Instead of the usual Five for Friday post I have decided to honor Mother’s Day by telling you what motherhood means to me.
Yesterday, I spoke a little about my own mom, she was, obviously, my first experience with motherhood. She is an amazing mom and a selfless person, she always has been. I love her and am blessed to have her as my mom. She’s fun, funny, smart, caring, compassionate, loving, an excellent listener, and a great advice giver.
I’m the youngest of three children, my brother is about 2 years older than me and there are seven years between my sister and I. I had 11 glorious years as an only child. It was great! Then my sister had her first child, a little girl. My sister, still being just a kid herself, needed help raising that little angel. My parents accommodated my new niece and my sister the best they could. I remember my mom getting up in the middle of the night to take care of the baby. About five years and a lot of craziness later, my sister had a second daughter. Again, my mother had to step in to help care for another little baby because of my sister’s instability. Five more years later another little girl was born. I was in college. This one my mother delivered herself, not because she wanted to, because she had to. My sister said she didn’t know she was pregnant. My mother was incredibly brave. The ambulance arrived just in time to snip the umbilical cord. My brother and I were basically out of the house at that point, so all three girls lived with my parents.
What a dichotomy, on the one hand I have this saint of a mom who takes care of everyone with so much love. On the other, I have my sister who was miraculously blessed with three beautiful daughters and treated them like they weren’t hers. It was a confusing thing for me to deal with. At some point I decided I didn’t want to have children. I saw how difficult it is to be a parent. I also felt like I had helped raise those girls and that was enough parenting experience for me.
Then I met Nick. After dating a bit I told him that I didn’t want kids. He could not understand that. He wanted them. At the time he actually wanted “at least three”. After hearing all his reasons why having kids is awesome, I eventually began to see things his way. I knew I would never be like my sister. I had seen the things she put my parents and those girls through. I knew I would be different. After three years of dating, we married.
Another two years later we were pregnant. I was so excited and scared and nervous all mixed together. When I started to go into labor I had a rough time. After 24 hours of labor, countless visitors, an epidural, pitocin, oxygen, 3 hours of pushing, the vacuum, the tongs, a dislodged epidural, and an emergency C-section that I could feel because of aforementioned dislodged epidural, my beautiful baby girl was born. My mom and husband were with me through every step of the process. My mom wasn’t allowed to be in the OR with us, so she stood right outside the OR door. She heard me screaming in pain and she could do nothing. I can’t imagine.
I was finally a mom. But I couldn’t enjoy it, not quite yet. Because of the trauma of the C-section I had to be put under general anesthesia, removed from the OR, and hooked up to a breathing machine. My little angel had to be taken away to deal with head injuries she had suffered due to being lodged in my pelvic bone.
When Nick finally introduced me to her, I was already in love. You see, I had bonded with her when she was inside me. After going through the horrific experience of the birth process TOGETHER, in my eyes, we were inexplicably bonded forever. I felt so bad for her. She came into this world with a traumatic birth and the head wounds to prove it. During my recovery, I realized that I would be a mom like my mom.
My mom was there everyday to help take care of me and to help me take care of my sweet baby girl. Nick stayed in the hospital each night and most of everyday. My mom would come each morning and let him go home to get a shower or do whatever he needed to do. She was already in love with my little girl too. I was so happy to have her support during those days. When we came home from the hospital she came too. She was at our house every day. She even stayed a few nights. Because of Lyla’s head wounds she had a terrible headache and needed her head to be elevated to alleviate some of the pain. That meant she had to be held 24 hours a day. We were grateful she was there so we could get a few hours of rest here and there.
Two and a half years later we were pregnant again. I was worried about how my little Lyla would handle having a sibling. She said she was excited. I was scared to have another C-section. But I knew that giving her a brother would enrich her life.
I love my brother and I was thrilled that she would be able to have a relationship like mine too.
This time it was a planned C-section and was much less traumatic. Except for me. I was a mental case. I suffered PTSD and PPD from Lyla’s birth. My doctor actually apologized to me for all I went through at my 6 week check-up. When it came time for the planned C-section I had a full blown anxiety attack. When they started to hook me up to those machines and again when they began to administer the spinal block. The doctors kept looking through my chart from Lyla’s birth and they were shocked at all the drugs that were needed and how the C-section went down, and that I had to be put under general. That only added to my anxiety. I was so crazy with anxiety that one of the nurses later told me I was in the top three of the most stressed patients she had ever treated.
Guess what, that all went away when I got to see my son. I had never seen a baby that new before. It was incredible. Truly amazing.
What a difference! Look, no oxygen! He had jaundice, so we were in the hospital for five days. It was the same drill. My mom was there every day. She and my mother-in-law took turns caring for Lyla so that Nick and I could stay in the hospital with this little man.
My mom was there when Lyla first met her brother. She said, “I love you brother”. I’ll never forget that moment. It was so special.
My mom has been at each birth of her seven grandchildren, including the one she delivered. She’s always there during special moments, she’s been there in my darkest hour, she’s seen me at my worst, at my best, and she’s here during the mundane too. This woman has been to every game I played in, every game I cheered at, took me to pageants, hugged me when I had breakups with boyfriends, and nursed me to health when I was sick. While she did each of those things she loved me. No matter what, she loved me.
That’s what motherhood means to me. It means that you want to be with your kids no matter what the situation. And no matter what, you love them and want them to be better than you are or have better than you did. It means you are ready and willing to do anything for them. Being there with love, without bias no matter what.
If you’re lucky enough to have kids of your own, you’ll see that it’s an amazing ride worth every worry and fear.
Thank you, mom, for showing me how to be a mom. Your grace, bravery, and love have made me the mom I am. I cannot thank you enough. I love you.
Happy Mother’s Day mamas! I hope it’s lovely!