The Mom in Me
This post originally appeared on our old blog, Born to be a Bride.
Before I become a mommy, there are a lot of questions that need answering. What kind will I be? Sure, I want to be a good one, but there are so many options. So many questions. So many people I respect as mommies, who do it all totally different than I plan to. And then of course, there’s the whole problem with the word “plan.” Because from what I hear, a lot of those fly right out the window when you’re actually looking your little one in the eye and trying to figure it all out.
What can I resolve to say and do and be that I can’t, won’t, go back on? What can I possibly know now? In many ways, I am already a mom. I’ve been a mom since I peed on the stick and that was the very first day, of every single one for the next nine-plus months, that I would worry about her. Was I eating the right things to help her grow? Were my health issues causing problems for her? Did that ice-cold glass of water I just drank upset or torment her spirit? Once she started moving, it all got more reassuring — and more terrifying. There was one day of 93-degree heat when I felt like a bad mommy.
I took a long walk outside after a grueling yoga class. I didn’t eat enough. I didn’t drink enough. My little stopped moving for several hours. Hearing her heartbeat on the monitor at the emergency room was reassuring, but there weren’t any words for the guilt I felt at having been irresponsible with my own body, and thus hers. When the doctor told us she’d probably just flipped breech for a few hours and it wasn’t my fault, it didn’t help. I know now that I will spend every day of this girl’s life on the outside convinced that it is my fault — all of it is, and I’m okay with that. But it sure does sound exhausting.
What can I tell this little girl, moments or maybe a couple of weeks before she steps on the scene and completely takes over my heart? "I love you" isn’t really enough, but it’s the only thing I know for sure to be true. I will feed and bathe her, create a happy and functional home for her, and love her father deeply and fiercely. I will show her through my actions, not only my words, that I believe in her — from her ability to roll over at a reasonable age to her desire to chart her own path, make a record, score a goal, fall in love, whatever it is. I will cultivate a space in which she feels comfortable being herself. I will honor her right to pick her friends, even if I don’t always like them. I’ll try to remember what it was like to be three, and then seven, and eleven, and fifteen, and twenty, and beyond. I’ll dig deep to be the mom that she deserves.
And I’ll mess up terribly. I’ll scold her for spilling a glass of milk when she’s four and I’ll forget to pack her soccer jersey in her backpack when she’s eight. I’ll lose my cool when she gets her first bad grade and I’ll forget for a moment how ashamed I felt when I got mine (AP Calculus. Still gives me the chills). I’ll buy her the wrong hair ties, because no matter how great a mom you are, you’re apt to always buy the wrong hair ties. I’ll keep her home from the party she truly believes will make her high school social status, only to find out that there would have been no real harm in her attending.
It will all be my fault, and I am okay with that. The only thing I want her to know, need her to know, from her very first breath throughout every single milestone and meltdown we have along the way, is that I love her. I loved her since I saw two lines on the stick. She’s been exclusively mine for 38 weeks — her kicks and hiccups are mine. Her first somersault was mine. She’s mine at night when she’s got a foot in my ribs and I can’t sleep. I’m ready to let her out, to see her face, to share her with the whole world, especially her deserving father.
I just hope she knows that no matter what kind of mom I turn out to be, and no matter how many times I screw it all up, I’ll always have her back. And I’ll always, always love her.