I like myself better now.
My boobs were sore.
I remember that’s why I thought I might be pregnant. And not in an “Oh, I’m getting my period” kind of way. They kind of felt like they’d been through a few matches of Fight Club. So I took a test.
I couldn’t believe it. I came out of the washroom and did a kind of a nervous laugh as I told the news to my husband, Ashley.
“It’s positive,” I said. “We’re pregnant.”
“Really?” he replied. He was as exhausted as I was; don’t knock him for his reaction.
I felt exactly the same in that moment. Please, please don’t take my wine away from me!
“I need a shower,” he said. We hugged and kissed, and I brought him a beer in the shower.
At least one of us could have a drink while we digested this life-changing news.
But really, the story starts earlier.
Like two months earlier. We were sitting on our torn-apart brown leather couch, watching Doctor Who and having what we consider the perfect evening.
We’re both social people, but snuggling on the couch is sometimes exactly what you need. I turned to Ash and said, “Hey, hun, know what would make this night really perfect?”
“What?” he replied.
“If there was a cute and snuggly little baby sitting in between us.”
Just like that. No big discussion, no nothing really. We were ready to become parents. And like most decisions the two of us make together, we were already on the same page. So we started trying. Or rather, not not trying.
We were ready to become parents. And like most decisions the two of us make together, we were already on the same page.
Fast-forward eight weeks and... beer in the shower time.
After we both had a good night’s rest, we celebrated and got properly excited in the morning.
Really, we were excited!
But that first reaction—that is what really set the tone of what motherhood is for me.
It’s not the second celebration where you take photos and post them on social media looking perfectly styled.
It’s that first moment.
That moment where you gain the knowledge that suddenly the two of you aren’t alone anymore.
That your love created a third—a child.
It’s overwhelming, and, frankly, I think we reacted in the only way we could.
Reassuring each other that, yes, we understood each other.
That, yes, we could still be ourselves with each other like we always had.
And that, yes, we are still each other’s best friend. The best friend who brings you beer in the shower (be honest, you wish your best friend did that for you).
Fast-forward another nine months (we really like our time travel around here), and baby Sawyer was born. She was everything I hoped she would be, and we quickly mastered all the things I was nervous about: nursing, diaper changes and baby-wearing.
I was loving it.
And yet, navigating the changes that motherhood brings is not easy.
In a sense, motherhood forces you to grieve the person you used to be before you can love the person you’ve become.
It’s a grief that feels out of place next to the euphoric exhaustion of a new baby. But it’s there.
Grief, hiding just under the surface.
Looking back, I can clearly see that I went through all the stages of grief.
Denial that my life would be any different, that I would be any different.
Anger at myself and my baby for preventing me from doing things like six-hour road trips. (Trust me: Do not attempt this with a 6-week-old who hates her car seat.)
Bargaining: If I just get through the next few weeks, life can go back to how it used to be.
Then I had what I think may have been a brief stint of postpartum depression around the eight-week mark.
And acceptance. Finding a rhythm. Starting to enjoy my hobbies again. Stretching, exercising, playing music. And did I mention starting a company? I didn’t? Oh yeah. When my baby was 4 months old, I launched Beluga Baby. But that’s another story. The story of “Starting a business with a newborn,” or, “How Haley went insane.”
The thing that sets apart the transition into motherhood from grief is this: There is a sixth stage. I’m going to call it “Bloom.” Because this is my article, and I can call it whatever the heck I want. Bloom is when all the best pieces of who you used to be and all the pieces of who you’ve become start to collide and make a wiser, more loving you.
A baby is love, and that love permeates through me and affects everything I do: every conversation I have, every action I take, every business decision I make.
I like myself better now. She’s made me a better person.
And that was worth every ugly cry, mom bun, puke stain and missed appointment.
It was from that love that the new me was born.
Haley is the owner and developer of Beluga Wrap, a bamboo baby carrier made in Vancouver, Canada. She gave birth to her baby girl April 2015 and launched her company four months later. Despite the insanity of running a startup with a newborn, she wouldn’t do it any other way.