock was ticking.

And, so I decided: I’d have a baby in June of 2012. That meant I could have one more round of seasons as a non-pregnant person. I could ride my bike through the following summer and drink as much as I wanted and then get knocked up in September, right after my 35th birthday. I’d have my baby just in time for warm weather and Drew and I could maybe even take the baby to the ocean after it was born and tell him about the world on the other side. It’d be great.

But then last December I was laid off from my full-time job and had to do some quick thinking. My priorities suddenly shifted. I woke up on New Year’s Day, after spending a holiday season with Drew, just the two of us, and I decided I didn’t want to wait any longer. 2011 was the year I was going to create a new life. A new life for me… and well, a new life. A new person. Three weeks later I was pregnant.

I spent a lot of the last nine months since then thinking about what this time in my life would be like. Would I fall in love with my baby right away? Would I suffer from postpartum depression? How would a baby change my relationship with Drew? How would it affect my friendships? Would I be able to care for a newborn and still maintain this website? Would I go bonkers staying home with a baby all day, everyday? And while I still don’t have answers to most of these questions — except the first one; that’s a “yes.” And, well, let’s be honest; the last one is kind of a “yes” too! — I know I made the right choice moving forward.

I don’t know that I became, like, this new person the second Jackson was born. I still don’t quite identify with the word “mother,” and there’s a part of me every day that longs for my old life. But I’ve said this before: always, at every point in my life there’s a part of me that longs for who I used to be. That was true when I was 28 and true when I was 20 and it’s true now. But, exhausted as I am — as bone tired and scared and a little confused — I’ve never been so present in my “now,” or excited about my future — about the life that lies ahead. I can’t wait to watch this little guy grow up into his own person, with his own thoughts and ideas. I can’t wait for my family to get to know him, and to teach him things and to show him the world. And most of all, I can’t wait for all he’s going to teach me. If there’s one thing I’ve figured out pretty quickly it’s this: I still have so much to learn. And he’s just the teacher I’ve been needing.

63 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Carolynasaurus October 27, 2011, 3:11 pm

    Thank you for posting this. Although I’m nowhere near the point of having babies, my biggest fear has always been the potential to lose yourself. I’ve seen so many people go from being fun, outgoing individuals up until the day they go into labor to these moms who will use every opportunity to brag about how their baby is so ahead of the other babies in headsize or crawling or to tearing apart working moms or moms who can’t breastfeed.

    I’m glad to hear that your coping well and that you sound like the same person as before, albeit a little more frazzled and a lot more tired.

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  • lurkerliz

    Elizabeth October 27, 2011, 3:11 pm

    Wow, this is wonderfully written. I’m on the fence about having kids with my husband and reading this is reassuring. Thank you!

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  • becboo84

    BecBoo84 October 27, 2011, 3:12 pm

    What you wrote sums up motherhood for so many new moms, but you put it way more eloquently! I’m glad you’re enjoying your time with Jackson 🙂

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    honeybeenicki October 27, 2011, 3:18 pm

    This is great! I really enjoy reading these, especially because you don’t try to pretend like its all perfect – you’re exhausted, you’re tired, you’re confused, etc. Babies are so much hard work, but damn are they worth it. I haven’t yet been blessed to be in a place in my life where I can have a baby, but I do have 2 awesome stepkids. Congrats again! He is such a cutie.

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    lets_be_honest October 27, 2011, 3:21 pm

    Dammit, Wendy! You had me tearing up at work! This is beautiful and as a mother, I can remember back to feeling the exact same way about everything you said, especially the last paragraph. You will just be lucky enough to have written it down to show him someday. That’s an amazing photo by the way.

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  • Jess

    Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com October 27, 2011, 3:26 pm

    Thanks Wendy and many many congrats and hugs your way. I hope you will continue to give us this window into life as a new mother, with all the twists, turns, identity changes, etc. You’ve touched on the questions that so many of us without children wonder and worry about. I’m grateful to have your insights.

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  • avatar

    Steelbird October 27, 2011, 3:43 pm

    That was beautifully written. You and Jackson are so incredible adorable together. You look amazing and he is such a cute little baby, I really love that photo of you two.

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  • avatar

    HBomb October 27, 2011, 3:44 pm

    Beautiful photo, beautiful story, beautiful life.

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  • Amybelle

    Amybelle October 27, 2011, 4:02 pm

    Love this photo! Such a gorgeous little guy, he looks so bright and curious, and Wendy you really are glowing. Those early weeks with a newborn can be so tough, and yet so wonderful at the same time. Thanks for sharing this with us!

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    melikeycheesecake October 27, 2011, 4:05 pm

    I literally teared up! So beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

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    summerkitten26 October 27, 2011, 4:05 pm

    He. Is. ADORABLE. And you’re looking very pretty yourself, Wendy! This was so beautifully evocative.

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  • avatar

    amber October 27, 2011, 4:06 pm

    wendy you wouldn’t know you were the least bit exhausted from this photo! and jackson is adorable 🙂

    almost makes me want a baby, i need to go find one to hold and then give back! 😉

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  • avatar

    elisabeth October 27, 2011, 4:07 pm

    Cutest. Photo. Ever.

    That’s all I wanted to say, really. ♥♥ So many congratulations.

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  • Dear Wendy

    Wendy October 27, 2011, 4:17 pm

    Thanks, everyone! Today was kind of a rough day — jack’s been sick, so I took him to the pediatrician’s office, which in itself was a feat in the pouring rain. The poor guy has his first cold and there’s not much to do but ride it out, which the nurse said could take up to SIX WEEKS. Oy vey.

    Anyway, your sweet comments are cheering us up. Well, me, anyway.

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    • Jess

      Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com October 27, 2011, 4:44 pm

      Awwh, sorry to hear that! Seems unfair to have a cold added onto this otherwise special (and exhausting and overwhelming) time.

      Hope you are both nestled indoors now with some blankies, coffee (for you), and autumn scented candles for a nice afternoon nap (both of you).

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    • avatar

      SGMcG October 27, 2011, 5:00 pm

      Does this mean that you’ve been prescribed the dreaded baby suction bulb to clear Jack’s nose from cold congestion?!? Awww….poor guy! I have memories of my Dad using it on my then two-year old sister because she didn’t understand the concept of tissues. It’s a fun experience to witness, considering she was such a crier and puker. Dad tried to make a game of it for her by pretending that he had to clear a way for the miniature rocket that would travel up her nose so she can remember the songs he was singing as he was squeezing the bulb. It looked like so much fun that I asked him to clear a path for the rocket for me.

      If you sterilize those baby suction bulbs after his cold clears, save them. They make for awesome water guns. Hope Jackson gets well soon!

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy October 27, 2011, 5:05 pm

        We had been using them for the last few days, but the nurse said not to bother. Everything we pull out will just be replaced soon enough. Ew, gross. So, now we just give him saline drops up the nose every two hours.

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      • JK

        JK October 27, 2011, 6:49 pm

        What works really well is shutting yourself in the bathroom with the baby and running the shower really hot (so the bathroom steams up). My 1st was never sick and my 2nd (now 6 months) got her first cold at 2 weeks, as well, so frightening!!!

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy October 27, 2011, 10:35 pm

        How long was your baby sick? And has she turned out to be a sickly baby in general, or was it just that one early cold?

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      • JK

        JK October 28, 2011, 11:02 am

        She´s been practically since then with a snotty nose.. my eldest started kindy this year, so she´s been bringing home pretty much every bug there is. The first time we freaked out (ended up taking her to the ER one night), but since then she´s been fine, just with a blocked nose. If Jack´s eyes get sticky, the best thing is to put some breastmilk on a bit of cotton wool and wipe gently (feels a bit weird to do, though). Hope he feels better soon!!!

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      • avatar

        AKchic October 27, 2011, 8:47 pm

        Yeah… bulbs do nothing but piss off a kid. Vapor rub (they have a baby version in cream form) does help, and they have soothing vapors bubble bath by Johnson and Johnson that works wonders. I use it for myself too! Take a bath together and enjoy. Make sure Drew is in the room with you just in case. Squirmy, sick babies may not be the best to bathe with solo.

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      • Amybelle

        Amybelle October 27, 2011, 11:30 pm

        I used that baby vapor rub cream with mine, it did seem to help them sleep when they had colds, it has a nice rosemary scent, too, not so strong as the regular greasy vapor rub (which I still like for my own colds!)

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      • avatar

        AKchic October 28, 2011, 1:41 pm

        There is the regular stuff with a pink cap in jars, and then the cream in tubes (white tube). We have both, plus the adult form. Hands down, all four boys choose the cream in the tube first. Chest, neck and if it’s real bad – the back. My youngest just throws himself in my lap to me rubbed down and then lounges there like a damned cat being pampered. And he knows when I’m skimping!

        We stock up on the Johnson & Johnson Soothing Vapor Bath (see here: for the winter season. That stuff comes in handy for the kids (and adults). We also use another brand that we found at Wal-Mart for adults that works well to help with sinus issues. Can’t remember the name/brand offhand, but I will eventually.

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    bethany October 27, 2011, 4:20 pm

    Wendy- He is so stinking cute, it’s not even funny! Keep the pictures coming!!

    I really liked this: “I still don’t quite identify with the word “mother,” and there’s a part of me every day that longs for my old life. But I’ve said this before: always, at every point in my life there’s a part of me that longs for who I used to be. That was true when I was 28 and true when I was 20 and it’s true now.”

    I feel that way a lot too- I love where I am in my life, but I do long for who I used to be too. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who feels that way.

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    • avatar

      heathacat October 28, 2011, 2:51 am

      I totally agree with you! Not so much the mother part as I don’t have and won’t be having kids, but I do notice that I often long for what I used to be when I should be loving who I am and celebrating the now.

      I barely post, but I love love love Wendy and the DW commenters. <3

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    ReginaRey October 27, 2011, 3:24 pm

    This is lovely, Wendy! And what color are Jackson’s eyes? They look greenish blue, at least from the angle the picture is taken!

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy October 27, 2011, 4:14 pm

      His eyes are kind of steel gray, but all caucasian babies are born with blue or gray eyes and it isn’t until around 6-9 months old that their eyes change color (if they’re going to change). I love how they look now, but with Drew and I both having brown eyes, I’m guessing he will too. We’ll see!

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray October 27, 2011, 5:04 pm

        So who do people say Jackson looks like, Wendy? Who do you think he looks like? He’s got a very cute button nose. Someone has to claim that!

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy October 27, 2011, 5:25 pm

        He has my nose! Everyone says so. We both have the ski-slope profile that I inherited from my mother’s family. There’s something about his eyes that are similar to mine, but everything else looks like Drew.

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      • avatar

        ReginaRey October 27, 2011, 4:18 pm

        I always presumed that the “all babies are born with blue eyes” thing was one of those urban myths…guess not! I suppose there’s some scientific logic behind that (that I wouldn’t begin to understand…)!

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        6napkinburger October 27, 2011, 4:36 pm

        Mine were dark dark brown from the beginning. Devil child?

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        honeybeenicki October 27, 2011, 4:44 pm

        Mine changed colors (and still do) all the time starting at about 4 months apparently. Mom said when I was a toddler and I’d get mad, my eyes would turn so dark that they were black and she called me her demon child.

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      • avatar

        ReginaRey October 27, 2011, 4:50 pm

        I’m pretty sure from the pictures I can recall seeing from when I was an infant, I had dark brown eyes too. My parents might concur that “devil child” was an accurate assessment! Haha.

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger October 27, 2011, 4:54 pm

        Actually, I was very very squished up when I was born. Like super wrinkly. My mom said I looked like Yoda.

        My parents love to tell the story that they were holding me, looking at my little squished up-yoda face, looked at each other and shrugged: “So she’ll be smart.”

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      • FireStar

        FireStar October 27, 2011, 5:00 pm

        *laughter*

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        thyme October 27, 2011, 7:13 pm

        I was a hideous baby too. I was really early, really skinny, and covered in black hair, which they had to shave in patches to put IVs in my head. My parents say they loved me immediately, but I don’t believe them.

        Thankfully, the hair fell out eventually, but then I was bald until I was almost two!

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      • avatar

        Sarah October 27, 2011, 5:27 pm

        I read a weird story once that said blue eyed men might have some genetic instinct in them to be more attracted to blue eyed women, because it would be rare for two blue eyed people to have a brown eyed kid and in that way a guy could almost definitely know if I child wasn’t his if it had brown eyes. So weird, but I have to bring up that story every time people talk about eyeballs.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray October 28, 2011, 8:01 am

        It’s impossible for two blued eyed people to produce a brown eyed baby, unless the mail man helped out.

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        AKchic October 27, 2011, 8:41 pm

        Caucasian babies are born with blue eyes. Varying shades, sure, but blue. My youngest was the only one born with this steel-blue color. It then turned to a slate gray, and now his eyes are an amber color (he’s almost 3). He’s my only non-blue eyed kid. Although my oldest started turning hazel when he was 9, but it still counts as “blue-ish”, since he’s more blue than true hazel.

        Blue is a recessive color trait, and it is possible for two blue-eyed parents to have a blue-eyed child (25% of the time actually), if they both carry the blue-eyed gene as a recessive trait. If they both carry it as a recessive, then it will dominate and be the color. For that to happen, the parents need to have one blue eyed parent (mother or father).

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        6napkinburger October 28, 2011, 10:15 am

        My mom just pulled out pictures in the delivery room. They were brown.

        But I have CRAZILY dark brown eyes, and two brown eyed parents, and we’re pretty sure i’m big B big B, so maybe that helped? My older sis and younger bro both have brown eyes now, but were born with blue (my sis’ changed at 3 months, my bro’s at 12 months) so my mom would know what blue-soon-to-be-brown eyes look like. Mine were just brown.

        And I was born on Friday the 13th. So there’s your halloween spookiness for you.

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      • avatar

        AKchic October 28, 2011, 1:35 pm

        *laugh* My youngest was a Friday the 13th baby too!

        My eyes were blue the day I was born, the next day, one eye was brown (I have pictures of it), then a few days later, the other eye turned brown. My little sister has always been blue-eyed.
        I haven’t heard of any caucasians in my circle of friends born with brown eyes off the bat, but it’s always possible, if not often.

        The joys of genetics, right?

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    • avatar

      Jess October 28, 2011, 4:57 am

      baby eye color probablity generator!!! i’m embarrassed to say I’ve tried this out with boyfriends before we even got serious! lol

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      • avatar

        MissDre October 28, 2011, 4:04 pm

        I just tried this but I’m wondering if race/ethnicity would alter the results since there is no option for that. My results showed that my kids have 6.8% chance of having Blue eyes, 20.4% chance of having Green eyes and 72.7% chance of having Brown eyes. But, I’m white and my boyfriend is black. I’m wondering if him being black changes the odds? Anyway, cool link!

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      • avatar

        KBobK October 31, 2011, 12:30 pm

        This makes me sad… I have Hazel eyes which aren’t even an option.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom October 31, 2011, 1:54 pm

        So do I so I chose green for my eye color.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom October 31, 2011, 1:53 pm

        I tried it and it was perfect. 5/6 chance of green eyed children and 1/6 chance of a blue eyed child. Both of my kids have hazel eyes and so do my husband and I so I called it green for the calculator.

        Both of my kids were born with dark dark eyes and they began to slowly lighten by the age of two but even then I couldn’t tell whether either of them would have brown, hazel or blue eyes. By the age of four they both had hazel eyes. My son is now twenty and his eyes have darkened to brown, which also happened with my brother. My daughter’s eyes are slowly darkening at the age of 11 and I think sooner or later she will also end up with brown.

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  • FireStar

    FireStar October 27, 2011, 4:26 pm

    How sweet is that photo? Awwww.

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    SGMcG October 27, 2011, 4:47 pm

    Jackson looks so engaging! With this entry and the video Drew uploaded with Jackson, it is obvious you’re baby is very lucky. Jackson has two parents who obviously love him and will do whatever they can to make him grow into the best person he can be.

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    LolaBeans October 27, 2011, 4:52 pm

    omg wendy, such a beautiful post. i love your updates!!!

    jackson looks soooo adorable and so small! 🙂

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom October 27, 2011, 5:20 pm

    Your picture makes my heart melt. Gazing into those dark, unblinking newborn eyes is such an incredible experience. I can’t wait to see the toothless smile photos! Anticipation!

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  • avatar

    MissDre October 27, 2011, 6:15 pm

    I am SOOOOO jealous!

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  • katie

    katie October 27, 2011, 6:33 pm

    wendy i am wondering… you had a plan for a baby in 2012. what changed in you that made you just think, now is the right time?

    i remember a post about 9 months ago when you were first telling us about the baby on the way, and you said something along the lines of, “i woke up one morning and told drew that today was the day. i want a baby”

    I am just curious what made you feel at ease, and what made you change your mind.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy October 27, 2011, 10:39 pm

      Well, getting laid off from my job had a lot to do with my sudden change of plans. That happened two weeks before christmas and I figured rather than go out and find a new work-for-someone-else kind of job, I should take the time i was going to have on my hands and make a baby and create a new kind of employment for myself — something where I could determine my own schedule, so that I could maximize parenthood time.

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  • JK

    JK October 27, 2011, 6:51 pm

    Weird about all those boys being born!!! In my circle there have been like 12 babies born in the last year, and only 1of those was a boy!

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom October 27, 2011, 9:10 pm

      In our first lamaze class with 20 couples there were only two girls and all the rest of the babies were boys.

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      • JK

        JK October 28, 2011, 11:03 am

        I might have to take my girls to the US when they´re older then!! I had visions of all the men with harems! 😉

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    WatersEdge October 27, 2011, 7:09 pm

    I wish I were the kind of person who longed for who they used to be, at least a little. I move from phase of life to phase of life with attention-deficit-style ease, and it always makes me feel a little superficial.

    Great pic, Wendy! He’s lucky to have a mom who clearly loves him so much.

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    Painted_lady October 28, 2011, 12:10 am

    QUIT MAKING ME CRY, DAMMIT!!!

    Thanks so much for this piece (sniff, sniff). Painted Dude and I are talking about the possibility of having kids someday, and I’m stuck in the indecisive mode, for exactly the same reasons you had. I’m not sure about it still, but the idea that you’re always going to long for who you used to be is oddly comforting.

    I think colds early on are common to fall babies – my brother and I are both September babies, and we got colds along with all the big people, just as newborns. And neither of us were especially sick kids.

    And again, more pictures! Yaaaay!

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    mcj2011 October 28, 2011, 11:35 am

    What a great picture!

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    Allissa October 28, 2011, 11:46 am

    Awww. My first baby got a cold at 6 weeks old and we were moving into our first house at the same time. Nothing made baby happy except for me holding him and I felt guilty sitting around holding baby while everyone was moving. Then, of course I got his cold. Biggest thing I’ve learned after 3 kids – going with the flow, ha.
    Great picture.

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  • avatar

    Kel October 28, 2011, 10:27 pm

    Oh, Wendy, THANK YOU for writing this. Selfishly, this post could not have come at a more perfect time. All of your concerns- “What if I can’t get pregnant? What if I get pregnant right away? What if I suffer from PPD?” are questions I’ve been struggling with lately. I’m 32, and have wanted nothing more my entire life than to have a family. Now that we’ve been married a bit, DH is ready and we’re financially solvent. This means, after 16 or so years of prevention, parenthood is realistic, and the unknown variables scare the hell out of me. The decision has seemed so easy and peaceful for all of my close friends, and that makes me feel even worse about being anxious. But I guess every leap of faith is scary, and if we didn’t take them, we wouldn’t become the people we’re meant to be. It’s just nice to know I’m not alone in my concerns :). So again, thank you (and congrats on your beautiful son).

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    • avatar

      WatersEdge October 30, 2011, 10:36 am

      DH… a Nestie!

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