I meant to do this a long time ago. You see, when my husband and I decided to have a baby, I had no idea what kind of world I was walking into. A world that on the inside of my home feels warm and wonderful, better than any sun-washed lounger on the beach, more satisfying than any satisfaction I’ve ever had. Outside of our home, this new world is scary, guilt-ridden, intense, and exhausting. It’s like constantly trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, hoping and praying that some day it will just click.
To explain, I need to back up a little. Back up to the very beginning, even. I was adopted at the age of 3 months by two people that deserved to be parents but couldn’t make it happen the “natural” way. They became parents by the grace of God and a birthmother that could, and did, just too early in life. I had a great only-child-childhood, and despite being labeled by society as supposedly spoiled and lonely, I escaped relatively unaffected. Stereotypes aside, I grew up independent and happy, intelligent and laid-back. I’ve got my faults, like any others, judging by the fact that I’m told I’m “feisty” by those that love me (or just have to work with me), and “stubborn” by the one man that loves me most and knows me best.
Because of this, I never had the attachment to being pregnant that my friends did. To me, giving birth didn’t automatically make you a mother. Being a mother was something you earned. Being a mother was teaching me to read, making French toast (with extra sugar on it), and putting soap in my mouth when I said the “mother of all curse words” at the bank when the gumball machine was empty. Being a mother meant sleeping on the couch until I made it home at curfew, watching swim meets and softball games (even ones in different states), and reminding me to take an umbrella because there’s rain in the forecast…even when I’m 28.
So why, then, when I was fortunate enough to become pregnant, did society pressure me to feel instant love for the tiny baby apple seed growing inside me? I mean after all, I hadn’t really done anything for him or her yet, other than eat pasta with parmesan cheese and lemonade for the first 8 weeks. To be honest, my husband and I called the baby Delroy before we knew the gender, at least when I wasn’t joking about him or her being a parasite…what kind of parents that love their child do that? I had a hard time pretending that I liked being pregnant and was met with many dropped jaws and eye rolls when I said I just wasn’t that in love yet, and pregnancy was creepy. Should I have lied? After all, we were being blessed with a gift that many people try for a long time for, some unsuccessfully. I had my own idea of motherhood, and because it didn’t match everyone elses, was it wrong? Was it wrong that I dragged my feet through all 40 weeks and 3 days of pregnancy instead of dancing? That I didn’t even envision him to look like me, because no one in my life does? That really, I wanted him to just get here already so I could get on with becoming a mother to him? Would everyone feel differently if they knew my story?
That’s why I’m here. Because I know that somewhere out there, there’s someone else like me. There’s someone that feels pressured to conform to society’s idea of motherhood because it’s the right thing to do, or because it’s easier. It started with pregnancy and it hasn’t ended. My little baby apple seed is now the size of a small dog and starting to roll over, and I swear all I did was blink. Yet somehow, many of the things that resonate with me from these first few months are the digs taken at new mothers, sometimes before their little loves are born, but even after. So if you don’t agree with what I write, that’s okay, because I’m not trying to change your mind. I know that your own journey is just as important and beautiful as mine.
To my sweet baby Delroy, your mama IS feisty, and a little stubborn, but she isn’t afraid to cut through the bullshit to make sure that she does the absolute best she can do for you…..the best she knows how. Because now that we’ve met, I love you a whole lot. So much it makes my heart feel like it might explode.
But don’t you dare say bullshit, or you’ll get the soap.