Sunday, May 12, 2013

I'm a Real Mom!

The only constant in my life has been my desire to be a mom.  It's the only thing I've always known I'd be good at. Career ideas have come and gone, but the motherhood itch has been there almost as long as I can remember.

The past few Mother's Days have been kind of difficult for me, because for several years, we were in the thick of a fertility struggle.  Mother's Day would come and I would have to remind myself to concentrate on celebrating my own mom (who is AWESOME) as opposed to dwelling on my inability to start a family of my own.

Now that I am a Real Mom, Mother's Day is surprisingly anti-climactic.  And I've been wondering why that is.  I'm starting to think maybe it's because I felt like a mom for long before Isabella came along.  I'm not sure when it started.

It could've started when I first held my first baby sister, Jessie, the summer between my 2nd and 3rd grade year.  That is definitely when I first understood that I wanted to be a mom some day.

But I think more likely, the day I really became a mom was the day Madelyn was born.  She's not my own kid, but I truly had never before felt love like that, and she completely changed my perspective on my entire life, just like any kid of my own would have done.  I also knew I'd probably be caring for her temporarily, so my body responded in flooding me with all sorts of Mommy feelings.

Some people say that fathers become fathers when they first see their baby born, but mothers become mothers the minute they conceive.  In that case, I became a mother in December 2010, after our first and only successful round of IVF.

I know for sure that a notch on my ladder to motherhood is taken up by going through a miscarriage at 12 weeks in a hospital bed.

It seems I would mark my "becoming a mom" as the day I found out that I'd be Isabella's mom, which was two days before Mother's Day last year.  But we hadn't even met her yet, and nothing was definite, and I was busy researching Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, as the social workers said there was a chance she had that.

Maybe the day I met her was the day I became a mom, but we didn't get to bring her home for another month after that.

Maybe the day we brought her home, June 15, 2012 was the day I became a mom?

Or the day we adopted her?  December 17, 2012?

Whenever it was that I became a mom, what strikes me about this Mother's Day, my first Mother's Day where the world finally recognizes me as a mom, is not necessarily what I feel... it's more what I find myself not feeling.  I don't feel hopeless, depressed, jealous, angry, bitter, or disappointed.  I feel the same way I feel every day - lucky, loved, and happy - and at moments, tired, weepy, and annoyed - and I think this is exactly how being a mom is supposed to feel.


Anonymous said...

Katie, Mother's Day is every day when you have a child. The love is always there...always!!! I am so glad you got to experience what being a MOM is. I talk to your dad every once in a while and he is so proud of you and over the top at being a grandpa. Love to all from your cousin Nancy.

Ani T. said...

Thank you Katie for this wonderful and incredibly personal essay. I have to say I got a little emotional reading it. It is impossible to ignore such honesty. If you don't mind I am going to share this link in my blog post of Isabella's portraits to tell a little more of her story. Thank you again for this posts. Wishing your beautiful family all the best there is!