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I am a childbirth educator. I love my job for many reasons, but I think perhaps the best thing about it is that it renews my love for my girls. My renewed affection is not just because I get to spend a few hours per week away from them and in the company of adults (although absence definitely does make my heart grow fonder), or because I appreciate the opportunity to contribute financially to their well-being without requiring outside childcare.
My job is different from most other mom's jobs, because I get to visit with expectant parents, in all their optimistic glory, a couple of times a week. Just when the daily grind of time-outs, jelly sandwiches, nightmares, tantrums and TV is starting to make me ask myself why I had kids to begin with, my clients remind me that I used to be like them. I used to see only the bright-side of my situation, and did not feel over-worked, but blessed to have the opportunity to experience parenthood. In the confines of my basement classroom, it is surprisingly easy for me to recall the thrill of the positive pregnancy test (and the complete panic that immediately followed), even though that was over five years ago. I am joyful again when I think of feeling them kick inside me, and I am filled with anxiety yet strangely exhilarated when I remember when I realized that I was really IN this thing called "labor." And, of course, I cannot stop smiling when I think about the all-encompassing, earth-shattering, unbelievable happiness that made me come alive again when each of my daughters was finally born.
Each time I teach, I leave feeling a longing to see my babies as soon as possible. When I get home, I kiss their sweet sleeping foreheads, smell their wonderfully sweaty heads, and cover them with their discarded blankets. The love of a brand-new parent has been renewed in me by my awesome clients. I am magically taken back to my beginning, reminded why we had children, of the amazing journey it's been, excited and optimistic about what's to come. I think about how they grow and change and learn, and instead of thinking about the seemingly constant fatigue, I just feel lucky to be here to witness this daily miracle. When my girls wake me at an ungodly hour, I steal a few moments of sleepy snuggling. Soon, both girls are in my bed and are arguing over who gets to be on which side of me. One demands breakfast, the other won't go potty alone. Another day begins, and I wonder-- when do I teach again?