Then and Now (Or Five Months of Developing Mother Instinct)

22 Weeks and 5 Days

22 Weeks and 5 Days

Having a baby changes everything… for a little while. After the first angsty few months, life goes on and you are not so new at mothering. Sure, like in a new job, so you are still trying to please your big boss—but hey, the world won’t collapse if you check your personal emails at work and take a slightly longer lunch break once in a while.

Well, it’s the same thing with mothering. There is “then”, five months ago, when Mark was a tiny little thing, and now, five months later. Mark is still a small baby but we’ve wisen up a bit.

I think.

So here are a few examples of our reactions “then”… and “now”!

Then: “Mark drooled all over his t-shirt and mine! Let’s do a load of laundry!”

Now: Mark drooled all over his t-shirt and mine. Meh, it will dry… over yesterday’s drool. It’s baby drool, not toxic matters.

Then: “He didn’t finish his bottle! He will never gain weight and the doctor will blame me, again. Come on baby, you have to finish your milk!”

Now: Not hungry? No worries, lil’ buddha. We will make a bigger bottle of milk later.

Then: “Oh my God, the baby is crying! Must comfort now. Must do something. Anything. Please make it stop!”

Now: Alright, he is not hungry, not in pain, he burped, he pooped… meh, he is just fussy. I’ll finish doing the dishes and I’ll be right there.

Then: “Agheu, arheu, agheu, arheu…” Gosh, baby speak is so cute. Let record it. Oh wait, let’s make a video. Come on baby, talk to me!

Now: I love you Mark and yes, whatever you are saying, I agree with you. But can you, ahem, shut up for a second? Mommy would love following the movie.

Then: “NOOO! Don’t suck on your fingers! Let’ wash your hands thoroughly first!”

Now: “Here baby, you can suck on the blanket. It’s clean. I think. No? Yeah sure, suck on my fingers.”

Then: “Come on Feng, let’s go back home. We will shop another day. It looks like Mark is about to cry.”

Now: “50% off on Levis jeans? I can totally keep Mark busy while trying them on!”

Then: “No point in going out to eat, he is not going to sleep through the meal, it’s going to be stressful.”

Now: “Let’s go for sushi, easier to eat with one hand while holding Mark!”

Then: “He hasn’t eaten in three hours. I’m worried. I’m going to wake him up see if he is hungry.”

Now: Hell no, I ain’t waking him up! He will wake up when he is hungry. Wanna watch a movie?

Then: Come on, let’s put him to sleep. He has to sleep. Babies sleep a lot, right?

Now: Let’s put him with his toys. If he is tired, he will pass out… eventually.

Then: He is making sounds. Must comfort now.

Now: Oh, that? No, just playing with his toys. I mean, fighting with his toys. Poor Sophie la girafe!

Then: This pyjama looks a bit too small. I’d better retire it now.

Now: I will retire the pyjama when I can’t button it up anymore.

Then: No one but me can take care of my precious baby.

Now: Anyone wants Mark for a couple of hours? Please? Please?

Then: Counting the number of wet diapers and doing a search online to make sure he pees enough.

Now: Okay, he pees enough. Including on me.

Then: Changing him as soon as he pees.

Now: Do you know how much pee these diapers can hold? Trust me—a lot.

Then: The first food he will ever try will be organic, ethically-grown and prepared in a completely sterile and allergy-free environment.

Now: Mango ice cream at the Chinese restaurant? Yep, he likes it. He also like licking a spoon covered with chocolate cake.

Then: Me, a mother? It feels so… weird!

Now: Me, a mother? Yep. And also a woman, a writer, a translator, a partner, a friend… Yep, can do it all. I think.

Note: No baby was harmed in the process of writing this article.


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. When you write things down, like what you’ve done, you can clearly see how things have changed, don’t you? It makes it clearer what you’ve learned upon being a mom. The good thing is that you seem to be enjoying the whole process!

    • Well, some days are really tough, some days are easier… it’s hard to tell. It’s an adventure, for sure, very similar to traveling in a way. Writing about it makes it easier to gain some perspective and laugh about the tough times!

  2. Hey Zhu,

    First of all: Mark is looking super gorgeous.
    Second: your final sentence “Me, a mother? Yep. And also a woman, a writer, a trans­la­tor, a part­ner, a friend… Yep, can do it all. I think.” sums it all up…that’s what being a Woman (with capital W) is all about :D.


      • Learning to do it your way is the key here. When I read this post, I was thinking “hmmmm, is she slowly turning into one of those know-it-alls we read about a while ago?”
        Looks like you’re not. There’s nothing wrong with sharing experience or anecdotes, plus you’re actually saying that it’s much more relaxed than you were thinking at first. The other post was more about discouraging remarks if I remember right.
        So yeah, sorry that I doubted you there for a second *hugs*.

        • 😆 I wish I could be a “know it all” but unfortunately I don’t have the confidence for that, plus I don’t think I can take myself seriously enough for it.

  3. You had me at your first sentence…Hav­ing a baby changes every­thing. (period)…not for a while. But you know, all these changes are worth it 🙂
    Mark looks oh so cute by the way 🙂

    • Thank you! Yes, babies and kids change everything, but I find that after a while, you still go back to “normal”, whatever normal is. Pregnancy and the first few weeks or months are a special (crazy) time. After that… well, you still have to work, enjoy life and all.

  4. I glad to see that you’ve adapted being a mother. You’ve incorporated motherhood into your identity and while you’ve struggled to find the balance, little by little you’re getting there.

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