Sunday, May 14, 2017

After the Pink: A Mother's Day Remembrance #MothersDay2017 #MothersDay #HappyMothersDay

I wrote this essay for a contest and would like to dedicate it to all of the Moms out there. Each one of us has our own unique journeys to share. Here is the beginning of mine. Happy Mother's Day!

After being married for half a decade, my husband and I decided to make our duo a trio. I figured something as monumental as getting pregnant wouldn’t happen easily. Within months my stomach turned queasy. I became more emotional. Something had changed. I purchased a pregnancy test. Ten minutes later, I checked the stick. A pink line greeted me.

Whoa. There was a little being growing inside me? I ran the gamut of emotions.

Happiness. A baby?!

Shock. OMG, what now?

Panic. When do I see the doctor?

Despair. Am I mother material?

Regret. No wine for how many months?

Worryworryworryworry. Grouped together with doubt and unknown fears, worry became the worst. One question remained: what happens after the pink?

The list of concerns grew. Health. Money. Space. Time. The weight of responsibilities became overbearing. When I told my husband, he smiled. His calm was the opposite to everything I became: a walking, breathing sponge of “motherhood.”

I subscribed to every baby and parenting magazine.

Sat through hours of birthing shows.

Listened to ‘helpful’ hints from family, friends, coworkers, and the occasional passersby.

I took lists of questions on my OB-GYN appointments. I interviewed pediatricians.

I did whatever I could to quell the voices of worry.

After the pink, the real fun begins.

My belly expanded. Morning sickness lasted all day. Had I made the right decision?
One morning I awoke to a fluttering sensation inside me. A kick. Or a punch? From that monumental motion, hearing the heartbeat at pre-natal check-ups, viewing the alien-like being during the ultrasound, and every subsequent hiccup afterwards—one fact remained steadfast. My body, my life were no longer my own.

After the pink, our little one becomes my everything.

I carried something my husband and I had created. This life was not only a reflection of our love and commitment; this child bonded us together even more. We were now a family. 

We’d eased into the next journey of life: parenthood. Besides the rollercoaster ride of emotions and hormones, my mind fought to remain collected. The moment I recognized that pink line, a fierceness sprouted inside me. It remained quiet until needed.

After the pink, things don’t always go according to plan.

Despite having a birthing plan—natural labor inside a birthing cottage—my actual labor took a detour. Complications arose. The doctor suspected the umbilical cord had wrapped around the baby’s neck. I had an emergency C-section. That memorable moment of giving birth I’d seen in countless shows and heard about from many didn’t become my reality. As I counted back from one hundred, I worried if I’d awaken to a living baby. My fierceness whispered one word: trust.

As I came out of the anesthesia during recovery, my husband wheeled over a bassinet. Beaming, he introduced a wrapped-up bundle. Our daughter.

The first few months of raising a baby became a tug of war of survival. Existing on two to three hours of sleep due to feedings on demand, understanding the needs of pink-faced mini me had its moments. I doubted myself continuously.

Had my milk provided enough nutrition, or did I need to supplement?

Is that a rash?

Why is her poop that color?

Is her cry different?

Does she have enough clothes on?

Worrying aside, I placed my daughter’s needs before everything. She became the most pressing force in my life. My fierceness remained at the ready.

Babies go through stages. Rolling. Learning to eat. Crawling. Walking. There were accidents. Trips to quick care facilities when ear infections announced themselves at four o’clock on a Sunday afternoon. X-rays when a cold turned to pneumonia. Bouts of mysterious vomiting and diarrhea.

Through it all, my husband and I endured. How could we not when our girl showed us her gummy smile? When her tiny fingers gripped ours? Something cracked inside my chest when I heard her first words. Could one person be so happy?

When I married the love of my life, I thought that magical day could never be matched. That milestone merely prepared me for motherhood. I never realized how selfish I was. As kids the world is a place to wander, as teens it revolves around our whims, and as adults what’s important exists inside our circle.

Not anymore.

After the pink, I change.

My identity, my person, my role, and my job became centered around another being. Life would never be the same. My fierceness and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My three kids in 2017

Note: From the picture I added to this post, it is obvious that I enjoyed being a mother so much, I did it three times. Each pregnancy was different, but the end result was the same: creating a new, unique and incredible new life. Now my oldest just graduated college last weekend, my other daughter is finishing up her freshman year, and my youngest entered the wonderful teen years two months ago. After the pink, the memories only begin.

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