Motherhood comes naturally for first-time mom
Last updated 5/10/2023 at 4:21pm | View PDF
Carolyn and Chris Hart bought a house in Hinsdale in 2021, not knowing at the time that it would soon be home to a family of three.
After a lengthy renovation project during which the Harts lived in Carolyn's brother's basement just next door, they moved in in February 2022, leaving them several months to settle in and prepare for the next big event in their lives - the birth of baby Ashley.
Hart became a mother on June 29, 2022, and will celebrate her first Mother's Day as a mom Sunday.
Prior to Ashley's arrival, Hart said the thought of caring for an infant was scary and overwhelming. And although motherhood has its challenges, Hart said much of it has come naturally.
"Your mother's instinct really kicks in," she said.
What she wasn't prepared for is the intense love she immediately felt for her daughter.
"I don't know what I was expecting," she said. "It's a love like you've never experienced before. It's a love I didn't know I was capable of having."
At 10 months, Ashley's personality is emerging, and she's gearing up to take her first steps. Along with Ashley, Hart said she and her husband also are learning each day.
Being a new mom can be isolating, but the move to Hinsdale means Hart is surrounded by family. It also means she is part of a supportive and friendly community.
Ashley and her mom enjoy walks to Starbucks and a music class at The Community House, where Hart is building a network of other moms. She said the summer will come with even more opportunities to get to know her new hometown and the people in it.
"We're really excited for Uniquely Thursdays to kick off this summer," Hart said.
Soon, Ashley will begin forming her own friendships at Village Children's Academy.
"We're already building a network of kids who will be in her life for many years to come," Hart said.
After a lengthy maternity leave, Hart returned to work early this year. At first, she said she wasn't sure she liked working remotely, but she's found the perks. On the one day a week when her mother-in-law comes to babysit, Hart enjoys popping out of her office for a quick snuggle with Ashley.
Hart's first Mother's Day will include a brunch with her family, including her sister and her new baby.
"It's the first Mother's Day for both of us," she said.
Hart said her favorite thing about being Ashley's mom is watching the relationship grow between her husband and daughter.
"It's made my love for my husband stronger, as well," she said.
Hart said being a mom has also changed the way she feels about her own mother as she has developed a new appreciation for the stress and worry that she no doubt caused her mother just by growing up.
"I look at her in a whole new light," she said.
Still, Hart said motherhood so far has caused far less anxiety than she expected, largely due to the support of family and friends, old and new.
"It truly takes a village," she said.
- story by Sandy Illian Bosch, photo by Jim Slonoff