I’m not cut out to be a mother.
Not all of us are, you know. In spite of this fact, I became pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl. She was born on a Thursday in February after 23 hours of gut-wrenching labor that began on Valentine’s Day. The surgeon had to slice open my abdomen and pull her out; she came out gasping for her first breaths of oxygen and trying her rusty vocal chords out.
I remember a tear slipping down my cheek.
She was beautiful. She was perfect.
And then I took her home and my entire life changed. It wasn’t about me anymore. In fact, some days it felt like there was no me anymore. My glorious freedom, my selfish whims, my desires, were snatched up and held close-fisted and were not returned. An eight pound infant was my dictator and I lived by her rules.
As a person, I changed. I learned a newfound patience as I rocked her hour upon hour when she could not sleep. I learned what an amazing thing life is and how captivating a feather can be. I experienced a new sense of pride over babbled words, first steps and the word “mommy”.
I am her mommy. Her one and only. The person who holds her little body close before bed. Kisses the bumps and bruises. Rescues her from yellow jackets, the vacuum cleaner and monsters in the closet.
I discipline her two-year-old tantrums and set boundaries for her blooming independence.
I love her as I have never loved before.
But still, I am not cut out to be a mother.
There are all these things I love to do, all these dreams I have, that don’t seem compatible with motherhood. Traveling the world. Pursuing great careers. Writing novels. Going out in the evenings.
Sometimes, if I have days off during the week, I drop her off at daycare and revel in the me-time. In the car, I turn my music up loud, crank the windows down and feel all my mom-ness evaporating into the atmosphere.
At home, I clean unhindered. I paint the guest room. I read a book without interruption, go shopping with no rush, no fuss, no screaming toddler.
I love it.
But a few hours pass and I see her toys scattered across the rug, remember how she hugged me that morning, and hear, like an echo, “I love you much,” in my ear.
A piece of me is missing.
When I go pick her up in the afternoon she spots me and comes running.
I scoop her up and hug her tight, her little arms wrapped around my neck and I can’t think of a better place to be or a better person to share a moment with.
Two seconds later, she’s out of my arms.
“I want to walk.” Insistent. Independent.
I think she’s like me.
I think we will grow and learn together and are developing the art of being mother and daughter.
I might not be cut out to be a mother but it’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever done.