My partner and I became pregnant just months after dating. We were scared, nervous, and so very excited.
Having become pregnant so unexpectedly we didn’t have a lot of time to find a place to share together or to plan, or for me: to nest. When our son arrived we welcomed him to a shared living space (yes, we had roommates—still very good friends of ours!) and a single bedroom that all three of us, plus my aging but still loving dachshund, shared. Those first few months before we moved to our own place were tough. Sleepless nights, tight living quarters, and trying to figure out what was next for us, all the while keeping our son Luke’s health, happiness, and safety our number one priority.
We eventually did move, when Luke was about 4 months, to a 1,000-square-foot apartment that we considered “temporary” until we could find a house. Three and a half years later, we’re finally packing and getting ready to move to that house.
I’ve considered it a blessing for having had to be creative with our tiny space, and with opportunities for Luke to run around, grow, learn, and play. Not only is raising a child in an apartment a bit difficult (no private yard—but doggonit we had a garden and Luke now loves to “get dirty with mama,” and no hosting birthday parties at our place), but add running a successful small business out of the same space and you have a veritable controlled chaos on your hands. It’s been our beautiful chaos, though. Each obstacle: we overcome it. Each stumble: we pick ourselves up. Each setback: we work harder and push further forward.
Having raised Luke during his first few years in an apartment, where he has watched me hustle-with-heart every single day to make my, our, dreams come true, is something I am deeply grateful for. And not just me: he watches his daddy hustle and work his butt off, too. Not only working hard, but playing hard. Luke, a veritable junior version of my partner, knows his father is his best friend. Watching them play together, go to “the shop” (my partner’s garage where he builds cars, makes furniture, and is able to support the ever-valuable and evolving side hustle—something we both have mastered), and just hang out together has been one of the biggest joys of my life.
Not having planned to become a mother when I did, there were moments when I thought I was going to totally blow it. Totally lose myself and screw everything up. With each moment of doubt, however, came this big burly bearded man to remind me that I got this and I’m stronger than I give myself credit for. And right by his side: a beardless version of him with a smile and giggle that equally melts my heart and lifts my spirits. And I realize, that through motherhood I have become more me than I have ever been before.