I’m sitting here at home typing on my laptop as many thoughts race through my mind as per usual – like what’s for Jonah’s lunch and dinner today and what décor I need for his upcoming first birthday in May. But today the biggest thing on my mind is my maternity leave ending in just a few days and Jonah starting daycare next week. I’m equally sad and nervous about this upcoming change. When I return to working full time, Jonah will be at daycare, meaning we won’t be hanging out together like we have been for nearly 11 months. I’ve gotten so used to the routine of making Jonah breakfast and lunch and eating these meals with him, snuggling in bed, going for walks and dancing to the very catchy songs by Raffi. We’ve had busy days full of play dates and seeing friends, and we’ve also had our fair share of slow days where we just hung out at home, moving from one room to the next in our condo. The one thing that never changed every single day for the past 11 months was me and Jonah, an inseparable pair. Part of me doesn’t want this time in my life to ever end. But the pragmatist in me knows change means growth and this is change that will be beneficial for both of us. I’ll learn how to balance my role as a working mom and more importantly, Jonah will get to learn all the things at daycare and make little daycare friends (that’s the hope). I have every ounce of confidence that he will do well – after the first week perhaps.
Though Jonah entered the world about one year ago, James and I began our journey to parenthood over two years ago when we were pregnant with our first baby Joen, the baby boy who made us parents. It’s been a little over two years now since he was stillborn, and our lives have been forever changed. Since then, I’ve allowed myself to slow down, make time and space to heal and focus on family, which I’ve come to realize means more than life itself – the pandemic also magnified this. In two short years, so much has happened. The same year we lost Joen, I was blessed to be pregnant again with Jonah and though it wasn’t the smoothest or easiest pregnancy for me mentally or physically, every minute was worth the minute we met each other and began an inseparable bond between mother and son.
Like many others, our priorities shifted big time once we became parents. I’d say they shifted in 2020 after we lost Joen, but they shifted even more when Jonah entered the world and we didn’t realize our whole world could fit into the tiny 6lbs 7oz body we held in our arms. This moment proved to be even more surreal for us, having lost our first baby prior to meeting our second one. I’ve written about this a lot, but I can’t emphasize it enough: through its hardships, heartbreak and healing, our journey to parenthood has softened us and made us more compassionate, empathetic and humbled human beings. Workwise, I believe we’ve been called to serve in ways that help our community and place we live. This comes across in what we’ve chosen to do professionally and day to day. You bet that values, purpose and meaningful work are at the top of our list of what’s important and I’m so grateful both James and I have the opportunity to make a difference and feel good about what we do through the contributions we make through our work.
While I’m ready to take on this change and grow in all aspects of my life – as a mother, wife and communications professional – I’m filled with so many emotions. My maternity leave is ending, I’m going back to work and Jonah is starting daycare, all on the very same day. With a milestone as big as this upcoming one, it’s hard not to get emotional and look back at the past 11 months of Jonah, starting with his very first newborn cries, his squished face, his irregular shaped head and his tininess. I’ve had time to reflect on the past 11 months and past couple of years. I’m comforted knowing that wherever our journey takes us, no matter what we do for a living and the decisions that we make, we’ll have Jonah and Joen at the heart of everything, as our guiding and shining light. James and I are motivated to make both of our boys proud, even though only one of our boys is here on earth. It’s this thought that will carry me forward as my first ever maternity leave ends and we begin a new chapter together as a family, nervous but hopeful and optimistic.