New mother looks forward to Mother’s Day with new perspective

Published 4:26 pm Friday, May 10, 2013

Samantha and Tyler Popwell see their daughter Olivia for the first time after she is born Feb. 3 at Shelby Baptist Medical Center.

Samantha and Tyler Popwell see their daughter Olivia for the first time after she is born Feb. 3 at Shelby Baptist Medical Center.

For the first time in her life, Samantha Popwell of Clanton will celebrate Mother’s Day as a mother.

Samantha, 26, and her husband, Tyler, 29, welcomed their daughter, Olivia Rose, into the world on Feb. 3 at Shelby Baptist Medical Center.

The couple has spent the last three months learning the unpredictable pathways of parenthood, showering Olivia with love and being grateful she is healthy despite her premature birth eight weeks before Samantha’s due date.

At 3 pounds, 13 ounces, Olivia was significantly underweight compared to other babies weighing anywhere from 6–9 pounds or more when they are born.

Olivia was required to stay at the hospital for two weeks after she was born as she learned how to eat and swallow.

Olivia’s early arrival heightened Samantha’s worry as a new mother but also strengthened their bond beyond Samantha’s comprehension.

“Her being premature and seeing her in that fragile state made me closer to her,” Samantha said. “Before I had kids, I imagined what it would be like—the love for my child, and I never imagined it would be like this. I couldn’t imagine life without Olivia. In these last three months, she has changed me so much for the better.”

Samantha said she cried the week she had to return to work at Autozone after spending every day of her 12 weeks of maternity leave with Olivia.

“It’s really hard being away from her,” Samantha said. “I’m jealous of the other stay-at-home moms. If I could do it, I definitely would.”

Samantha said her biggest challenge has been learning how to balance a full-time job and responsibilities at home including taking care of Olivia, while also taking care of herself and finding enough energy to do it all.

“I don’t know how single mothers do it,” Samantha said. “Tyler is just the greatest dad. I don’t have to ask for his help. He jumped right in from Day 1 and proudly took on the role of a father.”

Samantha said having Olivia brought her and Tyler closer in their marriage, and parenthood has given her another purpose in life: caring for another person that cannot care for herself yet.

“She completely relies on me,” Samantha said. “I do love that she needs me, and I love to nurture her.”

The Popwells plan to spend Mother’s Day with Tyler’s mother, have dinner with her and enjoy each other’s company.

“It’s weird being on this side of Mother’s Day now that I’m a mother,” Samantha said. “Now that I am a mother, I understand my mother’s love for me. She said she worshipped the ground I walked on, and now I understand why.”