What It Means to Be a Mom

Not everyone is religious, so not everyone can relate to this, but since I could remember, I felt that my purpose in life was to be a mom. Even as a little girl, I remember thinking that no matter what I did, no matter what career path I took, as long as I was a mom then my life would be complete. I may have been thinking beyond my years, but it was a feeling I had deep down in my soul.

When I met my (now) husband, I remember thinking about our future a lot. During his first deployment, I remember this very vivid nightmare where my dad walked into the living room to tell me that my boyfriend had been killed and that he wasn’t coming home. I woke up hysterical and thought about all of the things we never would have been able to do, like have kids. I remember thinking that if I had to lose him, I wanted to have a piece of him with me forever.

As I am typing this, I am well aware that I sound absolutely crazy.

Needless to say, having a baby was always part of our plan and I was ready right away. My parents always preached “education, career, husband, then babies” so that is precisely what we did. Eight months after our wedding, I was pregnant and couldn’t be happier. So many of my friends asked if I was worried or scared, but I wasn’t either. This was what I had wanted my whole life and I felt it was my purpose.

No matter how many years I spent babysitting, being a nanny, working in a day care, or teaching, nothing, and I mean absolutely NOTHING, could have prepared me for motherhood. Sure, I knew the developmental milestones of kids from infancy through adolescence, I understood what babies needed, and I could change a diaper in about 48 seconds, but that wasn’t MOTHERHOOD.

Being a mom proved to be so much more than pushing out a baby and taking care of it. The emotional aspect of motherhood is so much more powerful. It may sound cliche but the moment he arrived, everything else in my life melted away. We often joke about the things that happen after becoming a mom as if they’re negative…mom jeans, stretch marks, permanently looking like a red hot mess…but those things come along with feeling your baby’s pain when they’re sick, welling up with tears after every tiny accomplishment (who knew you could be proud of someone for pooping?!), and that indescribable feeling you get in the bottom of your heart when you smell your babies breath. I knew that for the rest of my life, I had to live for this little life sitting in my arms. As time would go on, I learned that this feeling was both beautiful and terrifying at the same time. The title of mom means unconditional love, sacrifice, fear, hopes & dreams, routines, schedules, impulse, instincts, and…IMPERFECTION.

Becoming a mom also made me a survivor of PTSD due to complications after childbirth and postpartum depression & anxiety. Almost two years ago, I absolutely could not have said that I was thankful for this walk through hell and back that we call mental health, but I am thankful for it today.

Being a mom means I will never be perfect, but I’ll be damned if I don’t embrace the failures, the flaws, and the mistakes and love the journey.

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