Monday, September 24, 2007
On being a mom
It was several days after Owen was born, when we were still at Tacoma General, that I realized that I was a mother. The ambulance, the seizures, the emergency transfer from Harrison Hospital to Tacoma General, the NICU, the tests... these were the unexpected fragments of my experience that I was attempting to process each hour and each day. And then I was walking down the hallway at TG one day and said to myself, "I am a mom!"
So, what has it been like, so far, to be a mom? There are the challenges, for sure. A friend told me a few weeks ago that the first thing she realized as a new parent was that she had to let go of all of the expectations that she had - of her child, of the experience of parenting, of the process. I feel like this piece of advice is especially true for us, but I'm comforted by the fact that it is a normal part of parenting any child. It is also challenging to so desperately want to help your child make sense of this crazy world, but finding that sometimes, all you can do is provide them with a sense of trust, confidence and unconditional love and then allow them to decipher their experience in their own way. But that is the beauty also, that we each possess our own mysteries, our own sense of what the world means to us and that is what makes each of us who we are. These are the building blocks of our "selves." This process happens time and time again, as each child is conceived and born, and the outcome is different every time.
Motherhood means so many things... I get to kiss the soles of Owen's feet several times a day. They smell heavenly - a little sweet, like warm bread, and totally of baby. They are so soft and his toes curl in each time as he senses my skin touching his. When he is sleeping, I am provided with a quiet opportunity to carefully examine his features, reminded that he is a part of both Kelsey and I and a culmination of our love for each other. He has Kelsey's eyes, my chin... . When he is upset, my voice and touch provide a safe haven for him. They comfort him and remind both of us of the connection that we've shared for almost a year now.
I've realized that becoming a mother does not happen in a moment's time. It is a journey. Each of us will learn, change, grow. That I am able to have this experience is such a gift.