Meet The Parents is a series of interviews with Island moms and dads in which we learn about the first year of parenthood from a variety of perspectives. If you'd like to be interviewed please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name: Nili Beth Morgan
How old is/are your child/children?
Aaron will be two April 24 and I am due with our second child at the end of the summer.
What were you most anxious about during your pregnancy?
Health - I had some health issues in my third trimester that required a medication that had a "DO NOT TAKE IF YOU ARE PREGNANT" label prominently displayed. Thankfully, everything was fine, both for me and for the baby, but the idea that something I needed to be healthy, and my baby needed, could possibly also do harm was scary.
Did you have a birth plan? How closely did your labor resemble this plan?
I was told not to plan, and I am glad that I listened. Aaron arrived three weeks early and my labor lasted 32 hours. So, while I was surprised and rushed at first, I had plenty of time to "plan" as the labor went on!
What Island resources/services did you seek out during pregnancy? After?
During pregnancy I attended prenatal Yoga a few times - less for the yoga and more to see and meet other expectant mothers. After Aaron's birth, Baby's First Year, with Marney Toole and the Family Center (a program of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services) was invaluable. Marney's amazing ability to create a safe, caring space created a circle of Mothers and caregivers that I still rely on for advice and play dates.
What was the hardest part about being a new mom?
Scheduling. Scheduling time for myself, scheduling time to be with my husband, scheduling my work and other activities. Aaron was small and required feeding every hour and half at first, I felt like I was always nursing! When we started supplementing with formula to get his weight up, and my husband or someone else could feed him, it still seemed impossible that I could take 15 minutes here or even an hour there, and do something other than be a mom. Take a shower or something crazy.
It is still really hard to find any kind of balance in that area, but it all comes together.
What has surprised you most about new motherhood on MV?
Motherhood seems to be constantly surprising. Motherhood on the Island has been amazing because I have a great support system: My family is wonderfully helpful and loving. When comparing my experience with those of my off-Island friends it seems that the major difference is that I didn't have to search to find a community for Aaron
What is one resource for new families that you think is lacking on MV?
I may be lucky, but between Baby's First Year and my follow up visit with our wonderful hospital midwifes, I felt cared for.
What were the products you couldn’t have lived without in your baby's first year?
A good, easy-to-use baby carrier. I loved my Ergo. Click-Connect stroller - the ease of moving from vehicle to stroller without waking or re-strapping an infant made errands much easier. Extra receiving blankets, towels or burp rags - anything to clean up quickly and not have to do laundry every twenty minutes.
How did/do you make time for yourself?
Who knows! Play dates, grandparents, aunts and uncles.
If you could go back in time and give your “new mom” self three pieces advice, what would they be?
1. Go out to dinner when they're really small, it's much easier with a sleeping infant than an interested, mobile toddler.
2. Don't buy that toy. You have plenty and people will keep on giving you more.
3. Sleep train before they can call out for "Momma!!!!" Screams are easier to deal with than direct pleas!
Thank you so much, Nili!