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Parenting With Positivity: New parents share their experience with having children and how it has impacted their lives

English+teacher+Dan+Fourniers+new+daughter%2C+Zoe+Gianna%2C+has+taught+him+the+importance+of+patience+and+love.+
Courtesy of Dan Fournier
English teacher Dan Fournier’s new daughter, Zoe Gianna, has taught him the importance of patience and love.

Pregnancy can be one of the most beautiful experiences of a couple’s life. For two Miege teachers, each has special moments and stories to share that bring joy to their everyday lives. 

Both Maggie Verschelden, English teacher, and Dan Fournier, English teacher, have learned a great-deal about being first-time parents to Zoe Gianna Fournier, born October 25th, and Elieen RuthVerschelden, born November 14th. 

“It’s experiencing a whole other kind of love you never imagined being able to feel,” Verschelden said. “It feels like this immense responsibility.”

For Verschelden, maternity leave has been extremely important for her ability to recuperate and spend more time with her new daughter. 

“I don’t think it would be nearly enough time, and sadly in America that is all the time many women get,” Verschelden said “Some women don’t even get six weeks with their newborn.”

Verschelden explained that it’s been quite an adjustment for herself and her husband as they try to navigate the new environment. 

“Having an extra person in the house is a little odd, especially because either my husband or I need to be with her at all times,” Verschelden said. “We are getting used to not having as much alone time.” 

Fournier also thought that having a child has completely changed how he lives his life. 

“It’s caused me to rethink the way I spend my time and just having her around is fantastic,” Fournier said. 

According to Fournier, adapting to this new schedule has been quite refreshing and has taken a lot to get used to. 

“Waking up every two hours is when it first started to click that she’s not operating on my timeline,” Fournier said. “She’s only been around for about eight weeks or something like that.”

Fournier speaks highly of parenthood, especially in the sense of taking a new path in life and trying something new.

“I don’t even know how I spent my time before she was around,” Fournier said. “I took certain things for granted. It’s caused me to think about myself a lot less.”

Because pregnancy is life-altering, Verschelden had to change much about her daily routine. 

“I was very blessed to have an easy pregnancy, and I enjoyed the last half especially when I could feel Eileen’s movements before even knowing I was having a girl,” Verschelden said. 

English and Social Studies teacher Maggie Verschelden has been brought immense joy from pregnancy. “We just love spending time with her, whether it’s holding her, feeding her, changing her, or just making funny faces at her,” Verschelden said. (Courtesy of Maggie Verschelden)

Verschelden noted how she loves running, but pregnancy quickly made this activity a memory. 

“I love to run and be active,” Verschelden said. “Around month seven my knee really started to hurt from carrying the extra weight, so I had to switch to walking.”

Pregnancy can bring many unexpected moments, and Verschelden said that she wasn’t expecting to be extremely attached. 

“When my husband holds her at night and I get three hours of sleep and three hours away from her, I find that I really miss her and want to be with her right when I wake up,” Verschelden said. 

Fournier is not only grateful for the experience of being a part of his wife’s pregnancy journey but also for the support they have received. 

“My mom and dad have been great,” Fournier said. “My wife’s family has been awesome, too. They’re originally from California, so they’ve been coming out to help.”

He also said that he has learned that patience is important, especially during a period such as this. 

“There are times where you just have to take a few deep breaths before you speak, so that’s been a good exercise and something that’s made me more even-keeled,” Fournier said. 

Verschelden is eternally thankful for the people in her life, especially her students and substitute teachers.

“Both Mrs. Boyd and Mrs. Lukert has reported great things, and my freshman English classes mailed me a card, which was nice,” Verschelden said. 

However, the most heartwarming aspect for Verschelden has been the unconditional love shown to her by her husband. 

“He is wonderful about making sure I get time to recharge, even if that’s just bringing me food while I feed the baby or holding her for hours late at night, so I can get some uninterrupted sleep,” Verschelden said.

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River Ball, Opinion Editor

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