In 2008, with a tornado nearly touching the ground in the area around our town, my first child made his presence known in the world. After a long and grueling labor, my midwife instructed my husband as he caught our first-born and then proceeded to warm him with kangaroo care as he brought our boy to me. It was both an awe-inspiring and terrifying moment. Having spent 23 hours in labor and 1 hour pushing, it was exhilarating to be finished with the most physically demanding event of my life, but also frightening because my son was crying and screaming his little head off. I looked at my husband in terror and fear as I realized – no one told me this might happen. Three minutes in and he already can’t stand me?
I’ve always been concerned about motherhood. In fact, it wasn’t until after my 20th birthday that I even considered parenthood might be an avenue of interest to me. Up until that point, I was determined to never have children. I didn’t want to bring kids into a world with pain, grief, loss, and sadness. When my biological clock started ticking, it started ticking very loudly. By the time I had met my husband, I was ready to start having babies. In fact, I dreamed of a huge family. My earlier worries had dissipated. But I still worried about being a mother. What are the characteristics of a good mother?
In 2011, we had the joy of bringing our second son into the world in the local birth center. It was so peaceful and homey in the birth center, such an aura of calm and joy that we loved. On the way home from having lunch with my husband at his work, the contractions started. They picked up and we were sure that at our regularly scheduled appointment with our midwife she would notice some progression. At our appointment we still weren’t in the THERE part of labor that requires one to be at the birth center, so we went home and continued to wait. 26 very long and very painful hours later, I could feel that it was time to meet our youngest child. Our midwife delivered him – actually, there were two midwives present at the time, I think. He came out with his bag of water completely in tact, which helps make his birth story as interesting as his brothers. (Isn’t every birth story interesting, though?) He didn’t cry as much as his brother, but he was such a goofy looking baby and I was so much more calm the second time around.
I still worry about parenting and being a mom. I’m overprotective and I know it. I worry about what will happen when my children are out of my sight. I worry that I will be a terrible mother. I worry that I’m going to not figure out the right way to handle parenting or that I don’t spend enough time with the boys or that I spend too much time with them. Do I feed them right? Do I discipline them well? Are they going to be strong, kind, confident boys? Will they be creative, smart, free to be themselves?
On this Mother’s Day, I think about all the mothers in my life. My paternal grandmother is one of the most amazing people who I have ever met. I wish I could write all the stories she has told me over my lifetime so that I can learn from them even after she is gone. Mothers can make such a difference in our lives – both positive and negative. There is much power in that station. I hope that I will be a positive influence for my boys. They mean the world to me.
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