Nine Hundred Square Feet: The First Few Weeks of Motherhood

These days I’m facing a bit of a paradox: I have all the time in the world and yet not enough time to really do anything.

By “anything” I mean any activity other than changing diapers, nursing, rocking, and pulling the ultimate MacGyver trying to put my three-week-old to bed. Contrary to the laws of gravity, life now revolves around a 9-pound baby whose cries make me stop in my tracks and smiles instantly make up for any hair-pulling misadventures.

The Adventures in Parenthood Project is all about the transition of outdoor adventurers to parenthood. But I’d be remiss not to take some time to explore what this transition also means for me as an entrepreneurial and rather independent woman. In my last post I explained my choice of self-employment and how having a child has entered me into a life-long contract. In just a single day – Maya’s birthday – I went from being a hardworking and self-directed writer and editor to full-time mother; from a mat-toting yogi to receiving blanket junkie; from inspired foodie to ready-made soupie. The day I went into labour with Maya I was editing the summer issue of Highline Magazine and helping my husband make the final selection of images for his upcoming book. Twenty-eight hours later IΒ was holding Maya in my arms, hoping motherhood would come as naturally to me as writing.

Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.
Maya enjoying some quiet time with her pig friend. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

These days, apart from a daily walk, I spend the majority of my day within the walls of my 900-square-foot apartment. In some regards this is a choice, but from a practicality standpoint it is what makes things easier on all of us. As Tami Lynn Kent explains in Mothering From Your Center, this first year “calls for a whole new skill set and requires the transition from the pace of a production-oriented culture and a life built on achievement or professional development to one that is less viable, non-quantifiable, and focused on the home.” So, even though I miss writing for pay or being able to throw in a spontaneous hike, I know that Maya’s dependence on Paul and me will begin to wane in the months to come. Soon I will probably be missing her utter vulnerability, her instinctive need for mama, and her young (rather confusing) cries.

Nine hundred square feet isn’t so bad when you’re spending it with nine pounds of joy. πŸ™‚

What was your experience entering parenthood? Was there anything you missed about life beforehand?

Author: Meghan J. Ward

Meghan J. Ward is an outdoor, travel and adventure writer based in Banff, Canada, and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Meghan has written several books, as well as produced content for films, anthologies, blogs and some of North America’s top outdoor, fitness and adventure publications. She has a forthcoming travel memoir (Fall 2022), to published by Rocky Mountain Books.

8 thoughts

  1. It’s really hard at first. I struggled with PPD after the birth of of first son. The days are long… Nights are longer. The light will shine again! This was apparent to me after the births of my next two children. I learned to breathe through the tough moments. Everything is a phase. Try not to punch people when they say to “enjoy every minute”… This too shall pass. Hang in there Mama! Great post!

    1. Thanks, Sarah! It is hard at times, especially at night when we can’t seem to get the little one to go down. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said “This Too Shall Pass.” I definitely try to keep in mind that I will look back on these times with fondness. That kid’s cuteness keeps me coming back. πŸ™‚

  2. Ha – that is the quote a friend gave me too! I have found (my baby is 11weeks) that just as baby has “transition days or weeks” I too seem to have transition days about once every 2-3 weeks with each one chipping away more at my former selfish hiker/athlete persona and replacing it – or temporarily replacing it – with more of me as a growing mother…and in time i will be working to “co-rrelate” the two πŸ™‚

    1. I like where you’re going with that, Michelle! I think it’s important to be realistic and realize that of course there is some sacrifice or transition involved. But working towards co-relating the two ‘halves’ again is essential to our long-term well-being.

  3. Funny, I remember uttering the phrase “this to shall pass” a lot too. The motherhood transition is pretty crazy. Once all the madness passes and you feel mobile again the light that shines in is pretty awesome. You got this! Ya, just don’t punch anyone…

  4. Meghan, you are an inspiration for even finding the time to write this post! It’s amazing how time will fly with your little one, soon she will be half a year old, desperate to crawl and ready to terrorize the house πŸ˜‰ Keep up the great work mama!

    1. Thanks, Sam! I suppose writing has been a good outlet for me throughout this transition. Each post takes a few efforts and stints at the computer, that’s for sure! Proofreading has revealed some brutal mistakes as I am trying to squeeze everything in! Thanks for reading!

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