My Son’s Nanny Saved Me During My Postpartum Journey
They say it takes a village to raise a child, but when my son, Johnny, was born over a year ago on Valentine’s Day, I couldn’t have felt more alone despite having a wonderful partner in my husband, Jay. I needed the support that can come only from someone who has been there, done that. Of course, my mother rushed to the rescue, providing us with home-cooked meals and lots of encouragement those first two weeks. But when she left Los Angeles and returned to our native Ecuador, panic set in. How was I supposed to raise this child without her? I remember crying so much that I was afraid my C-section scar would burst open. I was healing from the surgery and still unable to perform basic chores. On top of that, Jay’s paternity leave was up. It was clear I needed help—and fast.
That’s when our nanny, Adriana, came into our lives. She’d worked for a friend’s neighbor and came highly recommended. Adriana immediately checked off the right boxes: We could trust her with our newborn, and, as a native Mexican, she would help us raise him to be bilingual. But she also exceeded our expectations. Within days, she managed to ease my new-parent exhaustion so I could eat, shower, and rest between breastfeeding sessions. I was amazed at how much lighter I felt when she was around.
A seasoned mom of two kids, ages 8 and 15, Adriana has a solution for practically every baby-related question (cradle cap, baby acne, nap strikes, you name it!) and can dole out solicited advice with the kind of nurturing attitude that’s meant to uplift, not condescend. “Todo en la vida tiene una solución, excepto la muerte” (“Everything in life has a solution, except death”), she often says with a broad smile, always underlining that I’m doing a great job.
But it’s the way she cares for me that’s been the most unexpected gift. Without any prompting, she brings me tamales, the sweet corn ones, made by a woman from her church. When it’s chilly out, she makes hot chocolate or lentil soup. She insists I steal moments for self-care and even volunteers to babysit evenings so Jay and I can have a date night occasionally.
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During my maternity leave, it was especially comforting to have someone with whom I could combat the isolation and disconnection that often accompanies motherhood. It helps that we are both in our late 30s and share a love of celeb gossip and Latin pop. (We heart Alejandro Sanz, Marc Anthony, and Juan Luis Guerra!) In a way, she helped me keep in touch with who I was before giving birth.
While I realize that I’m her boss, I know that she also sees me as more. Recently, at her daughter’s quinceañera, I watched as she showed off Johnny to her friends and hugged him close. When it came time for photos, she insisted that we get in the picture with all her loved ones, and I joyfully obliged. Because for me, she’s more than a nanny. She’s family.
A version of this article originally appeared in Parents Latina's April/May 2020 issue as “ My Very Own Super Nanny.”