Friday, May 6, 2016

What made me a mom? 

Giving birth to a baby girl at age 29 technically made me a mom right away but I think over time I became a mom.  I think every mom "becomes" differently.   Some may feel it the minute they get a positive pregnancy test, some may feel it the moment their baby is born and laid on their chest or put in their arms and others, like me, may take time, more time to "become" a mom.  I'll never in my entire life forget the moment Kendall was born.  The only words I heard around 2:14am early Monday morning were "you have a really small baby" and then the room went DEAD silent, everyone cleared out and went to the NICU, everyone but my OBGYN and me. Thinking about it to this day gives me the chills(and not the good chills).

I didn't get to hold her right away, the first diaper I changed of hers were with my hands through an incubator while I was shaking and sobbing, I didn't bond with her right away, I think mostly out of pure fear.   That fear that keeps you protected and safe in case something bad happens and trust me when I say most everyone thought and feared the worst.  When I finally held her she had an IV in her head and tubes, there were so many tubes, they were everywhere.  I didn't know what I was doing.  In fact, my OBGYN thought I was so in shock that he had to talk me into going to see her in the NICU.  Not every mother just becomes. 

I kept holding her, feeding her, changing her, and holding her some more feeling so unnatural and so NOT at ease.  I didn't feel like a mom.  I felt scared and in shock.  But I held her, fed her, changed her and held her some more.  Pictures were taken, I smiled but I was so sad and scared.  I never expected to have a child with special needs.  I didn't know how to be a mom let alone one to a child like Kendall.  I held her, fed her, changed her and held her some more.   Dan did the same, he was much better at it.  It came naturally to him.  On day 2 I had to leave the hospital while Kendall had to stay.  I went home with this feeling of just no longer being pregnant but I didn't feel like a mom.  I stayed at the hospital as much as I could when I was released, holding her, feeding her, changing her and holding her some more.  Each day a baby step forward and on day 6 she was allowed to come home.  I still didn't feel like a mom.  I felt like a Dr/Therapist in training and slowly became my own version of that with Kendall by my side but still not feeling like a mom and definitely not a good mom.  The first year, day in and day out, I held her, fed her, changed her, and held her some more while attending hundreds of Drs and therapy appointments.  With every feeding, every changing, every cuddle it slowly became more natural. 

My entire world had changed and very differently than that of my other friends with newborns.  Hold her, feed her, change her and hold her some more.   2 months in she smiled, 4 months in she sat up, 2.5 years in and she finally walked.  Many surgeries and therapies later over the years and then one day things shifted....I now knew I was a mom, a mom different than any other mom I knew but also a mom who was very similar to every other mom I knew.  I felt like a mom, I was confident in being a mom and I knew I would do anything in the world for Miss K.  It wasn't what I expected but overtime I became and Kendall forced me to become and changed me to the core.  I was still far from the perfect mom(there's no such thing as a perfect mom or person by the way) but I changed for the better because of her.  I felt confident in caring for her and giving her what she needed.  I stopped worrying about what her future life would look like and most importantly (and this happened really early on) I threw out all the parenting books and let my gut figure it out.  AND it has never proven me wrong with any of my kids to this day. 

I write this because with Mother's Day around the corner some may be ashamed to admit they didn't feel like they became a mom right when their baby was put in their arms but it doesn't mean you won't become a fantastic one in time, and as long as you become in your own time frame and that baby is loved, you are doing a fantastic job.  Don't ever forget it.  It's the hardest job on earth, being a parent, so give yourself some slack and know you are just doing the best you can.  Becoming a mom is different for everyone.  When you feel it, it's pretty darn amazing.

About Me

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Married mom of 3 not so little ones anymore but they still keep me grinning and giggling(most of the time). Kendall, age 12, Brady age 8 almost 9 and "baby" Chase who is 7. I have been married for 14.5 years to Dan Graff, who I think is the best dad ever to our kids. He certainly makes me grin and giggle to this very day. I have spent my non mom career working in recruiting on and off over the years recruiting Software Engineers. Other than my kids my most favorite thing to do in the entire word is ride horses followed by Kung Fu, where I earned my purple belt last year. I have been riding since I was 8 years old, with some time off here and there but I always go back to it. As Winston Churchill said, "There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man"(or woman in this case)!