Sunday, November 17, 2013

Jewish Motherhood: What Have We Done?

After an ever-so-brief hiatus, The Jewish Motherhood Project continues with a 27-year-old expectant mother who finished her degree before getting married and, after 3.5 years of marriage and aliyah (moving to Israel), decided to try for a baby. Here's wishing her a b'sha'ah tovah (it's what you say to a pregnant Jewish woman)!

If you want to participate, just hop over to the Q&A and get started. If you have a husband who has advice, please let me know, too. We need more fatherly takes on the first-time around!

Did you always want to be a mommy? Why or why not? 
Yes and no. I definitely did not want to be a young mum. I'm the oldest child of five, and my parents are divorced. I felt a lot of responsibility to my siblings growing up and wanted my own freedom for a bit. I only wanted to have a child when I was ready.

What was your greatest fear when you found out you were pregnant? What was your greatest anticipation/excited feeling?
Greatest fear: What have we done?? Are we ready? Can we afford a baby? We just made aliya, is this the right time? Will I be a good mother? Will I have enough patience?

How did your husband/partner and family react to you being preggo?
Everyone was very excited! As the first grandchild on both sides, the baby was very much anticipated.

What was your pregnancy like? 
So far, thank G-d, going well. Pretty textbook. I felt sick in the first trimester, but nothing unusual.

Our biggest "test" was that my husband has/had commitment phobia and didn't want to try for a baby for a long long time. It is only recently that he felt ready, which was very stressful for me as I was probably ready 1.5 years ago and was waiting for him. I used to get very upset when our friends were pregnant and had babies. Looking back, everything happens in the right time. However, it did place a strain on our relationship.

How did you decide to start telling people you were preggo? Did you wait to reveal the gender?
We told our parents at six weeks and everyone else at 12 weeks. We have found out the gender, but we're not announcing it. We're also still deciding on a name ... a difficult process!

How did the pregnancy affect your work, schooling, or family?
Pregnancy has definitely affected my work. I'm so tired so its hard to keep up. I work as a freelancer so obviously worried about taking off too much time for maternity leave and worried about juggling new baby and work as I will have to go back as we need the money...

In the days and weeks leading up to the birth, what do you remember experiencing or feeling?
Not quite there yet; I'm only 24 weeks. However I am feeling anxious about the birth. I feel torn between wanting to shop like crazy for the baby versus not buying anything because its ayin hara.

How did you infuse your Jewishness into the pregnancy/labor experience?
I've been reading blogs and books. I am not so spiritual in general, but I feel very blessed to have the miracle of a baby growing inside of me.

Any advice from dad to other dads?
Can other dads please give advice to new dads? I feel like my husband has NO idea what is going to hit him when the baby is born even though I have been trying to get him to read books, talk about it, etc.

Chavi's commentary: I'm really glad this expectant mum decided to participate! I think that she and I are in the same boat as far as work, major fears, and energy levels, although having to cope with a partner who isn't necessarily ready to conceive must have been quite difficult. In my first marriage children weren't even a conversation (B"H), and in this marriage we were pregnant before we could even think about it. It is a hard balance trying to work amid the exhaustion, especially knowing that after the baby comes you'll have to hit the bricks and get back to work quickly to help support the family. Israel is definitely not a single-family-income kind of place to live by any means.

Also: I haven't had many people respond with advice from dad to other dads, so I might have to sit Mr. T down and get his tips, as he has a 10 year old and is seriously amazing with children. Stay tuned!