Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Memory of Becoming a Mom from Veeda Bybee


My little photojournalist, at age 2. All photos by Jonathan Canlas.

Oh, So My Life Makes a Difference

Former journalist becomes stay-at-home mom

Once upon a time I wrote newspaper headlines. I worked late hours in a newsroom with other copy editors, laying out pages and editing the day’s stories. We picked apart the news with a vengeance – fix a forgotten comma here, reword a sentence there. I felt fulfilled, my work made a difference, I contributed to society.


After my first child was born, I stopped working at the paper. I found my sudden introduction into motherhood completely baffling. Despite all the baby books I read, I was unprepared for the realities of parenthood. No book, or amount of formal training could tell me how terrifying it is to nurse a newborn. I never took Enduring Endless Crying 101 in college. And how could I edit out the numbers of poopy diapers I changed?


My daughter Mei, gave her dad and me a hard time when she came home from the hospital. She was a beautiful baby, but she sure liked to scream. A lot. I had this strange, 8-pound creature in my house that did nothing but eat, sleep, and cry. Exhausted by my inabilities to care for her – I wanted nothing else but to do the same. I fed my child. Held my child. Changed my child. This was my routine now, no breaking news here.


I began to wonder if my journalism degree was worth it. My full-time career was now my baby. I couldn’t see the fruits of my labor and I wondered if I was fulfilled. How could these mundane robotic motions I call motherhood change the world?

One afternoon, little Mei decided to be pleasant. There was no loud, ear-shattering siren blaring from her mouth. She was calm and quiet, and lay completely motionless on my queen-sized bed. Her big brown eyes were fixated at some non-existent object on the wall. I watched my baby’s chest rise up and down with each tiny breath. Mei was so tranquil, so silent. Not wanting to destroy the peaceful moment in the room, I slowly lowered myself next to her. She remained quiet, still captivated by the nothingness in front of her.


I relaxed next to my daughter and marveled at her perfect fingers. All 10 of her teeny-tiny toes, long and slender just like mine. She had long eyelashes, like her dad. Newborn, Mei looked very Chinese, just like my mom.


I knew my daughter would not have the ability to understand my words, but I was suddenly so anxious to talk to her. To tell her about the grandmother she would never meet. All the good food we would someday cook together. How happy I was to have her with me.


At the sound of my voice, my little baby stopped her staring contest with the wall and her face turned toward me. I continued to speak, and this four-day-old baby shifted her body towards mine. She couldn’t completely turn on her side, but she attempted to roll herself towards me. As if she was reaching, understanding.


I was shocked. She could not comprehend the conversation I was having with her, but I could tell she recognized me. And I began to recognize her. This is my baby girl. I am her mom. She is my contribution.


My journalism professors would be so proud. All my training in the newsroom and at the copy desk led to my reporting on my experiences as a mom. No coverage in any national syndication, just highlights in my personal family publications. Now today’s top headlines read, “Mei Finishes Squash at Lunch” or “Veeda Finds Recipe Success With Pad Thai!” It might not be world changing news, but it defines the events in my life. And to me, this makes all the difference.


My family, present day. My number one story.

From Veeda Bybee of White Lotus Cooks.

----------

Note from Design Mom: for the duration of my pregnancy, I'll be posting advice, memories and stories about pregnancy, childbirth, adoption and growing a family on Wednesdays. You can find them all by clicking here. I'd love to hear your story or memory or advice, feel free to submit it to gabrielle@designmom.com.

Labels:

add to kirtsy

8 Comments:

Blogger Petit Elefant said...

Beautifully written, thank you.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 11:23:00 PM EST  
Blogger Jen said...

This is a delightful piece!

I remember thinking how the mother thing comes naturally and easily to some, but for me it took some adjustment, too.

Thursday, December 17, 2009 at 12:57:00 AM EST  
Blogger Jo said...

this was beautiful and couldn't have been read by me at a more perfect time. thank you.

Thursday, December 17, 2009 at 9:56:00 AM EST  
Blogger Barbie said...

Beautiful Veeda! We need to get together after the holidays!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009 at 8:46:00 PM EST  
Blogger Becca said...

I love Veeda. She is a long time friend. Thanks for posting her story. I also love the family photo. Veeda looks so much like her mom.

Saturday, December 19, 2009 at 11:59:00 PM EST  
Blogger Martha said...

lovely!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009 at 2:20:00 AM EST  
Blogger Juanita said...

you are so amazing! and you write so well.

Sunday, December 20, 2009 at 8:16:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Stephanie said...

This post is absolutely lovely, Veeda.

And - Yes! - you are changing the world...in the most important way.

stephanie@metropolitanmama.net

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 11:10:00 PM EST  

Post a Comment

<< Home