¡Hola Wise Latinas!
Welcome to the first entry of Bebé + Me. I am Lil’ Sis, a Latina, college-educated professional in her late 30s and first time mom to Baby L. I am writing about all the teje maneje as Mami says, the ins and outs, and my reactions, to becoming a new mom. The journey here was long, filled with some dips and the highest of highs—our Baby L. I’ve had to figure out how to navigate my identity–who I thought I was, who I am, and how El Husband’s “I”, and my “Me”, with Baby L…became a WE.
Baby L was born three months ago. Leading up to the big day, I had always thought I’d be the pregnant lady that would have EVERYTHING organized, especially because unlike Viviana, I have always been super organized.
I should have patented those ideas years ago!
Bebé+Me Lesson #1: Know that just the act of thinking how things ought to be will trigger Murphy’s law, guaranteeing the exact opposite happens. With my crazy work schedule, it was a race to the finish line: maybe we really didn’t need the changing table right away. Our aching backs resented that decision. The home repairs weren’t finished on the scheduled day, leaving El Husband and I to sleep on a defective, deflating Aerobed longer than expected.
When the day finally arrived, all my nerves finally kicked in. El Husband did all he could to keep me calm. He had done the male version of “nesting.” He had electric blinds installed. He bought an extra parking spot in El Condo. Forever the level-headed executive, he calmly told the men that they could finish when they wanted, but would be docked $100 each day of delay. He also read Father’s First Year in preparation for Baby L’s arrival.
I also couldn’t have imagined this moment without Mami & Papi. They did what they have always done with their children. They devoted themselves 100% to helping us and to not missing even the most seemingly insignificant development. They staged their interviews of every doctor, nurse, orderly, security guard, custodian, even other patient’s visitors from the waiting room. Despite her severe sciatica nerve pain, Mami slept on the hospital cot when El Husband had to make an emergency run to the office. Mami and I chatted over TV, hospital food, and feedings that were at once painful, but joyous as I saw Baby L seeking me out for mother’s milk and warmth. My parents took in Little Yellow (at 90 lbs. he’s not so “little” anymore), our 2 year old Golden Retriever, and gave him the love we were focusing on Baby L.
I wonder what Mami and Papi were really thinking the day Baby L was born, which is the day their baby girl became a mother. I believe the tears I saw rolling down their cheeks lined with the sacrifice and hard work of immigrants was in part their feelings of pride washing over them. I can only hope El Husband and I will be the good parents to Baby L they were to me.What’s the most valuable lesson you can pass along to new mamis?