This interview is part of a series we’re doing to support and encourage one another by sharing the challenges we face as mothers, and how we work to overcome them.
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How many children do you have?
One sweet little boy, named Lee.
How long have you been a mother?
Well, that is a complicated question. I’ve been Lee’s Mama for about a year since I realized I was pregnant in late August of last year, but I’ve been a mother for 3 years since my first miscarriage in 2014 and my ectopic pregnancy in 2015.
What is one of your favorite memories of your time with Lee so far?
Lee had a rough little start. I was in the hospital for 2.5 weeks prior to his birth because he was growth restricted. I was literally eating as much as I possibly could hoping that he might gain some weight. They’d come to take my order at the hospital and I’d say, “Hi yes, I’d like 4 hamburgers, two fruit cups…Do you have side salads? Okay, maybe 2 of those? Dessert? Yes, that too. Yes, just ordering for me, Mrs. Rawicki.”
It didn’t really work. He came at 32 weeks at 2 lbs 9 ozs. So precious and small. I was so upset, and I felt so guilty that I couldn’t give him what he needed and that he had to be in the NICU now … which is so irrational because I know I couldn’t control what nutrition was given to him. But mom guilt is real. I went down for the first time to see him and touched his little head and immediately he reached up and just patted my hand like, “That’s okay, mom!”
And I knew it was all going to be okay.
Being a first time mom is hard. What helped you as you adjusted to your new role?
We had a lot of challenges with my pregnancy and even bringing Lee home. My husband is a surgical resident who works crazy hours and we live very far away from family.
My husband was so lucky to get a week vacation off of work to help, but that first and second week of having Lee all alone was so tough. I felt like I was going to mess something up. What helped me was just remembering that this sleepless/crazy phase was so temporary.
Every time I got up to feed him was a little victory and little progression toward being a little bigger and a little more mature. I think just getting in the mindset of “this moment or phase is temporary” is really great to remember for first time moms.
What helped me was just remembering that this sleepless/crazy phase was so temporary.
How do you find balance and make time for yourself as a new mother?
I’m lucky Lee put himself on a pretty good sleep schedule especially for a little preemie! But I just try to plan my week out to use his sleep and wake times wisely, since I’m also working running my own graphic design studio.
But I try to keep one or two sleep periods free a week for me. One of those free periods is always to do my nails. I feel the whole world could be crumbling around me, but if I have my nails done I feel a little more in control.
What do you and Lee like to do together?
We love bath time, porch sitting, and walking around our little New York village! I think just after being in the NICU for 7 weeks, which I know is so short compared to how long other sweet babies have to be in intensive care, it is so nice to be able to be out and about in the fresh air.
What is your favorite thing about being a mom?
Oh gosh! It is so hard to think about just one thing because so many little moments are struggle and reward, but I think the most rewarding part of being a mother is the ability to shape a generation.
The moments of humble work that make up our days — the sacrifice of precious sleep, the endless piles of laundry, the infectious giggles, the hum of the Medela, the quiet prayers whispered— these mundane little moments nourish and form our little ones who, due to our example and efforts, will one day hopefully contribute to the world in a true and beautiful way.
…everyone pretty much feels like they are failing the first night the baby is home.
What’s one thing you wish you had known before you had kids?
One thing I wish I had known is that everyone pretty much feels like they are failing the first night the baby is home. Like the baby is going to squeak and you’re going to be like, “OMG ARE YOU ALIVE? Let me just grab a compact to check your breath! Okay, we good? Oh my gosh, I love you. Go to sleep. Don’t die.” then “Squeak.” Repeat.
Every 10 minutes for the whole first night. I think everyone goes through this, especially NICU parents, but there is some solidarity in that, right?