As I approach this upcoming Mother's Day, I reflect over the years that have brought me to this point. I definitely pictured myself being an expert on the whole motherhood thing but alas, that is not the case! I've always known I was meant to be a mother. I think this is due to the fact that my mother was amazing. I never was embarrassed by her because I thought she was the coolest mom out of all my friends. She always stood up for me and my siblings and I knew I could talk to her about anything. She continues to be an inspiring force in my life and naturally I wanted to be just like her when I became a mother.
I became a step-mother first, which was a humbling experience. My Ashanti was 3 when I met her and the absolute sweetest child I had ever met. I fell in love with her and our love was always special to me because it was a choice. We chose every day to love each other and respect each other even when it wasn't easy.
After my husband and I were married, I just assumed we would be popping out a baby within a few months. That was not the case. We had some difficulty and it took months for our doctor to pinpoint what the issue was. Overall, it took us six months. that doesn't sound like a lot to many and is not a lot compared to significant fertility struggles but for me, it seemed like forever. I cried often and prayed all the time. I didn't understand why my body couldn't do what it needed to do. Finally, with the help of a drug called Clomid, we conceived our little boy, Leontes. I've never been so happy, thankful and scared all at once! After an easy pregnancy, I was rushed to the hospital 7 weeks early and ended up having an emergency C-Section. I remember when they told me that the baby was in distress and my husband stood there in shock. I felt this strange calming sense of determintation and I said "you do what you need to do to get him out safely". I had absolutely no fear for myself, just concern for my son.
They safely delivered my 4lb 5oz baby and he was beautiful! I was told he would have to stay in the hospital for awhile until he was able to eat on his own and gain some weight. I refused to leave him in there alone and so, I stayed by his side in the NICU for 2 weeks and 3 days. During this time, I went through a deep depression and frustration at not being able to take my baby home. I couldn't even hold him when I wanted. As my confidence grew as a mother, I embraced my protective instincts and I learned to advocate for my son. We formed a bond that will last forever and eventually we were finally able to go home.
What shocked me about motherhood was how exhausting it was! My son had trouble breastfeeding so I was always pumping and attempting to nurse. I was always tired but the intensity of my love gave me strength. I would just look at this tiny little body and be so thankful for him. Gradually life started to even out and we even discussed having another baby later in the year. One day, after two weeks of believing I had food poisoning and slandering a local restraunt's name throughout the community, I took a test on a whim and discovered I was pregnant! My son was only 4 months at the time and we knew it would be chaotic but we were so happy to be blessed with another baby. It was a miracle to find out that my body could produce a baby naturally and I remember dancing in front of my mirror singing "go me! go me!".
My second pregnancy was difficult. I was tired from chasing after my toddler, working and I was sick all the time. I worried so much about carrying this baby to term. Turns out, the actual birth was perfect. I was actually playing "Eye of the Tiger" as I was pushing!I was able to deliver my darling little Alyvia naturally, as I'd always dreamed. She breastfed like a champ and we were able to leave the hospital in 3 days. She hasn't stopped eating since! She looked just like me and when they set her on my chest,she stopped crying and just looked at me like she knew I was her mother. I loved her from the moment I saw her.
Then life got crazy and it has been that way ever since! I feel like I'm always running and making stuff up as I go along. Motherhood is like a test with a million multiple choice answers. Should I vaccinate? In home or daycare center? Are sports going to affect school performance? Am I giving each kid enough time? The chaos is never ending but I love it because all of my children bring me so much joy! Ashanti is sweet as pie, Leontes is sensitive and a natural leader and Alyvia is our strong, sassy little firecracker! I love seeing their faces as they learn something new, especially if it is something my husband or I taught them! I (secretly) love the worn out feeling after a full day of playing, when they are bathed, fed and in bed. I love when they tell me they love me or sing me songs. It makes it all worth it to me.
I never forget how much I wanted them. Even on those trying days (and there are many!). Recently, my husband and I took them to the Mall of America and it was a fun but exhausting day. We walked by Best Buy and I vividly remembered a few years back when my husband and I were at the exact same spot. We were in the middle of our fertility struggles and I saw the most beautiful little toddler girl walking with her mom and something in me broke that day. I literally started crying in Best Buy and my husband had to gently walk me out of the store. Now, here I stood with my babies and my fabulous husband and I just soaked in the moment and how blessed I was. I didn't start crying again though because I didn't want to be banned from Best Buy...
Motherhood is like that I guess. You go through so many emotions in one day and question yourself a million times. You find out just how much you can love and sacrifice for another human being. You find a strength and fire within you that you never knew you had. I never truly understood my mother as a woman until I became a mother myself. It was all worth the journey.