I was stunned by motherhood. At 32 when I had my first child I was still in what felt like the early stages of running a business I hadn’t intentionally planned on creating and had no idea what the future had in store for it. But for two years it had been the sole, intense focus of my life and nothing else got in the way. But then Lyon was lifted into the open air of the world by the hands of Dr. Leialoha, with his lifeline, the cord that connected him to me, wrapped around the top of his head. I don’t remember his cry; perhaps because my eyes were rolling, my body was shaking and I had begun gagging (“totally normal, it’s just them putting your intestines back in,” said the tactful anesthesiologist standing by my head ready with the kidney bean-shaped bowl). All I remember were his wide-open eyes already looking curiously at the things in front of him. He was the sweetest, most beautiful little being I had ever seen.
It’s a crazy combination to be so immediately and intensely in love with someone/something that you can barely breathe, and at the same time be so scared and exhausted that you hope you go to sleep and never wake up. I was woefully unprepared for the emotional avalanche and anxiety that plagued my sleep-deprived brain. It took less than two weeks after his birth for me to recognize the urgency of getting help for my emotional turmoil. My c-section hadn’t been an emergency but I still felt the distinct trauma of the possibility that he could have died had my uterus opened and had I been able to push him out.
That was just the beginning, my introduction to a whole new world, a world of constant batshitness. I felt like I had just started to get the hang of having my own business, and now as a new mother I had to learn a whole new set of skills and ways of coping, and do it with a brain that felt reduced to muck most days. Even though I had been working myself silly before I had Lyon, with, in my estimation, little free time to do anything but print and sew, print and sew, I had still moved swiftly and freely through my own space. Having a tiny human that required my attention all hours of the day flipped me upside-down. My already insular existence constricted even more and I began to morph.
Like most things though, it’s about the journey, about the morphing process. Being a mother has made me a more complex, vivid and intense person (yes, more intense, if that’s possible) and made JANA LAM the brand more fruitful and meaningful because of the challenges and changes that I’ve had to make along the way; and because now the stakes are higher in regards to my own personal goals. Before I had Lyon and Aili I wasn’t quite as aware of the impact I could have on those around me. I was focused primarily on my own happiness. But now I’ve got two curious and spongey kids who look at me as their guide through the world, and my aim is to be as close to their vision of who I am as I can, and to raise them not according to any particular vision I have of them, but to raise them to be happy, healthy, stellar human beings. My daily is a loving struggle most of the time, with constant grappling to keep things balanced. But somehow we navigate the bumps and the blockages and they love me no matter what, even when I fail over and over again. I know I’ll never be the perfect parent, and I’ll always have more questions than answers but overall, motherhood has made me more resilient and self-assured. I owe much of my confidence in other aspects of my life to being a mother, juggler of craziness and multi-faceted whatchamaallthings. Thank goodness for these two energy love balls who continue to teach me every day about who I am and who I want to be.
Jana Lam is a Honolulu, Hawaii based design company that focuses on products and accessories for an endless summer. Lam's beach front home once served as the production house of her handmade in Hawaii line of one-of-a-kind, hand-printed and sewn apparel and home accessories. In Fall 2017, printing and production move out of the home studio, and the Jana Lam Studio + Shop was opened in Kaka'ako.