Today’s post comes from my friend Sara, a mother to a 7-month old boy who has the best smile I’ve ever seen. She’s the friend that can always make me laugh, offers a shoulder to cry on, and gave me mommy support throughout my pregnancy and early weeks of motherhood. I adore her.
This must be what all the fuss is about
I was never one of those people who dreamed about being pregnant or having a baby. Sure, I knew that some day I wanted children, but that desire was always sort of abstract in my mind. When I found out I was pregnant I was excited but to be totally honest I was scared. While my teenage peers honed their mothering skills babysitting for pudgy toddlers, I worked on my tan as a lifeguard. I always bought my nieces and nephews gifts that I later discovered were choking hazards and I am one of those people who can not correlate a child’s age with their grade level so I perpetually have my 5 yr old niece in first grade and my 10 yr old nephew in second. I don’t think this makes me a bad person, but I worried it might make me a bad mother.
This fear did not improve with pregnancy. I took a prenatal yoga class but mostly because it gave me a chance to nap during silent mediation. My husband and I went to the birthing classes but ended up being that couple in the back that giggles to themselves and stops paying attention when the instructor talks about things that do not interest them. Like anyone else who has had children, my birth story is at the very same time, totally unique and just like any other that you hear. It was hard, it was unexpected and it was exhausting. When I finally saw my son for the first time, I let society down and did not cry. I smiled at him and introduced myself, “Hi” I said, “I’m you mama”. He cried enough for both of us.
When they finally put my insides back together (4.5 hours a pushing followed by an emergency c-section that I was totally unprepared for). They brought me back to my room and put my son on my chest so I could nurse him. I took his little body in my arms and held him close. I smelled his new born smell and breathed in his little breath. “This must be what all the fuss is about” I thought to myself. I was in love.
Weeks later I was talking to a girl friend of mine. “You don’t really love him more than your husband?” she asked. I did not hesitate for a moment. “I do”, I replied. “I love him more than the sun and the moon; I love him more than myself. He is my everything.” Twelve short weeks later I returned to work. I cried and cried. “Help me understand” a good friend said to me. “It’s like the first time a boy broke your heart” I replied, “You know in your head that someday you will stop hurting, but in the moment, breathing in and out brings tears to your eyes.”
Months have gone by and with each passing day I love him more and more. Every time he laughs it is as if I am hearing sound for the first time, a symphony of joy. I have been able to transition to a part time position at work and each day that we are together I feel blessed to be the one to put him to bed and the one he reaches his arms out to in the morning. I am grateful for every bath, every story and every tear.
Has becoming a mother changed me? I once heard a story about a famous violin player who trained himself to fight human instinct and pull his arms behind him if he fell forward. His face would take the brunt of the fall but his hands, his livelihood, would be protected. This morning while holding my son in my arms, I fell down a flight of stairs. In the instant it took my body to recognize what was happening I became that violin player. My left arm pulled my son in closer to my chest and right arm came across his body, my hand protecting his head. We tumbled together. I took the brunt of the fall. When we reached the bottom my husband came running over. “How is he?” I franticly asked, fighting back tears. “He is not even crying” my husband replied as he took him from my arms. “How are you?” he asked concerned. We assessed the damage.
How am I? I’m bumped, I’m bruised, I’m sore. I may not sit for a week. How is my son? He is fine. He is perfect. He is my everything.