I’m so excited about this new interview series! I started A Labor For Love as a way to share my motherhood experience, but I also longed to create a space for other moms to share their stories too. The first person I am interviewing is my sister-in-law, Jacquie.
A few weeks ago, Jacquie shared 10 lessons learned from COVID-19 on her Facebook page that was truly inspiring. I had been sitting on the idea of Mama Spotlight since the end of 2019. When I read her post, something in me “clicked.” I knew it was time for me give birth to this series and that Jacquie should be the first mama I interviewed.
I’ve known Jacquie for almost 10 years now. It’s been cool to share so many life experiences during that time and I look forward to growing with her now through motherhood. I hope you enjoy my interview with Jacquie!
Tell me about yourself. Who are you? What do you do? How many children do you have?
My name is Jacquie and I’m 30 years old (probably 31 by the time you’ve written this blog post!). I’m originally from the northwest side of Indianapolis, but I currently live in Westfield with my husband, Jared, and our son, Eli. In addition to being a wife and a mother, I am also a Registered Dietitian and a Certified Health and Wellness Coach working in the Population Health field.
How do you define motherhood?
Wow, that’s actually a tough question! I believe that mothers come in many different forms and that there are several levels of “motherhood,” so it’s hard for me to define the word in an all-encompassing way. Obviously there is motherhood in the traditional sense, where you are raising a child as a member of your household, ensuring their basic human needs are met, and loving them unconditionally. I also think there is non-familial motherhood. I’ve had several “school moms” and “work moms” who have looked out for me and helped me grow throughout my education and my career.
Describe the stage of motherhood you are currently in.
Eli is our first child and he was born a little over 10 weeks ago. The infant stage is equal parts exhausting and rewarding!
What do enjoy most about this stage?
I love the fact that we can see Eli growing physically and mentally with each new day. Clothes that were baggy on him just a few weeks ago are starting to get tight. He’s become very curious about the world around him and he’s starting to interact a lot more with us. There have been lots of smiles, coos, and even a few giggles over the last couple of weeks. One time we could have sworn he said the word “hello!”
What is most challenging about this stage?
I think the hardest part of this stage is that Eli can’t tell us exactly how he is feeling. We’ve gotten better at distinguishing between hunger cries, tired cries, and dirty diaper cries, but there are still moments where we are left guessing! I hate to see him uncomfortable and to not know how to “fix it” right away. I’ve also had a very rough time with breastfeeding, but I’m hoping to stick with it until he is 6 months old. I think society puts a lot of pressure on women to breastfeed and sometimes it just doesn’t work out! At the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for you and your baby.
What does self-care look like for you right now?
I’m an introvert at heart, so my idea of self-care is anything that allows me to unplug from the rest of the world and clear my mind. It’s tough with an infant, but I love nothing more than a nice long shower! I also like to throw on some music and cook a good meal or go for a walk.
What has had the greatest influence on you as a parent or your parenting style?
Since I’m pretty new to motherhood, I’m not quite sure what my parenting style will look like. I think Jared and I aspire to be like our parents. They’ve shown us the perfect example of what it means to love unconditionally, and they’ve always put the needs of their children ahead of their own. We hope to do the same for Eli.
Tell me the most important thing(s) you hope to pass on to your child(ren).
I actually wrote down a list of hopes for my son when I was pregnant and posted them on Instagram. One of them was that he would have a loving heart that would allow him to see the dignity in every person he meets. I think Jared and I are both very open-minded and accepting of people from all walks of life. I hope Eli will see the world through the same lens.
Where do you find support as a mom?
My husband has been my greatest source of support during this transition into motherhood. During the first few weeks of Eli’s life, there were nights when I was in tears from exhaustion and self-doubt. Jared would stay up with me to help and to reassure me that things will get better. I’ve also found a lot of comfort in talking with other moms. I call my mom at least once a day, sometimes more. I’ve also reconnected with friends who have had kids recently to talk about postpartum life. Many of them reached out after Eli was born to check-in on me. I was so appreciative of this. It’s hard when everyone is so excited about your new baby that they forget to ask how you’re doing.
What’s one thing you have learned as a mom that you would tell your pre-kid self?
To value your sleep and quiet nights! I have never been more tired in my life. Haha. I also would tell my pre-kid self to be more appreciative of my mother and all the work she put into raising me.
Lastly, what’s one piece of advice you want to share with other moms?
My biggest piece of advice is not to compare yourself to other moms. I’m guilty of doing this from time to time and nothing good can come from it! I saw a post from Taking Cara Babies a few weeks ago that said, “There’s no better mama on the planet for that baby than you!” That’s the motto I’m trying to live by from here on out!