A Career Woman’s Take on Motherhood – Jamaica Observer

Ava-Marie Johnson’s journey to motherhood, in stages
“I always knew motherhood was something I wanted to do later in life. We all craft our life (if lucky) in how best we want to live it. For me this means trying to have the best of many worlds; a fulfilling career, travel, and lots of “me time”, shared Johnson with SO. “Of course,” she continued, “Once you reach the mid-thirties you realise that the biological clock is very real for women… Nonetheless, I wanted to achieve milestones in my career while living and working in multiple countries with flexibility for extensive leisure travel.”
Johnson would soon discover that, irrespective of how healthy you believe you are, a pregnancy in the mid-thirties is labelled as “high risk” or a “geriatric pregnancy” as you are now considered to be of advanced maternal age. Thankfully, she was quite healthy and active, so the tests during her pregnancy were basic and included Vitamin D, frequent ultrasounds, genetic screening, glucose, alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) or multiple markers for certain genetic conditions or birth defects.
Certain medical conditions are more prevalent for women in their mid-thirties; including gestational diabetes and hypertension, so it was imperative to observe an appropriate diet, rest, and manage stress during her pregnancy. This, she understood, could prove challenging for many women with hectic jobs, and too, the same for women taking care of younger children.
Johnson’s delivery was via elective C section, which she described as “manageable but [which] also presented some challenges. After such a massive procedure, you immediately need to move around to take care of your baby. Five months after the baby is here and the healing continues”, she revealed.
Juggling motherhood
“Motherhood has been my biggest blessing and learning opportunity. I have realised that trying to achieve perfect equilibrium in all areas of my life (best mom, attentive wife, fulfilling career, eating right, exercising, spiritual well-being, time for social activities) may not be possible. We are constantly making choices about how and where to invest our time, but we need to be our best selves so we can be great for others.
“Today and right now, I choose to experience motherhood in the fullest way I can. But I also want to have a fulfilling career that I can invest time in. However, I’ve come to terms with the fact that we cannot have it all…at once! So, I still enjoy working and, luckily, have an amazing team and supportive organisation that gives me flexibility so I can dedicate moments to Mateo and be involved daily in his development. But things are often challenging… not enough time to go the gym, socialise with friends, travel, or do other things for yourself.
“There will be sacrifices as I cannot work late all the time or travel overseas right now simply based on my own choices and how I choose to ‘mom.’ Yes, there are some late nights, late meetings, and extra work, ending at 5:00 pm and starting back at 9:00 pm when the baby is sleeping. We all have different experiences and how we decide to use our 24 hours is based on what we value. Therefore, for these early years, I am hoping to spend as much time as possible being involved in my son’s life, and while I cannot dedicate all my hours to work, I am striving to excel in my career, [too].
“You need a strong support system at home and work! Thankfully I [have that]! But I have accepted that some days/weeks will be great with the world and other times I will be screaming and feeling stressed!”
Her joy is palpable and her entire face lights up as she adds, “Without a doubt, it is all worth it and I would do it 10 times over for my gift from God: Mateo. He is right on time and serves a perfect place in my life. He gives me peace when he stares at me and even when I believe I am getting this all wrong, his smiles give me encouragement. I wouldn’t do anything differently and I strongly believe I am at the place and time of life to be the best for him.”
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