I wish I could say that motherhood began for me the moment we made a conscious decision to start planning to try and get pregnant. I wish I could write that motherhood began that first day that I stopped taking my birth control pills, or when I went to the store to buy prenatal vitamins, or when I decided that not even a social sip of wine would pass my lips from that point forward. I truly wish that motherhood began for me during the month that I took the time to prepare my mind and body for embarking on this exciting adventure to conceive.
I wish I could brag that motherhood began for me when I was crushed to see the blood that meant we hadn’t conceived during the first month. Or when I knew I was pregnant the second month but tested too early and got a negative result. Or especially when I tested a week later, at 5:50pm on Tuesday, June 30, 2009, and told my husband “We’re going to have a baby!” If you asked me at that moment, I would have vehemently argued that I had entered the realm of motherhood.
When I was diagnosed with placenta previa (which persisted during my entire pregnancy and sent me to the hospital 4 times with bleeding), I thought for sure that I was within the realm of motherhood. Every single time I saw my precious babe on the ultrasound machine or heard his heartbeat, I there was no question in my mind that I was experiencing the pride of motherhood. During each daydream when I felt him kicking and squirming inside me and I envisioned my first moments with him, I was convinced I was a part of that special club.
But then the day came. My beautiful, healthy, 8lb 5oz son was delivered at 09:58 on Monday, March 1st, 2010 after a very traumatic scheduled c-section, during which time I lost a lot of blood. I didn’t get to witness his birth. I was in recovery for 3.5 hours. And when I was finally brought up to the floor, I felt about as connected to this child as I did to the IV in my hand – out of necessity, but not out of love.
Once upon a time, I truly believed that the incredible bond between a mother and child began at the moment of conception, and perhaps even before that. I quickly learned that is not the case for many of us. For various reasons, we don’t always bond with our new child in the idyllic way that we imagined we would, or that we imagined we already had. For me, motherhood began on the morning of third day of his life. I clearly remember holding my little guy in my arms. He was wearing nothing but his diaper, and the tears streamed down my face and trickled onto his bare chest as I kissed his fingers, his toes, and his nose. He was perfect, he was healthy, he was here, and he was mine. At THAT moment, “motherhood” began for me. Scientifically, I was a mother-to-be when we conceived, and I was a mother when my son was delivered, but the incredible journey of motherhood, and all the beauty and bittersweet pain that goes with it, began for me at the moment my son and I finally bonded.
I hope that my story helps another mom. We need to hear these stories. We need to know that pregnancy, birth, and those precious first moments don’t always go as planned, and that we don’t always feel that immediate connection with our children. There is no shame in that. Give yourselves time: time to bond and, after the fact, time to heal.
Nummies, thank you for the chance to share my story. Peace.
(Here is the link to my entry: http://www.nummies.com/blog/2011/04/when-does-motherhood-begin-a-mothers-day-contest/#comment-183268497)