By Nina Huang
Northwest Asian Weekly
The New Year brings a lot of new and exciting things for people. But welcoming a new family member is a whole new experience and celebration.
What does the New Year mean to you with a new addition?
Lindsey Kim, mother of 1-year-old Kian: “The New Year with my new family member means making it a point to make a lot of memories together as a family. The biggest thing I look forward to in 2017 is traveling with my family. It might be difficult with a baby, but it’ll be so rewarding.”
Teresa Jue, mother of 2-month-old Elijah: “The New Year really was another day. Our perspective on life has changed in general. What we mean by that is, we no longer are the priority (or others as a matter of fact), but Eli has become the priority in life — not just during the holidays, but in our daily lives now. However, as parents, we’ve tried not to stop living awesome lives, but rather just allowed Eli to be a part of it!”
Joanna Pak, mother of 11-month-old Rose: “We’ve always reflected on our past year and goals, and looked forward to planning out the New Year and goals. With Rose, we have the addition of our roles as parents to consider, as well as looking forward to Rose’s milestones to come.”
Mom-to-be Leslie Ramirez: “This was the first New Year I’ve spent watching the countdown at home in PJs, and not out on the town or traveling, since high school. Being 23 weeks pregnant, this made sense, but beyond that, this signified a huge life shift. And I’m completely fine and excited about that.”
What do you look forward to most in 2017?
Jue: “The biggest thing I look forward to most in 2017 is doing things together as a family! We’re just excited to make memories with this little man as a family of three (well five, including our fur babies). Whether it’s doing simple things like going out to eat, grocery shopping, reading books, or visiting the zoo. We’re just super excited to see him grow and hit each milestone and be a part of it — crawling, walking, talking, eating solids, and more.”
Pak: “Rose is turning 1! In the Korean culture, the first birthday is a grand celebration, where the baby’s life is celebrated and blessed with longevity and prosperity. We have a big celebration planned for Rose and as much as we do look forward to celebrating with all our family and friends, we most look forward to Rose entering her new stage in life, a toddler. She has grown and developed exponentially this past year and her personality comes out more each day. You could say that we spent the last year very eager and excited to meet Rose, but this year, we are very much looking forward to getting to know her better.”
Ramirez: “2017 will be a year of firsts. I’m in the midst of my first pregnancy. I’m excited to get married for the first (and only) time, and tackle the struggles and successes of parenthood with my fiancé by my side.”
What is your favorite aspect about being first-time parents/having a baby?
Kim: “My favorite aspect about having a baby is being rewarded with his unconditional love. I am his person and the fact that he looks to me to comfort, nurture, and care for him is so special. I wouldn’t trade it for anything!”
Jue: “Our favorite aspect is ‘being parents.’ When we look at our little man, I can’t believe how much he grows each day. I can’t believe that we get to call him ‘ours.’”
Pak: “Being first-time parents is a very peculiar thing. It encompasses so much with the highest of highs and lowest of lows. I am a much more appreciative person after having Rose. Whether it’s appreciation for your own body that has developed, carried, and sustained a life, or your own parents that raised you in much more difficult situations with such love and grace; as well as all the little things to be thankful for, like bathrooms with changing tables and spill-proof cups. You realize how precious life is. The precious life of your child and your own life, too. And SLEEP, sleep is so precious.”
Ramirez: “My most favorite aspect now is the anticipation of it all. I’m nervous, terrified, scared, but incredibly excited to meet my baby.”
What was it like to spend the holidays with your new baby?
Ramirez: “The highlight of the holidays was revealing the gender of the baby to both sides of the family, and reveling in their excitement. My dog actually received more presents than I did this year, and I can imagine more of the same next year with the baby.”
Kim: “The holidays were nice with my new baby because I tried my best to make it special for him. He might not remember the things I did for and with him, but it was the beginning of traditions for years to come.”
Jue: “This year, the holidays were a bit tiring, but only because Elijah was still a newborn. However, it was still exciting at the same time. It was Elijah’s first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, and first New Year! He was able to spend it with his friends and family. He was loved and spoiled by many!”
Pak: “This first holiday with her was extra special and exciting for us. It was as if we were experiencing it for the very first time. This renewed wonderment wasn’t limited to just us as parents, but our extended family. I come from a very large and close knit extended family. My dad strung up extra lights this year and took out his granddaughter almost every night, as they both laughed and awed at the sparkling lights, just like my Grandpa did for me and all my cousins. Rose’s aunts and uncles, who range in age from 4 to 30, huddle around her and dote on her every move and it makes my heart burst to see our family grow outside of just Joe and me.”
Anything else that you’d like to share about being first-time parents?
Kim: “My family has been extremely helpful. Also, my family absolutely loves Kian! My mom came to visit a few days after Kian was born, and stayed for a few weeks to help. I was so grateful. She cooked and took Kian so I could sleep. She was so good with him that I didn’t think I could take care of him by myself after she left. My sister is also a huge help. She babysits when I need her to and I trust her to watch him over anybody else. I see her almost every Saturday and that’s her time to spend time with us.”
Pak: “You learn a lot about yourself and essentially learn about where you come from. The holidays are inevitably a time spent with your family and with a baby you start to reflect on where your feelings and own traditions started. I don’t remember exactly what I myself experienced as a baby, but being a parent, you almost get an out-of-body experience of what it probably was like for you when you joined the family.”
Nina can be reached at email@example.com.