becoming a mother

(written for a Mother’s Day essay contest at Abby’s Lane)

This Mother’s Day is the first year I will be a mom. But that’s not what made me finally realize I’m a mom. It was when I was talking to my hubby about how fast baby is growing…. and realized how I was measuring his growth. By poop. Now of course I can justify this – I was talking about soon needing a diaper sprayer because baby is starting on solids, and we can no longer just throw the soiled diapers straight into the washer. But still. Only a mom would measure growth in terms of poop.

It seems like a long road already… from that first realization of “oops”, to darn-it-i-want-to-have-a-baby-bump-already!, to craving liver and cranberries… waiting and walking and laboring those last few weeks as I slowly opened up – and went overdue. To the jacuzzi in the hospital laboring room that was a cruel joke… it would randomly turn on high-speed bubbles that were agonizingly painful. To realizing the baby was in danger when they said I had meconium in the water… and to keep pushing! To hardly caring that I was stark naked when the ped emergency team swarmed the room to save my still and gray little baby. Hungering for that first touch before they whisked him away. Being on a mag drip and looking at his picture and crying as I pumped a few treasured drops of colostrum… and then finally taking my baby home. And falling in love.

Sometimes it seems I am just the milk machine. But then baby shows that I am the only one who can comfort him. The first one he learns to reach for. It’s in my arms he prefers sleeping, not his bassinet… and the only place he’ll sleep when he’s sick or teething. There’s the unguarded joy and complete trust he has in me when he plays and learns and tumbles through this new and strange world.

What is motherhood? It is being dedicated to another person’s life, happiness, and well-being. It is being the security and safety of warm arms. And it is being the owner of blackmail material. Which brings to mind the invention of digital cameras… a blessing and a curse. A blessing to us moms, and a curse to the future of our children. They will have every memorable occasion recorded, along with every occasion they didn’t want to remember… On youtube.

And as I write here, sitting next to my adorable sleeping baby, I am just starting to realize I am a mom. Mom to this beautiful, blue-eyed, chubby smiler. He will be nearly 6 months on Mother’s Day, and I love being his mom.


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