ABC News White House Correspondent MaryAlice Parks and Husband Welcome Baby Boy: 'Total Whirlwind'
MaryAlice and Family MaryAlice Parks, husband Christopher Kimmel, and their baby boy Patrick
ABC News' MaryAlice Parks is officially a mom!
The White House correspondent and husband Christopher Kimmel welcomed a baby boy on Saturday, Feb. 25, a rep for the couple confirms to PEOPLE.
Son Patrick Colby Parks Kimmel was born weighing 7 lbs.,12 oz., and measured 21 inches long, the new parents, who tied the knot last April, share.
"Now, if you had told me this time last year that I would be a new mom before our one-year wedding anniversary, I would have laughed out loud," Parks tells PEOPLE. "I was 36 last year, I am 37 now, and I was really worried it might be hard to get pregnant."
"When we first found out, right after the honeymoon, we were stunned, shocked, and anxious, but ultimately, we had to trust this was God's plan. Sometimes God rips the band-aid off for you. And we thought, as long as we have a happy home, maybe this is the right time."
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MaryAlice and Family MaryAlice Parks' son, Patrick
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"It's definitely been a lot all at once — a total whirlwind — but it has also been the happiest time of my life and has felt really right," the new mom continues. "My husband and I were together for years before we got married, and I wasn't sure if our life would feel different, but it really has. I feel such a sense of joy every time I see his wedding ring and a new sense of peace as we go through life together."
Life as a journalist has helped prep the new mom for the sleepless nights that come with a newborn.
"My whole life I have been an insomniac. I think there's a lot of insomniacs among us journalists. We work weird hours, and we are used to being woken up in the middle of the night with breaking news. So, I do feel a little more confident in my ability to function on little to no sleep," she tells PEOPLE.
"As journalists we have to trust our instincts — and know when to probe and when to question. And I am trying as a new mom to get comfortable and confident with trusting my own instincts with Patrick."
MaryAlice and Family MaryAlice Parks' son, Patrick
For the couple, welcoming their baby boy at this time of year has a lot of significance, as the two met at a St. Patrick's Day party a decade ago.
"We were living in different cities, there were a million reasons why it shouldn't have worked. But there he was, the love of my life, being introduced to me by a friend. And then, like I said, we got pregnant so surprisingly fast. They say, good things come when you are least expecting them and that has definitely been true for me," she shares.
So far, Parks has appreciated the support she's gotten around breastfeeding, which has been one of the more surprising areas of motherhood so far.
"In all seriousness, I didn't quite appreciate the toll breastfeeding would take on my body. I had friends and family who tried to prepare me, actually. They gifted me pads and creams and shared tips, but I told myself I would just figure it out when the time came," the journalist shares. "I am still really glad that I am breastfeeding Patrick, but I wish I had taken more time while pregnant to prepare myself for the challenge. I was a little cavalier about it."
The support of her mom and two sisters has meant the world to her as she starts this next chapter.
MICHAEL & ANNA COSTA PHOTOGRAPHY
"Even at 37 years old, having my first baby made me feel like I needed my mom again. She was able to come to our house and be with us when we were first bringing Patrick home from the hospital and that was a huge help," Parks says. " And my sisters have been by my side. One is a family medicine doctor, and I cannot tell you what a gift it was to have her on speed dial during my pregnancy. I think I called her daily. She is so brilliant and kind and has made me less anxious about everything. I had her on speakerphone on and off during labor. There is just no one I trust more."
While Parks and Kimmel are enjoying time at home with their newborn, the new mom is looking ahead to her return to work.
"It is daunting and scary to think about," she admits. "It does help that both my husband and I have paid time off right now, and we feel we will be able to afford childcare down the road. Millions of Americans don't have those luxuries. And every time I get anxious about going back to work, I think about how mothers have superpowers."
Parks continues, "Moms always seem to figure it out — handle more, multi-task more, switch into a higher gear. I have watched other women manage it, and I hope I can too. Plus, I know that if I am doing what I love, working in a profession that I believe matters and that I find meaning in, that will fundamentally make me a better mom."