This time last year I was anxiously counting down the days until the due date of my first child. It was a miserable time for me because I was afflicted by nearly every symptom described in the What to Expect When You Are Expecting guide book. I felt like a balloon with legs and every movement hurt. It was a journey to get into bed at night and out of it in the morning. Being comfortable was a distant memory of the past.
To make matters worse, my emotions were in an upheaval because I didn’t feel bonded to my unborn child like I thought I should be. I had read numerous testimonies of expectant mothers immediately adoring their internal residents, recognizing personality traits from movement patterns, and conversing with them throughout the day. I experienced little of that; I tried. I wrote letters to my son, enjoyed feeling his occasional movements, and imagined what it would be like to hold him, care for him, and watch him grow. But my heart wasn’t overflowing with mush and gush. Honestly, there were many nights when I was in tears because of all of the negative changes happening to my body. There were times when I resented all that he was putting me through – and then hated myself for feeling that. I was certain that I signed my own WORST MOM IN THE WORLD certificate by having those thoughts of resentment.
For about three weeks I trudged up and down the hill by our house – about two miles round-trip every evening, desperately hoping that I wouldn’t have to be induced. My due date came and the doctor said she was sending me in the next day to begin a three-day induction. I remember my husband calling his mom to let her know the news, and she asked me if I was excited. “No,” I blurted. “I am not looking forward to the next three days and what I have to go through.” My concerns were beyond validated. It was an excruciating three days and I still did not feel connected to my child. All I could think about was getting through the agony of labor and delivery. In fact, there were times when I just wanted to say, “That’s OK. I am going to go home now and just hold on to him for another 18 years or so. No worries.”
And then he was in my arms. All of a sudden my world was holding me and I was holding our world – the three of us: my amazing warrior husband and the tiny being who is a combination of both of us. Ever since that birth day I have grown in love for this brand new individual. I struggled with post-partum depression and frequently doubted myself throughout the first months, but as the hormones settled down and my mind cleared, those doubts gradually dissipated into nonexistence. I am absolutely crazy about my little boy. He fills my heart and our home with laughter, silliness, excitement, routine, baby babbles, and countless memories. Now that he can crawl, he either follows me around the house as I complete my tasks or disappears into various play corners that I set up for him and entertains himself. Our personalities are a perfect fit; he is so comfortable to have around and I never weary of being his mom.
When I think back on my bloated, aching, sleep-deprived body of a year ago, I can certainly empathize with those moms who are dealing with unexpected pregnancies and are battling the regret, dismay, and despair that goes with such events. Pregnancy is not something one wants to rush into. It is the beginning of a lifetime commitment. But when I reflect on the outcome of such an ordeal – an amazing new person who has trusted me implicitly from the moment his heart started beating – I would never think twice about sacrificing my comfort for his existence. The sacrifice continues day in and day out and will do so for the rest of my life, but isn’t voluntary sacrifice what makes the world a better place for us all?