The Gift That Keeps Giving

Kawartha Lakes, ON, March 2022

It’s my birthday this week.

First birthday as a mum. First birthday with my baby girl.

I didn’t get to make any plans, courtesy of extensive plumbing work that has displaced us from our home for two weeks. But life works in mysterious ways and we ended up having our first getaway with Ayat as a result of that. Being away from my home, away from the perfunctory routine gave me a chance to reflect on this birthday and my life now with baby A.

My life has changed completely ever since I became a mum. I don’t think I am even the same person that I was last year. Baby A has changed me in more ways than one. She is a gift that keeps giving.

So here are some gifts I can think of, a few of which are newfound wisdom, while baby A has shed a different kind of light on the old ones.

My Body, a Wonderland: I can’t stop being grateful for my body that brought forth baby A in our life. Honestly, I am in awe at its capacity. I have to shamefully admit that I haven’t cared for my body as I should; never paid attention to the whole of it until I got pregnant. The way it made space for Ayat as she grew inside me, the way it brought her into the world and now how it’s trying hard to support me in this postpartum state- it’s nothing short of a miracle. I now have newfound respect and gratitude for my body, all of it- the dark circles, stretch marks, thinning hair, the widening waistline, even my bunions which I have always been insecure about. All of me.

Inner Zen: I have never been a patient person, but thanks to my baby girl, I am reaching a level of patience that puts my past self to shame. May it be her “melodious voice” (read Banshee-like screams) as she deals with her sleep regression, or her a bit too frequent feeding demands during growth spurts, I am surprisingly able to muster up the patience to handle her; patience I never thought I had.

Supersonic Speed: Gulping down food in 5 minutes? No problem! Shower in 7 minutes? Yup, easy-peasy. Preparing meals to coincide with her what seems like micro-mini naps? You got it! I got all that covered. Thanks to my newfound supersonic speed, I am able to get chores done in record time these days.

Mumbie Mode: Zombies hardly get the credit they deserve. I mean have you ever thought about how they are able to go about their life without rest and sleep? Enter Mumbie mode, that baby A blessed me with, I am able to lead a fully functional life with next to no sleep at all. This coming from yours truly who couldn’t function without 7-8 hours of sleep on a daily basis. Sleep deprivation is my new norm!

LOL: I will let you in on a little secret. I have always found it difficult to laugh at myself. I think I am a bit too serious of a person, but baby A changed that in me too. I surprise myself as I make up silly songs for her, conjure hilarious dance moves to keep her entertained all the while laughing at myself, laughing with her. Confident might be stretching it but I will say, I am almost comfortable with being silly myself.

The Empathetic Side: When the going gets tough as a new mama, I have found that understanding what a baby is going through really helps put things in perspective. Take her growth spurts for example. When I learned about her different growth phases, I found out that the world changes for her overnight, quite literally. So all her screams and cries, extra neediness and crankiness are her only means of trying to figure out what the heck just happened really. I am pretty sure we adults would drive everyone mad as a hatter just the same if that happened to us instead.

The Woman in her Eyes: Saving the best for the last and my personal favorite is how Ayat seems to hold me in her eyes. Yes, just simply the way she looks at me, with so much awe, wonder, pure love and affection that it sometimes knocks the air out of me. I could be doing the most mundane of tasks like combing my hair or lifting the coffee mug and I will find her looking at me like I have just climbed Mt. Everest! Every time our eyes meet, her face would break into the biggest smile, ear to ear. It’s like love at first sight, over and over again. It’s a feeling like no other and I don’t think I have ever felt that in my life. She makes me feel special and loved in a way I didn’t know was possible. She holds me in the highest regard and I feel like a different person altogether. I love the woman I am, woman she makes me feel in her eyes.

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