For as long as I can remember, I have loved babies! I never questioned whether or not I wanted to have kids but just had to meet the right person and know we were ready to embark on a lifetime of adventure and responsibility. I also know that if my darling hubby had never come along, I would have still found a way to be a mom.
My path to being “mom” wasn’t easy. My first pregnancy was a dream, until it wasn’t. At 33 weeks and 3 days my angel Addison was born, with no brain activity, after hours of monitoring, tests and finally an emergency C-section. She was tiny and beautiful but she wouldn’t make it to see 24 hours.
When we heard that our time with her would be limited, the feeling was surreal and beyond devastating. We had so many questions. We felt anguish and grief beyond anything I had ever known possible. I also carried guilt, unnecessarily, but I carried it nonetheless. What had I done wrong? Why is this happening? What is wrong with me? My first duty’s as a mom were not feeding my baby, changing her bum or bathing her. I rocked her, and held her as long as I could. We had her baptized and took photos. I held her until her final breath and then did something no mother, or father should ever have to do, I said goodbye.
Saying goodbye to the beautiful baby whom I loved from the first time I even thought I might be pregnant, was literally heart breaking. Watching my husband go to the funeral home to make plans, take care of me and cope with his own grief, was gut wrenching.
The days, weeks and months to follow were a fog and full of love and support, but still so empty. Hubby and I had nights of long conversations, tears, fear and loss. But what we did know what that medically, there was no reason to think we couldn’t have a healthy baby at some point. And if having Addison taught me anything (and honestly she taught me so many things) it was that we wanted to be the best parents to her by honouring her and remembering her. We also knew we still wanted to try again.
Less than 3 months later, it was New Years Eve, and I had ” a feeling”. I took a pregnancy test before going out with friends and sure enough, I was pregnant. I was over joyed, overwhelmed, and scared as hell. Luckily we had the most beautiful angel watching over us, as well as a team of doctors, and less than 11 months after we said goodbye to Addison, Ava Grace was born, with a grand entrance, healthy and perfect. Fast forward 22 months later and she had a gorgeous baby sister, Mackinley Paige. And our family was complete.
This Mother’s Day I will find joy in the paper crafts and hugs with my two little beauties here with me. I will spend some quiet time by myself with a few tears wishing a I could hold Addison just one more time and wondering what my now almost 9 year old would look like and what her personality would be like. I will wipe my tears and be thankful for her. I will also remember that being a mom is hard, but it is such a privilege that so many take for granted. In fact, sometimes I still take it for granted.
On those days when I count down the seconds until bedtime, when I raise my voice to stop the sibling bickering, when I find myself needing 5 minutes to be alone, I take a deep breath and know that someday they will be grown and I will miss their laughs and bickering in my house. I also remember that my journey to get here wasn’t easy and take a moment to practice gratitude for the joyous life I love with my family here, and my angel who watches over me.
This Mother’s Day I hope that my friends, family and those who may read this who are struggling to have a healthy baby know that they have our love and support, and we pray that they will be able to fulfil their parenting dreams at some time in someway that works for them. I hope that those families who have suffered loss, have found peace and comfort.
Becoming a mom often isn’t as easy as we would like it to be, so let’s be gentle with ourselves and with each other on Mother’s Day and all the other days that we are needing a mom, being a mom, or longing to be called mom.