Be gentle on yourself. Motherhood is already challenging and draining enough to add constant self criticism and mom-guilt on top of it. Yes, it is harder said than done — but it is imperative to remind yourself that your best IS good enough and always will be. Take a deep breath mama, you’ve got this.
I have always loved learning about other cultures. The cuisine, social customs, smells, attire, traditions and history of all countries and heritages intrigue me. World history and geography were my favorite subjects in school and my closest friends have ranged anywhere from Haitian to Indian to Persian. Similar to my own DNA, my social circle is a giant melting pot and I would not have it any other way.
That is why, almost six years ago, I was so caught off guard at the challenges that I faced when I started dating into a Korean family.
I never wanted children.
They always annoyed me. As a child, I preferred the company of adults. Babies were never cute to me nor did they ever spark any kind of nurturing instinct within me. I never carried around a “dolly”. The idea of getting pregnant was my worst nightmare and I never took any chances. If I had not experienced menstruation, I would have suspected that I was born without ovaries. While my friends daydreamed about baby names, I fantasized about the destinations on my bucket list. Over Japanese teppanyaki during our first date, Dan Kim and I bonded over our mutual desire to never have children.
I knew I was pregnant the moment it happened. The pregnancy test was just a formality for me. Even still — when I saw those two pink lines, I could not believe it. I was going to be a mother. It is true that we had wanted a baby, that we had planned for this baby, but the fact that there was actually a baby growing inside my body was a concept that I could not wrap my brain around. Nothing and no one could have prepared me for the experience that is pregnancy.
I was 23-years-old when I became pregnant for the first time.
Youth was on my side.
I made my best attempt at creating a stress-free and healthy pregnancy, but most of my efforts began after conception. This is something I would like to approach differently the next time around.
Here is my plan for preparing for Baby Kim #2:
In 2013, I flew to Chicago, Illinois to spend Thanksgiving with my mother over a long weekend. It would be my first time visiting and I was absolutely overcome with excitement. Chicago had been on my bucket list for quite some time primarily due to The Oprah Show. I had also just started dating Dan Kim who happened to be a big Chicago Bears fan.
For us California girls, it was a strikingly cold weekend despite the lack of snow (to my dismay). Despite the uncomfortable temperature, we tried to hit the major tourist destinations: The Chicago Bean, the Willis Tower and the Skydeck, and Millennium Park.
Here I am, in my entirety.
65 inches and 120 pounds of stardust taking the form of a fragile package made up of hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, calcium and phosphorus. I occupy a tiny space, on a tiny blue rock, in an enormously wide and vast universe. A couple of hundred years from now, everyone I have ever known will be gone, and with them, the knowledge of me ever existing.
I am simply a drop of water in the cosmos. The universe blinks and my entire life will have been lived. All of my memories. My thoughts. My worries. My fears. My jokes. My adventures. My relationships. My children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. Poof.
I am no more significant than a cow or a leaf or a pebble skipping across the surface of a lake. Like my buddy Eckhardt Tolle once said, I am just the Universe expressing itself as a human for a little while. And that is just fine with me.
Here is a little secret of mine: