This Ode to Mother's Day comes a bit early since my kids will be back with me tomorrow night and I probably wont have time to post next week. However, I am so thankful that Mother's Day happened to fall within the week that I have the kids. Sometimes it's hard to remember what life was like before I had kids. I remember the life events, but there is such a transformation one goes through when they become a mother that all your priorities change and the things that mattered before having kids seem so selfish and insignificant after becoming a mother.
The September before I found out I was pregnant with my first child, my boyfriend and I were at odds, and it was all but a done deal that when the apartment lease was up in December we were going to part ways. Despite the fact that our relationship was strained and I looked forward to December, I had a very real and vivid dream about a baby that would come into my life. This was and still is the most vivid dream I have ever had in my life. I was sitting on the couch in the apartment that me and my boyfriend shared. I was all alone and holding a baby boy. My boyfriend's mother walked through the front door. This was unexpected because she had passed away in March of that same year. Not a word was spoken between the two of us. My boyfriend was in another room of the apartment, but never appeared in the same room as his mother and I during the dream. When she walked towards me, she had such a proud and loving smile. I felt an incredible sense of warmth and love radiating from her. She sat next to me, and I brought the baby close to her, so that she could hold it. She sat next to me, holding this baby boy, smiling down on him, and then at me. She handed the baby back to me, and I woke up. When I woke up I still felt that warmth and love she brought to the dream. I always wondered, "Why wasn't my boyfriend in the main part of the dream?" I told him about the dream, how beautiful his mom looked, and how I wish he had been in it to see his mom again, and feel what I felt radiating from her. Now I think back on that dream, and wonder if it was her way of telling me that someday I would be wading through motherhood alone and that everything would be ok.
A few months after the dream, I found out that I was pregnant. My boyfriend and I didn't split up. It was time that we both grew up and learned how to get along because soon we would become parents. We had pressure from family to get married right away, but because we had previously been struggling, I didn't feel comfortable with getting married in a rush. We did marry later on, but not until we had done some growing, and went through some premarital counseling.
During my pregnancy I read all the books on pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. I took Lamaze classes, and read about breastfeeding. I had it all figured out. I would have this baby, I would nurse every 1 to 2 hours, the baby would sleep in between, and I would be able to continue my studies at university by taking a few online courses while the baby slept. It was going to be textbook, I had it all figured out... or so I thought.
It was several days past my due date when I had a drippy feeling that my water had broke. My boyfriend drove me to the hospital, and I patiently waited in a hallway chair while the nurse found a triage room for me. As I sat there, I heard the cries of a newborn baby coming from the other side of a labor room door that was across the hall from me. As soon as I heard that cry I gasped, and thought, " I CAN'T DO THIS! I AM NOT READY FOR THIS!" It wasn't the thought of labor and delivery, it was the fear of not knowing how to be a mother, my life was about to change forever, what if I couldn't calm my own crying baby? How do you calm a crying baby anyway? What if you feed them, change them, and hold them, and they still cry? What do you do then? How was I going to do this? How was I going to be a mother to someone?"
The nurse found a triage room, and after being checked, they concluded that my water had not broke, and they sent me home. I was so relieved to be going home with this baby still safely inside of me. I can't help but laugh a little now as I write this from a veteran mother's perspective. :) It was beyond too late to be having second thoughts about motherhood at that point.
Several days later, I was back at the hospital and this time I left with a baby. It was a huge adjustment for the first few weeks of motherhood. My textbook labor, delivery, and baby eating and sleeping patterns did not materialize. However, my internal mother's intuition did kick in, and all turned out well despite the pain, sleepless nights, and putting school on hold for a semester.
Five years later, my boyfriend turned husband was rushing me to the same hospital to have our second child. I was eager to go this time, I was in so much labor pain. I knew what to do, and was ready to have my second child. Unfortunately, my contractions weren't close enough and they sent me home to labor some more. We weren't home for long before I demanded to go back to the hospital. When I was triaged the second time, I told the nurse, "I AM NOT LEAVING THIS TIME. I WANT AN EPIDURAL AND I WANT ONE NOW!" One nurse had the nerve to tell me about how they were building a new labor and delivery wing and I would be going to this really awesome place when I had my third child. She said it while I was having a killer contraction. I replied, "I. AM. NEVER. DOING. THIS. AGAIN!" Again, I laugh now, but I wasn't laughing at the time. Eventually I got the epidural, had the baby, and went home the next day.
The Love and Purpose Is Worth the Sacrifice.
I love my kids more than anything. When the topic of having kids come up when I am talking to a someone that has never had them and has reservations about ever having kids, I don't go into the good, the bad, and the ugly of caring for them, I tell them how it transforms a person. I say, "You don't know what love is until you have kids." I suppose that sounds kind of harsh if someone is opposed to ever having kids, but I spin it as my experience and they can take from it what they will. My thoughts are that you know a kind of love, you love your parents, you love your significant other, you love your friends, but the love between a mother and a child is almost indescribable.
Your heart grows, it gushes with a love so profound, you are bonded at the souls, and you'll sacrifice everything to ensure that child is nurtured and protected. My kids climb all over me, hug, cuddle, and tell me how much they love me that I know that they think I'm a good mom and that I do everything I can to nurture them and help them grow. Of course they are typical kids and I hear what a mean mom I am for disciplining them at times, but my mom reminds me that I said the same things, and I can tell you that she was and still is a great mom. Kids can be work, and they can be expensive, and I'm glad I'm through those early years of sleepless nights and diaper changing. Yet I wouldn't go back and change a thing. As they grow from infants to adolescents, I grow too, as a person, and as a mother. We are all growing and transforming together.
Happy Mother's Day to all the moms! Thanks for reading!