Growing up as a Korean adoptee in the 90s, there were hardly any children’s books with protagonists that looked like me or that celebrated Korean culture. The one book my mom was able to find was The Korean Cinderella by Shirley Climo. I loved looking at the bright illustrations by Ruth Heller and imagining myself in the wedding hanbok that Cinderella wears at the end of the story. However, it wasn’t lost on me that this was not really a Korean story; it was a beautiful adaptation of a popular western fairytale.
While still near and dear to my heart because it was my one and only Korean-representation book as a child, I am very glad that my daughter is able to have these additional titles on her bookshelf!
I will preface this entry with the fact that we are absolutely over the moon to be expecting our little girl. We wanted to become parents, and at the end of the day, I wouldn’t re-do or change anything about this pregnancy. However, there have been some significant challenges and feelings as a result of being pregnant in the middle of a global pandemic, and that’s the bulk of what I am choosing to focus on here because I know that there are other “pandemic moms” out there who are experiencing similar things.
2020 brough many unexpected surprises, some welcome and some not so welcome. By the time August rolled around I had retreated into my hole while I tried to process the facts that we were separating children from their parents at the border, people still weren’t understanding that Black Lives Matter, we were in the middle of a global pandemic that our President was still calling “The Chinese Virus,” and that my state was literally on fire and burning out of control. Needless to say, the thought that I could be pregnant was not even remotely on my radar.
It seems like every woman you know of child-bearing age is suddenly pregnant. The women in your life who are on child two or three keep mentioning that when you are expecting, they have a whole garage full of baby supplies that they can offload on you. It feels like every conversation at lunch is centered around stories of spit up, sleep training, daycare, and scraped knees. The baby-making universe becomes a plague forcing you to catch baby fever.
Being diagnosed with Bipolar-II Disorder at age 29 is something I didn’t expect, but I would be lying if I said it was a surprise. I had lived with a previous diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder and depression all my life, and it wasn’t until I received my Bipolar diagnosis that everything finally felt like it made sense and fell into place. That is, except for the area of family planning.