Since I can remember, I have wanted to be a mother.
To have my own babies, and have a laundry basketful of little bitty socks and soft, cotton onesies to fold.
When I was five years old, I confessed to my grandmother, “Abuela, I can’t wait to have my own children.” Her response to me was, “God waits to send the perfect children just for you.” I smiled at the thought of what precious baby God would choose for me. I imagined having a little girl, full of curls and large, dark eyes, all legs kicking and joyful giggling.
I knew I would be a perfect mother, for that perfect baby. I would be the best mother there ever was. I would be loving, patient, full of kisses and good nature and never without a smile on my face and laughter in my voice. I would be a dream mom.
As time went on, my baby fever never wained. And the longer life had me wait for that perfect baby, the more precise the vision of what type of mother I would be, became. With every year that my biological clock ticked on, the more mature and wisened I imagined myself in the role of a lifetime: that of a mother.
I was growing impatient, and frankly, scared, when I was approaching 35 years old, and still without that one baby. That baby that my life felt empty without. That baby that would bring me all the happiness I felt I was missing. That baby that would make my life perfect. I knew that when that baby came, the heavens would open and a chorus of angels would sing, and I would be happy, fulfilled, and never experience any sort of sadness or negative feeling for the rest of my life.
Just five months short of my 36th birthday, I finally had that golden, much awaited, baby. The one that would bring me all the joy I knew would come with finally being a mother. All I had dreamed of was finally, here, in my arms.
What wasn’t part of my life’s dream, however, was the shock of the feelings I was having after the birth of this baby.
I was scared. I was in pain. I was confused and panicked. I was oh so very tired. And I had a baby that wasn’t crying, but screaming and inconsolable, painfully latching on to engorged breasts.
I burst into tears. This was the moment I had been waiting for my entire life? This?
What was wrong with me? I should be up and dancing and calling people on the phone, joyfully. Not laying here, in this hospital bed, hooked up to an I.V., with tears streaming down my face, holding a baby that I knew could read my mind that said, “I’m too scared to be your mama.”
I kept all these feelings to myself, I was so full of shame. I never heard of anyone crying with unhappiness when their baby was born. And especially me. Everyone in my life knew that all I ever wanted, was to have my own baby.
Fortunately, my Dr. was astute enough to know this was not a case of baby blues lite. She had me in her office by Day 5 of my beautiful boy being born.
She sent me to a Post Partum Depression specialist. My wonderful Dr. would call me at home, to see how I was doing. She located a PPD support group for me. She even called my husband and told him how important it was that he be home with me.
Was this the way I imagined the birth of my life long awaited first baby to be? No. It so sadly wasn’t.
This first baby is now 16 years old. But, the memory of his birth is a vivid, visceral one.
I have worked hard, through therapy, to forgive myself for not welcoming his coming into the world with joy. I have had to forgive myself.
The Truthful Mommyism that I’ve had to learn, is that I’m not perfect, but that does not make me any less of the perfect mother for my children. I am who I am, battle scars and all, and I’ve learned that facing and working through the challenges that life has sent my way, has made me see myself as a strong, brave, determined woman. When my first child was born, not only did I have a newborn to take care of, but I did it with PPD, temporarily broken dreams, and, at the time, disappointment in myself.
I did it, I survived, and I am proud to say, that I am proud of myself.