BurlingtonVT Moms Blog is partnering with Vermont Midwives Association to bring you our latest series titled “How I Became a Mother” in honor of Mother’s Day. Each of us has a unique journey on how we got here…here being in this crazy thing called motherhood. Some of us have grown our families through adoption, some through donor sperm. Some of us have struggled with infertility while others of us have needed to rely on faith and science. Bringing a child into this world is no less than miraculous regardless of how it’s done. These next two weeks we want to share with you the stories of how we became mothers, to let you know that no two families are born the same. Join us on this journey as we celebrate Moms!
The Things That Change
Sitting on a small indoor porta-potty at my husband’s family lake house, hands shaking, the first pregnancy test I’d ever taken betrayed me with the bold word “pregnant”. No way around it, no faint lines, no guess work. We were spending the summer at my in-laws lake house in NH, just three months married, just left Wisconsin with dreams of moving to the west coast. No jobs, no place to live, no prospects, just two kids in love.
I felt faint, I felt nauseous, I think all of the blood in my body drained to my feet as I stumbled across the small house, wide wooden plank floor, faded carpets from 30 years of sandy summer toes and damp wet bathing suits, to my husband who was washing dishes, and thrust the test at him. He laughed. I cried.
“But I thought we couldn’t get pregnant” I’d despaired, based on tests and predictions and medical records. Accepting the baby who was now sharing my body took time, processing, journaling, the blooming of a sweet round belly. He was born on the coldest weekend of the year in January, all spunk and determination in a dim, calm, quiet room. A mother was born that cold Friday night, a girl cracked straight down the middle so that a fierceness, a boldness, an overpowering love, a passion, an awareness could emerge. The person who entered the hospital that night never left, she was replaced by a new woman, a mother, a person flooded with unconditional love and someone else’s blood.
Now two boys have shared my body, breathed from my lungs, heard the rhythmic beating of my heart.
You can’t be prepared for the transformational nature of becoming a mother.
It’s nothing at all like I expected – the way I carry my children around in my heart (the way my own mother carries me around, tucked away in her heart), or the nights I crawl into bed in the wee hours to wrap my arms around a trembling, sweaty, scared three year old. Having other people’s body fluids on me. Daily. Sacrificing of myself – my wants, my needs – for the greater good of my family. Worrying about my children’s future – will the world be fair? Will kids be cruel? How much heartache will they endure, how many bones will they break, how disillusioned will they become? Feeling the pain that they have yet to feel. Putting to bed my expectations that I’d be teaching my children everything and accepting that they are the ones teaching me. Becoming a mom is a perpetual practice with no arrival. A rhythm of drying tears, dirty clothes, brushing hair, little sleep, lots of love.
Every day I’m humbled by the way my children accept me, faults and all, for who I am as the mom that they love. Every day has me in awe of the way motherhood continues to change me. Every day I look forward to the sweet kisses and brilliant thoughts that arise from my three year old, and the way that my baby crawls into my lap, throws his arms around me, and flashes that adoring, mountain-moving, earth-shaking look that babies reserve only for their mamas.