Friday, February 1, 2013

Becoming a Mom

Do any of you get ridiculously sappy when your children's birthdays come up? I do. Suddenly I remember every detail leading up to their births. I remember how I felt, what I was doing, what music I was listening to and how irrevocably my life was changed in a single moment. I asked my mom if it ever changes and she said that, for her, it hasn't. "Why do you think I call you each year to tell you the story of the day you were born? It's for me as much as it is for you," she shared. It is with this in mind that I share with you the ride of becoming a mother. It is as much for me as it is for you.

The day my husband and I found out we were going to be parents gave us a feeling of complete euphoria. My husband had been in Dallas and was flying home the day I could take a test and get an accurate result. We made a deal that he would call 15 minutes before he got home and I would take the test then hide it in the bathroom. When he got home, we would look together. I didn't know until later that he had bought me a gift just in case the test wasn't positive - He wanted me to have something beautiful to remember that I was enough for him. I didn't need the gift because one was already growing inside me.

We jumped up, yelled, hugged and cried as we stared at the word, "pregnant" on the stick. It was 11:30 at night but we couldn't wait to tell our family. We lived in the same neighborhood as my sister and brother-in-law so we drove down to their house and banged on the sliding glass door that led to their bedroom. My sister showed up with a stick in her hand ready to beat up anyone who dared mess with her family. (This says more about her personality than just about anything I can tell you.)  When she realized it was us, she pulled us into the house and cried along with us. My brother-in-law popped a bottle of sparkling grape juice and we toasted to our unborn child.

The pregnancy was fairly easy although the first three months were plagued with nausea. I remember my mom always telling me that when she would throw up with me she would thank God that she was carrying me. She always took it as a sign that it was a healthy pregnancy. It always sounded so beautiful in the story but as I puked on the side of highway in my high heels I failed to see the beauty. I tried ginger tea, wristbands (which are still in his memory box) and anything else a well meaning friend would recommend. But I just kept right on throwing up. Until one day, it stopped. Just like everyone said it would.

The first time I felt him move, I froze to make sure it was real.   It felt like a goldfish was in my belly swimming around and I drew a picture of a fish in my pregnancy journal so I would always remember the moment that I knew he was safe and growing.  The responsibility of carrying this child filled me with such a fierce feeling of protectiveness.  That feeling has never left me.

 My water broke at 40 weeks and 2 days and 14 hours later I gave birth to one of the most magical human beings ever to live (except for your children, of course). He was only 5 pounds 12 ounces. And he was perfect.  He was crying as they cleaned him off and I said, "It's alright, baby. Mommy's here." He looked my direction and stopped crying completely. He waited calmly as long as he could hear my voice. In those first few moments, I realized the power of our voices as mothers.

It is something that, no matter their age, can calm them. Our voices give them strength, courage, guidance, hope, determination and love. Our voices help to shape them as human beings, parents, spouses and members of their community.

How can you use your voice today to do the very best for your child?  What were the very first moments of motherhood like for you?

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