For Mother’s Day weekend, we sought a few new moms to hear about the thrills, spills, ups and downs with their little bundles of joy.

We looked in the paper’s recent birth announcements and found some new arrivals whose parents had a little energy left to share their experience with readers.

Beatrix Mae Maleski

Beatrix Mae arrived on Feb. 7th to parents Ashley Munger and Nathan Maleski of Sutton.

Ashley said she was never particularly interested in having kids until her maternal clock started ticking in her early 30s.

“I started feeling like, ‘What if you never have children and then regret it once it’s too late?’”

She and her fiancé, Nathan Maleski, talked about it, and decided to try for a baby.

It was a routine pregnancy until the very end when Ashley said she had some minor complications and had to be induced.

“96 hours later, and we had our beautiful baby girl, Beatrix Mae Maleski, at 5:24 p.m. on Feb. 7th, weighing 6 lbs., 6 oz. and measuring 19-inches long,” Ashley shared. “Holding her for the first time was incredible. I was in a weird state of shock. I couldn’t believe I had actually done it! That I was now a mom and would be for the rest of my life. It was actually quite overwhelming to me.”

A few days in the hospital, post-delivery, was helpful to the young parents. “It was nice in a way because I had all of the support from the staff to help me and answer any questions I had at any moment,” said Ashley. “Up until this point in my life I had never even changed a diaper and felt kind of like a fish out of water when holding, changing or breastfeeding the baby.”

Then, like most new parents, they were discharged and faced the daunting moment in which they were free to go.

“It was very scary to me for us to suddenly be on our own with this tiny little baby,” she said.

Ashley said the challenges of being a first-time mom have been very real.

“Those first few weeks were HARD,” she shared. “I was still recovering from delivery and the complications that followed. The lack of sleep on top of that made it so my level of function was very much survival mode. I don’t know how I would have made it through without the constant support of Nathan.”

The new dad did all the cooking and helped with night-time shifts “so we could each try to get at least a few solid hours of sleep each day…. I don’t think I’ve ever been more tired in my entire life!” Ashley shared.

“That time was pretty unrewarding for me because Beatrix only had four modes: sleeping, eating, pooping/peeing and crying.”

The rewards are very real, too, she said.

“Beatrix just turned 12-weeks old on May 2nd and she is so sweet. The best ‘thrill’ so far has definitely been her gaining the ability to smile,” said Ashley. “That has come along with the sweet baby coos and the look of recognition when she sees us. We are finally able to interact with her in ways other than just caring for her.

“We have little ‘chats’ throughout the day and she tells us her stories. She has also discovered her hand! Her personality has been growing since day one and we can’t wait to see who she will grow into. It will be so much fun to teach her about the world. To watch her discover things in it for the very first time. I look forward to answering all of the questions!”

She concluded, “Becoming a mother has been nothing like I imagined and everything that I imagined all rolled into one. It is so HARD! I often wonder how the human race has survived this long. But just when I think I can’t do this anymore Beatrix looks at me and smiles and it makes it all worth it. I love this little peanut to the moon and back.”

Hayden Clyde Cassidy

Little Hayden Clyde Cassidy came into the world on March 15, born to parents Hannah Bristol and Connor Cassidy, of St. Johnsbury.

Hannah shared that she did not expect to become a mom so young, at age 17, but is adjusting to the responsibilities.

“I never imagined being a mom so young. When I found out I was pregnant I thought ‘there’s no way!

“Soon enough I had made an appointment and found out, ‘wow this is actually real and happening.’”

Hannah “busted her butt” to finish high school early… just in time to have Hayden.

“Going to school pregnant was hard, not only was I going to a whole new school where I didn’t know anyone, I was afraid of being judged but I got lucky,” she said. “The school, students and staff welcomed me with opening arms and made me feel like I belonged.

She battled morning sickness throughout her pregnancy but persevered to achieve her goal of graduation.

“Going to Arlington School was the best choice I could have made for myself and I can’t thank the teachers enough for being so supportive and pushing me to do my best,” she said. “Being a young teen mom took a toll on me… At first I thought, ‘Great, I’ve lost my ‘life,’ when actually my life had just begun.”

Indeed, in the middle of March, Hannah labored through 34 hours of “horrible” pain and welcomed Hayden at 1:59 p.m.

“The first time I held him is unexplainable,” she shared. “I felt a love I’ve never felt before, I was over the moon happy.”

“Some of the messy things about being a mom is the blowout diapers, peeing all over the bed if you’re not quick enough lol, and the biggest challenge for me was getting used to his sleep schedule,” Hannah said. “Some of the things I love about being a mom are the morning cuddles and watching him grow and develop more skills every day. I love his smiles; they make my heart melt when he talks all gibberish and just everything about being his momma.”

Reflections of and by moms

Kathryn Coté, of Waterford, who has two grown daughters, Simone and Claire, and a son, Jesse, shared on being a mother and grandmother: “I think the best part of being a mother to grown children is looking at all the life adventures they have taken… I am so grateful to get to share each of their new adventures of parenthood!”

Aprile Flynn Stoddert, of Lyndon Center, shared of her mom: “…she wanted to leave a legacy of making the world a better place… Mama taught me many things while I was growing up, but what she has taught me in her 70s are some of the most important lessons. Your past is a part of you, but it does not have to define you; It can refine you… Even shy people can do amazing things … one baby step at a time. And all that it takes to change the world for the better is to raise your hand when they ask for volunteers.”

Gordon McGinnis, who grew up in the NEK, shared about his late mother, Lucille: “When she was 16 she married my father who was born and grew up on the Bugbee Farm in Mud Hollow in Kirby, and on the McGinnis Farm on Old Concord Road in East St. Johnsbury. Soon after my folks were married my father went back to farming in East St. Johnsbury on the Whitten Farm on Walsh Road and then the Ranney Farm in North Concord — both what we and you would know and call ‘dirt farms.’ If you didn’t grow it you didn’t eat. There was basically no income except taking a few 40-quart cans of milk to the Concord creamery. This was a very tough life and adjustment for my mother who had grown up in the City. She worked very hard in the fields and provided a wonderful home life for me and my brother and sister as my father moved all over Vermont, New York and Connecticut managing farms for wealthy landlords.

“My mother was an excellent cook and had a very loving personality and got along fine with neighbors and friends wherever we lived.”

Carmenza Montague of Burke said, ‘’My two children Ignacio and Antonia (11 and 8-years old) are, like we say in Spanish, ‘the light of my eyes,’ and also the reason for all my gray hairs. Both are independent, adventurous, strong, bilingual, and are learning to understand the world from different perspectives. They are proud of their heritage, love it when I make Colombian food, and of course, Colombian candies. Today (Friday), they asked me to let them skip soccer and lacrosse practice so they could attend a Hispanic Festival at the St. Johnsbury Academy. I can’t think of a better way for us to celebrate Mother’s Day.’’

Barbara Warren, of St. Johnsbury, shared of her mom Annette Hagen, who passed away in July of 2020 from colon cancer: “My mom was the hardest worker I know. I know that I get my work ethic from her. She loved her family and friends and had a big heart. I miss her… She was amazing.”

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