Me, a Mommy? Seriously?

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Mark at Gatineau Park, Québec, October 2012

“Looks who is there! It’s mommy!”

Feng, who is carrying Mark in his arms, turns around so that the baby can see me (or not—I never know what babies can actually see!). He stops crying, Feng breathes a sigh of relief (the little guy is loud!) and I freeze at the doorway.

Me, a mommy?

Like, seriously?

For some reason, I didn’t feel like a mommy-to-be when I was pregnant—I was too busy being miserable. Suddenly it feels like my status has been upgraded without warning. It’s like being a videogame character: one minute you are Juliette, and then you fight the dragons doctors, experience some pain, live through an intense experience without magic mushrooms, and bam—welcome to level II, you are a mommy.

I guess this is the second time in my life that I get such a sudden social status upgrade. Technically, when Feng and I got married in 2005, I went from being a “miss” to being a “Mrs.”. But 1) we eloped 2) we didn’t make a big deal of getting married 3) I kept my last name instead of taking Feng’s. Therefore, this status upgrade was somewhat less obvious. I didn’t even inform the French administration I had gotten married until a few months ago!

And now, I am a mommy. Gee, just a few weeks ago, I was giving birth wearing a Metallica t-shirt (I almost wore one of my Chinese communist propaganda t-shirts, but between two contractions I ultimately decided it may look weird). I sing Mark anarchist songs (yes, they calm him down). I have a collection of Winnie The Pooh stuffed animals, and even a couple of Zhu-Zhu pets because we found the name funny. I can act silly, I can swear like a sailor and I can cry like a little girl. Mommies can do that do, can’t they? Being a mommy is not a downgrade but an upgrade. I’m still me, “Juliette”, in good and bad.

Yet, people call me “mommy”. Non-stop, actually—the healthcare staff especially seems to enjoy reminding me that yes, I am a mother.

So Feng and I are daddy and mommy (or papa and maman, or even爸爸and妈妈).My parents are grand-parents. And my grand-parents are great-grand-parents.

Mark is like a little earthquake, he changed the status quo of everything!

So, what does it feel like being a mommy? Well, I certainly feel I have been given new powers, and by “new powers” I don’t mean just the ability to produce breast milk on demand. I have been given the “mommy power” ith Mark: he generally calms down when I put him against me and he loves my breast milk. Instead of putting his fingers in his ears when I sing (a reflex most people have when they hear me—let’s face it, singing is not one of my strengths!), he stares at me and listens as if I was Madonna in her prime. He holds me fingers tight when he goes to sleep (which can be a bit of an issue when I put him back in his bed). He sleeps like… well, a baby, when he is nested in the crook of my arm.

With being a mommy comes some “mommy instinct” I didn’t even know I had. Mark and I were never strangers, most of the time we understand each other even though it takes some adjustment. I can feel when he is hungry, tired, when he wants a hug or when he is just being fussy. And I’m sure I sound really silly when I talk to him, the way mothers of newborns do (I am also fairly sure baby-talk and lack of sleep are linked—I mean, who can make complex sentences at 4 a.m.?).

Being a mommy is cool. I’m embracing it. Yay for the status upgrade!


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. I can see the progression in your confidence (at least what I can gauuge from the your writing) from when from Mark was born to now. It’s awesome!

  2. +1 ! Looks like things are getting better and better, it’s really nice. I’m sure it has something to do with the utterly charming smile Mark gave you on the last photos 😉

  3. It’s so refreshing to read a post like this, instead of the usual “I need sleep”, “I feel like crap”, “when will he stop crying?” that you usually read from new mothers (even if I’m sure you do need sleep with a newborn :))
    Hurray for mommy Zhu! (and a kiss for Mark)

  4. Ah, so you got an upgrade too this year! I’ve been telling people I know that since I graduated and got a job (after being a student for so long), I have gotten a lifestyle upgrade. And it’s a cool feeling. Obviously, your upgrade carries more responsibilities.

    Anyway, I again would like to commend your humorous take on this whole thing. Somehow, while reading it, I thought that some religious people would take your article as evidence for God or something similar. See, you have a maternal instinct! Who programmed that?

    But here I was, just thinking, how amazing it is that humans evolved and adapted to survival. You having a maternal instinct that seems to have just been turned on after giving birth is perhaps just an evolutionary way of ensuring that the species survive.

    Oh well, never meant to turn this into a religion-versus-science debate. Just a thought that passed through my head.

    • That’s an interesting thought actually! I also believe this is due to evolution, we are “programmed” to accomplish certain tasks… such as baby-baking. That said, instinct is something tat must be nurtured, it’s not that easy.

  5. A baby changes your lives forever, in a good way. You and Feng will be great parents, Thanks for the Flicker set of Mark photos. He is a handsome little guy with an amazing head of black hair. Enjoy, enjoy!

  6. I feel like being a dad myself too after adopting this puppy. Cleaning after pee and poo, feeding and playing time, some human-pet talk and so on. Tiring, but so much fun! I’m sure motherhood makes you grow along too. You’ve just started to discover a new you. 😀

  7. OMG! J’ai loupé plus d’un épisode! Félicitations! Ma fille a 14 mois et encore cette semaine je me disais que ça faisait bizarre d’entendre parler de “ma fille” justement! Mais c’est un sentiment génial en même temps. 😉

    • Moi ça me fait bizarre “maman”, mais en même temps je suis fière de ce nouveau nom! Je suis allée sur ton blog, ça faisait un moment, My, elle a poussé ta crevette!

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