A mama isn’t born—a mama is made.

I wasn’t born to be your mama.
No, my love.
I was MADE to be your mama.

I longed for you, and I knew in my heart that you were always meant to be.
But that, my sweet, did not make me a mama.

I carried you. I harbored you safe and sound, and fell asleep to the rhythm of your kicks as you grew strong and sure.
But that, my baby, did not make me a mama.

When it came time, I brought you into the world. With sweat and tears and the most excruciating, all-consuming joy.
But that, my love, did not make me a mama.

It was not then . . .
But in all that came after.

In the seconds that it took for me to gaze into your eyes and realize that my life had been completely and irrevocably changed.

In the minutes I spent committing everything about you to memory, from the dimples in your cheeks to the sweet song that lulled you to sleep without fail.

In the hours of sleep that I lost staring bleary-eyed at the monitor, pacing back and forth between my bed and yours, rocking you into slumber with your cheek on my shoulder.

In the days of worry that bled into nights as I questioned every choice, every decision, every call, but slowly began to trust my instincts and follow my gut.

In the weeks that crept by as I saw the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, learning to soothe you in the way only a mama can, interpreting your cues and finding our rhythm.

In the months that passed as I slowly gained confidence and surety, as I found my way and set my stride, as I came into the role I knew I was always meant to play.
In the years of nurturing you through it all; of taking your hand, then learning to let go.

Of helping you grow independent of me while every fiber in my being cried to hold you closer.

Of letting you fly while I watched tentatively below, knowing you would be fine, but . . . just in case.

Of knowing in my heart and soul that this is both the hardest—and the easiest—undertaking that I have ever been called to.

So no, child.
I wasn’t born a mama.
I was made a mama.

In the seconds,
The minutes,
The hours,
The weeks,
The months,
And the years,
I’ve had the extraordinary privilege of loving you.
As I prepare to someday,
Let you go.

This article originally appeared on Shower Arguments


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Emily Solberg

Emily Solberg is a soldier, military spouse, mom to two toddlers, and fierce advocate of women supporting women. The goal of her writing is to help others feel less alone in their parenting journeys, and she isn’t afraid to share the hard along with the good. You can find more from her on her Facebook page, Shower Arguments.