My eyes were squeezed shut as I concentrated with every fiber of my being. A nurse stood on my left cheering me on, Michael on my right counting me through the pushes, my doctor at the foot of the bed yelling “go, go, go!”. Pain unlike anything I’d ever experienced shot through me and it took all my strength to push. One last big push and then I heard my son’s very first cry. I was a mother.
I was so focused from the delivery that I still had my eyes tightly closed and it took a few seconds for me to remember to open them and look at my baby. He was squalling but the second they laid him on my chest he stopped crying. He knew his mommy; he knew my voice and my heartbeat from living inside me for nine months and so he laid there calmly. He was all bloody and goopy and I didn’t care one bit. He was my baby. The agonizing pain I had endured to get him there, while not at all forgotten, didn’t matter anymore. It was so worth it.
The love I felt in that moment was absolutely unlike anything else I’d ever experienced. My world shifted on its axis. I was now responsible for this tiny, helpless human. I felt a protectiveness that I’d never felt before. I know with certainty that I would die for Hudson if I needed to. There is no question in my mind. Every protective, loving instinct that I didn’t know I possessed surfaced as my 6 pound, 14 ounce baby entered this world.
It was wonderful. And it was terrifying.
I’ve known my whole life that I wanted to be a mother. This year will be my first Mother’s Day and as that approaches I’ve been thinking about how much that means to me.
Although I’ve always wanted to have children I really had no idea what it would be like. I have been around kids my whole life – babysitting and teaching and working in a daycare. But nothing, nothing, prepared me for what it would be like to have my own.
I’m not talking about the diapers and the feedings and the exhaustion. I wasn’t prepared for that either but I knew it was coming. The emotional side of it all is what has been so crazy and overwhelming and wonderful. I have a love for Hudson bigger than I’ve ever loved before. But with a huge amount of love also can come a huge amount of pain.
My mom said that when you have a child, or children, you are letting a piece of your heart exist outside your body. She is so right. Anything that hurts him hurts me, and the thought of something happening to him makes me physically ache.
Things are so different now. I feel everything so much more than I did before. Not that I was callous and uncaring before, but now I see things from the perspective of a mother. I hear of stories of sacrifices that parents make for their children and rather than think “oh that’s nice”, I cry because I know I would do the same for Hudson in an instant. I’ve felt that love. A parent’s love. When I hear of parents who have lost their children I cry and hold Hudson tighter because I can’t imagine life without him. I’m so thankful for his presence. When I hear of parents who have abandoned their children I get angry because I cannot fathom walking away from my baby.
This job is super hard, but it’s what I was meant to do and it’s what I love. Sometimes I get so frustrated when Hudson is crying and I have to just set him down and walk away so I can gain some perspective and remind myself that he is just a little baby who can’t express why he is upset. Sometimes by the end of the day I need Michael to give me a break so badly because I’m feeling overwhelmed. And yet, I love it. I would never, ever go back to the way things were without Hudson.
I have so much appreciation for my own mom now. I regret the things I have said to her as a teenager that were ugly because now I can imagine her pain. I know that if (or rather, when) Hudson does the same to me it will crush me. After Hudson was born Mom did so much for us. It was wonderful having her stay with us but I also felt guilty that she was cleaning and cooking and doing errands and sitting up in the middle of the night so that we could sleep. But I’ve come to realize that I’m her baby. She feels for me like I feel for Hudson so of course she will do those things for me. I may be 27 but I have no doubt that she loves me the way I love Hudson and that is incredible. I think of all the sacrifices she made for me that I never appreciated before now. I know understand that seeing me in pain hurt her, because seeing Hudson in pain hurts me. And I know that she has sent hundreds and thousands of prayers up on my behalf the way I have for Hudson.
I also have so much more appreciation for my mother-in-law. I know that there will come a day when I no longer be the number one woman in Hudson’s life. I hope that I will be able to be as supportive and accepting as my mother-in-law has been. She has always made me feel like part of the family and I’m sure that it makes her happy to see Michael happy, but I know it has to have been hard to let him go. I pray that I will be able to do the same with Hudson. I pray that I will raise him to be as good a husband as his daddy is to me.
Michael and I have both said several times in the past few months that we had no idea how much our parents loved us until we had a child of our own. And sometimes while I’m cuddling with Hudson I whisper to him that I know that he will never understand the depth of my love for him until he has children of his own.
Becoming a parent has changed my views of God, too. He loves me even more than I love Hudson. He loves me so much that He sacrificed His own son for me. I cannot imagine sacrificing Hudson for anyone or anything. I can’t fathom the love that God feels for me, and all of His children, that he would be willing to do so. I can’t fathom it, but I can appreciate it.
Needless to say, being mommy has changed me, hopefully for the better.
So happy mother’s day to all the moms out there. You make a difference.