Panther Cubs: Alana and Amelia

If there’s one thing you can count on Pres always having, it’s pregnant teachers. For an inside scoop on what new motherhood is really like, The Voice interviewed* social studies teacher Andrea Duwel and math teacher Nicole Ralston about their maternal experiences thus far.

The Voice: Baby’s name and age?

A.D.: Alana Kate Duwel, 6 months.

Duwel Baby Lo Res

N.R.: Amelia Jane, 3 months.

Ralston Baby Lo Res

The Voice: What has been the most exciting moment or most monumental in your baby’s life so far?

A.D.: It was pretty exciting when she started smiling and then laughing. It melts my heart every time.

N.R.: Hands down, her first laugh. I was changing a poopy diaper at 4 a.m., which was unusual at this week in her life (she was good about waking up at 6 a.m. at that point). I made a comment to her about keeping me on my toes, and she caught me by surprise and laughed! It was literally the most exciting moment of my life – I never realized such a little noise would bring me such joy. Totally worth waking up for.


The Voice: What is your favorite activity to do with your baby?

A.D.: I love to wear Alana in my baby carrier and go for a walk. I talk to her about the world around us and kiss her head while I feel her warmth and her breath. Baby wearing is a special way to bond and I love it.

N.R.: Right now, my favorite activity is working on her fine motor control skills, aka: picking things up. Amelia is so close to grabbing her favorite toy and she scrunches her little face in concentration. I am so proud of her for not getting frustrated and continuing to work at it.


The Voice: Do you think that working with teenage girls all day has prepared you for motherhood?

A.D.: Teachers have to make a lot of decisions on the fly so that was certainly good practice since parenting is non stop decision making.

N.R.: I definitely think being a teacher is great preparation for motherhood. I believe in setting an example for my students and being a role model pushes me to be a better person. I think that teaching has also made me a more patient and empathetic person. Being a parent asks you to be your best self every day, and I hope that sentiment trickles into all aspects of my life.


The Voice: Have there been any funny experiences so far?

N.R.: Living with a baby is like being in a slapstick movie – there are way too many situations involving poop and spit up that somehow manage to be hilarious.


The Voice: Are there any similarities between Pres girls and your baby?

A.D.: Quite a bit in common actually. Babies and Pres girls are both grumpy when tired and like to eat.


The Voice: If you could describe the experience of being a mother in a few words, it would be:

A.D.: Love. Joy. Wholeness.

N.R.: A great adventure!


The Voice: Do you have any ideas for “First Halloween” costumes?

A.D.: I was going to buy her a NASA astronaut costume but I was too indecisive and it sold out while I was making up my mind. Instead I got her a My First Halloween shirt, pants with a pumpkin on the butt and a pumpkin hat. The hat was my husband’s idea. And I already bought her Thanksgiving outfit, and yes, there’s another hat involved.

N.R.: Amelia is super into our ceiling fans right now, so I was thinking of stealing an idea from one of my former students – she will be a Ceiling Fan, with a onesie that says, “The Ceiling is #1!” Lame, I know, but it makes me laugh. The other idea we’re floating around is R2-D2 so that I can be Princess Leia, my husband can be Han Solo, and my dog Barney will be Chewbacca.


The Voice: Anything else you’d like to say?

A.D.: My mom told me that now I know how she feels about me. She feels about me at 34 years old the way I feel about Alana. And guess what girls – that’s how you mom feels about you too so go home and give her a hug!

*Interviews have been edited for length.