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Elena Donovan Mauer

The Bump Editor Shares How Parenthood Changed Her

Julia Wang, site director of The Bump and mom of two, explains how her routine, social life, home and entire frame of mind changed when she first became a mom.

Julia Wang, Queens, NY

I wish I knew…that the love is deeper than you’ve ever known. I realized that I had no idea what love was until I met my son (sorry to my husband!). It’s a completely different kind of love—all-encompassing and fiercely protective and so pure. And because of that huge emotional shift, our lifestyle changed: We moved from the city within a month of his birth to a house where he could have a yard and garden and his own room. Everything we did was through the lens of “Would Travis love this?” So that meant taking a lot of mommy-and-me classes, going to parks and meeting other moms.

I wish I knew…that going back to work would be difficult on many levels. I love my work, but in the beginning I definitely missed each of my babies and worried about missing all the milestones. I was lucky to have my mom babysit, so I didn’t have the added concern of establishing trust with a caregiver. Another challenge was pumping breast milk. I did have a very understanding boss and work environment, and luckily, my own office, which made pumping easy in a number of ways. But sometimes I had back-to-back meetings and lots of coworkers “driving by” to discuss projects, so finding blocks of time to pump was definitely hard, and it affected my milk production. I just did the best I could, and we made it to close to a year of breast-feeding. I feel grateful I was able to do it for that length of time.

I wish I knew…that my relationship with my husband would continue to grow and change. I thought I knew every facet of my husband—until we had children. He takes his responsibility as a father so seriously, and that is beautiful to see. All the things he was before—patient, sweet, kind, thoughtful—are even more apparent now in how he treats our children. Fundamentally we agree on child rearing and beliefs, but we are still figuring out how to balance busy work schedules and spend time with the kids and with each other. We’ve definitely had challenges on who is or isn’t doing enough with the daily child-rearing stuff, but now he’ll do a lot during the weeknights while I pick up the weekend duties, and we’re happy with this arrangement. And while a “date night” hasn’t quite materialized, after the kids are off to bed, we talk about our day and hang out together, so we’re still connected.

I wish I knew…how hard it can be to keep up with them! Every few weeks, Travis became a different baby. I always thought, He is his absolute cutest right now. Then a month would pass, and I would think the same thing. The biggest change was that period around five months when his personality started to emerge. To try to capture it all, we snapped a ton of photos, which we were constantly sharing with our families.