Monday, July 31, 2017

Becoming a Mom

Tomorrow, is Henley's 2nd birthday. It is amazing how much love, patience, and hope I have for one individual. When I became pregnant, I kept a journal of my every thought and continued until she turned one. That was when she started walking and my free moments became crafting, chasing, and "cooking". 

In the chaos, I haven’t written down that she loves to sing and dance. Right now she has a medley that consists of “Let it go” with twirling and wide-sweeping arm motions, “BODY” with purposeful marching, and ending with “Ooh Ooh Ooh Ee Ah”. In case you don’t speak Hen, that’s Frozen, Trolls, and Zootopia smushed together.

I haven’t written down that she obsesses over her plastic farm animals. We have Neigh, Moo, and Baa, they’re the favorites. She needs to have at least one at all times and must kiss all of them goodnight before tucking them into their farm. She likes to leave one outside of my office and will scream “Bye, Neigh” as we walk to daycare. Yesterday, I found Neigh with a pipe cleaner and bead bracelet around his neck. Which brings me to…

I haven’t written down how crafty my daughter is. She is artistic and free-spirited. She colors and paints with abandon (poor Quinn). More than her knack for art, I love the freedom in her approach. She’s not worried about what is “art” or “beautiful”. She doesn’t subscribe to any norms, she truly and literally colors outside the lines. It reminds me to be a bit more easy-going in my own life and I hope to nurture this instinct in us.

As I reflect on everything she’s learned in the past year, in the past two years, I can’t help but reflect on my own journey as a mom. As a child, I thought of course I’ll be a mom. I even wrote in my journal what I’d be like. (No time-outs was on that list so I’m sure 8-year old me is cringing.) I grew older and motherhood moved from an assumption to a possibility. The idea felt scary and surreal. As I created my life, I decided I didn’t want to be a mom.

Folks had a variety of responses to that decision. I was so sure in it, I didn’t mind, but even so I went to counseling to work through the idea. On the surface, I shared my fears: the pregnancy, the labor + delivery, the sleepless nights, our finances, my career. (Looking back, there were so many things I didn’t even think to fear.) Hidden behind all of those reasons was the bigger fear: Would I be a good mom?

We all have our quirks but the one sticking out in my head was that I am relentlessly unforgiving to myself. What would it be like to grow up with someone like me as a mom? Someone that eschews “good enough”? What would it be like to grow up with someone who has to practice empathy?

In spite of my fear, my heart drew me to motherhood. The day I found out I was pregnant, my heart leapt, yet, my pesky mind pushed my fear to the surface. Would I be a good mom?

I mulled this question often even as I was in it. You forget that being pregnant is the first piece of motherhood. Choking down salads, vomiting between meetings, hiring someone to help me, delegating for the first time in my life, preparing a home, picking a name, there were all these little moments when I put another life before my own.

My empathy grew as well. At work, my interest in others evolved past “How’s it going?”. And my top priority became creating an inclusive environment for all. In life, I learned grace. A parking attendant yelled at me one day before I was showing and I cried at his insensitivity. On my way home, I realized he didn’t know my truth and I didn’t know his.

From our birth story to our breastfeeding journey, I became a mom. In time, I realized I was the best mom for Hen. It really is amazing how much love, patience, and hope you can have for one individual but more so how it brings forth those feelings for others even strangers.

Now, when I tell someone I feared that I wouldn’t be a good mom, it’s like I’ve just told them the Earth is flat. Somewhere along the way, Hen inspired me to work on the person inside of me and inspires me daily to give her patience, kindness, and a safe place to dream, learn, laugh, and love. In turn, her and I work to give those things back to the world.

I’m beyond honored to be her mom. Here’s to another year of growing together! 

1 comment :

  1. Read your story over on AMB today (I wrote over there a few years back) and cried for you. Reading that your pedi told you your baby was too hungry to cry broke my heart for you. I can't imagine how hard that was to process and hate that you had so much negative feedback. I am a bit of a nutso about my own breastfeeding journey but hope that it never comes across negatively to others who couldn't or chose not to breastfeed. Very awesome you were open to sharing your story - definitely gave me something to think about! And Happy Birthday to Henley!


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