Being a mother, artist and entrepreneur all at the same time

Photo: Emmi Sprayberry

I always thought that the most difficult thing about having a baby would be childbirth. That fear of suffering so much pain and thinking: how could an 8 pound person come out of my belly through such a small hole?

Now I look back and think that childbirth was the easiest of all the stages of motherhood.

I accepted the recommendation of my doctor and my delivery was induced. The days before my baby was born I struggled with anxiety. What if it didn't work and I didn't dilate well? What if in the end, as I read in many places, when they induced, I would have to have a c-section? What if ...? What if ...?

I remember those days when all the what ifs ...? appeared in my mind. I remembered the advice that my therapist gave me a few years ago and I started to change that word for "don't worry, it's just anxiety". And to think positively about all my friends who have been there and that even though their deliveries were more or less difficult, now they had their babies in their arms.

I entered the hospital at 3 p.m. on a Monday and by 7 a.m. the next day I had already dilated enough to start labor. At 3pm on January 14th I only had to push for the baby to come out. That "only" lasted for three and a half hours. I loved the epidural. There were very funny moments and others when I wanted to throw in the towel. The delivery room looked like a soccer game, the nurses, my husband and sister-in-law, Jessica, were giving their all with their encouragement and enthusiasm! And in the end, my little Rio was born, with a lot of hair, super blond and my heart suddenly overflowed with love, a love that I had never experienced before.

Before continuing, I must say that we have won the lottery with our baby.

He's super good, he sleeps a lot and when he cries it's easy to know what's wrong with him. My mother came from Spain to spend a few months with us. She has been at home with us doing so much from cooking to cleaning to staying with him while my husband worked so that I could get some sleep, or to take a shower. I feel very lucky and grateful for her. I know that many of you could not have had that help and I want to say that for me you are my heroes.

To get back to what I was talking about ... the delivery was not the most difficult part, because then came the many nights without sleep, the nipple pain, not having ANY routine, unsure if breastfeeding was really feeding my baby ... will I have enough milk? feeling like the worst mother in the world because the first few weeks I had to give her formula because my milk was not enough and I even lost weight. Those desperate nocturnal tantrums due to colic and those moments of me waking up every five minutes at sunrise thinking: "I don't hear him: is he still breathing?"

I want to thank all my friends who I could call or write to vent, thank you for encouraging me so much, letting me know everything I was experiencing was normal, that I was doing well and that being a good mother goes far beyond all those details.

As an artist it has been a wake up call.

I used to organize my day in my mind, but from minute one when you get out of the bed, all that organization falls apart and it's time to survive another day. Feeling like I'm not productive at all has been the hardest part. Fighting with that part of me. I am learning that my value doesn't hinge on my productivity.

I had times when I was very anxious about what I wasn't doing in the studio instead of enjoying what was in front of me; enjoying my baby. It is easy to say that painting can wait and it's true, but when you are a creative person and you cannot create, you feel like your wings are being cut.

I realized that what I was going through was something that dragged my whole life down: not being able to enjoy the moment I was living, and only complaining about what I couldn't do. Recognizing this has led me to live a fuller life, because since then I feel that I am living the most beautiful moments of my life. Now my favorite moments are when I have Rio in my arms and when I see eating from my chest. It is happiness multiplied by 1000.

After almost three months, I'm finally finding those short moments in which I can take advantage of and lock myself in my studio.

And as an entrepreneur I learned to delegate. That, for people like me who love to control everything, is a very big fight! You think that if you are not 100% on top of it, everything will collapse. But it is not true. My partner in our business, my husband, has done so well! Actually the company has been better than ever! So from here I want to thank you Josh, for your unconditional support.

All over the world we are experiencing very sad moments. It is easy for anxiety to take us over. I recognize that my daily struggle is to try not to fall into the loop of constant bad news. But something I am learning from my quarantine is to be grateful. Giving thanks for every little detail that we don't deserve. Who would've believed a few months ago that when my mother-in-law sends me toilet paper, it would become something to celebrate in our house?

Now more than ever, I realize that gratitude is our best tool to combat low moments, those where the light of day becomes dim and it seems that the darkness surrounds us like the night. When we think about things for which we are grateful, stars begin to appear in our sky and illuminate those things that we did not see and just for a moment, we realize how lucky we are.

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