By Ainsley Swed
The moment I gave up the life I had created for myself so that I could help you create yours.
It felt like opening my eyes to the sun for the first time. As the light of realization poured in, I felt the warmth in my soul. My eyes welled, as tears of fulfillment and peace rested on my lower lids like you rest content in my arms. My connection to you has never felt stronger, pulling on my heart and bringing a feeling that there is no analogy for.
Postpartum has brought many things: sleep deprivation, joy, anxiety, love, and pain. The thought of going back to work after 12 short weeks home spikes my anxiety. The thought of leaving you pains me worse than bringing you into this world did. My head and heart clash. The societal demand and practicality of returning to the work force to make money. The emotional and primal desire to stay at home with you and help you achieve your milestones one day at a time.
Choice. This is my choice, not society’s. I am choosing to give my notice at a job. I am choosing to walk away from the shaming of mothers who decide to give up everything to stay at home. I am choosing the most challenging job there is, the one of raising another person to be kind, loyal, and strong. I am choosing to create a new life for myself, thus giving birth twice this summer.
As you coo and grunt happily on my chest, I watch the rise and fall of your back and feel at peace. Life has never felt more right for me. As I tear up again, this time in awe of the love I feel for such a small and helpless creature, I know in my heart that there really was no other choice for me to make after all.
Not too long ago, Ainsley Swed became a mother, fulfilling her unrealized calling. She wasn’t sure she had wanted kids, but having one changed her life in every way possible. After experiencing intense physical and emotional challenges during pregnancy and facing motherhood with zero sense of reality, Ainsley found her calling in helping other women. She left her career to raise her son and committed herself to letting other women know they aren’t alone in their experiences. Ainsley aims to give women a realistic voice and view of pregnancy and motherhood, while creating a community of support around them and celebrate each unique motherhood experience.