Before becoming pregnant, I wasn’t sure when one ‘became a mother,’ exactly. To be honest, I never really thought about it. I always assumed you just felt some sort of motherly connection or feeling that was indescribable when you gave birth to your first child. Like some sort of out of body experience. Or sometimes I thought, maybe, it was when you had your first big trial and/or victory as a parent, like first words, first steps, or the first time you catch your teenage girl sneaking out to see a boy. In these moments, you suddenly became a member of the “mom club.” Before becoming pregnant, I wasn’t sure when or how it happened. I just knew it did. And before you held that little one in your arms, you weren’t technically a mom yet. You were just pregnant. A carrier. A ‘soon-to-be-mama.’
But now, at 18 weeks pregnant, I can tell you with 100% certainty, I became a mother on March 1st in the ER at Dayton Children’s.
I work at the children’s hospital and on March 1st at around 4:30 pm, I was in a patient’s room when I started to feel kind of funny. My legs were wobbly, my hands were tingling, I was instantly sweating, my pulse started to race, my ears began to ring and suddenly I lost my vision. I woke up minutes later outside my patient’s room, on the floor, with a sharp pain in my back, which I later learned was from falling. But when I woke up, I had no idea what had happened or how I managed to exit my patient’s room.
The wonderful staff at Children’s gave me a small OJ, some crackers, and a speedy wheelchair ride to the first floor – aka the ER. The doctors down there weren’t sure what to make of my fainting spell. My EKG came back normal, my blood sugar and blood pressure were a bit low, but nothing too alarming. They were at a loss.
Finally, one of the docs asked if I could be pregnant. I quickly replied, “No I don’t think so,” (but honestly, I had no idea). He must have seen the questionable look on my face because he ordered a pregnancy test for me. Ten slow minutes later, he walked into my room and asked when my next cycle was supposed to start. I told him that I thought it was going to start today, but so far, nothing. He grinned at me and asked if I’d like to know why?! Then the tears started to flow, people. I mean, real tears. I was sobbing and laughing and hugging my doctor. He seemed rather alarmed by my sudden loss of composure and cautiously asked if these were tears of joy or not. I laughed more and reassured him that all was well and I was simply overwhelmed with pure bliss in the moment.
At this point, my nurses caring for me entered the room and they all started clapping and cheering for me. I’m telling the truth, folks, there was not a dry eye in the place. It was a moment that I will forever treasure in my heart. I only wish Robert could have been there to find out with me. (But don’t worry, I surprised him with the news later that evening. That story is for another day.)
I can still remember driving home from the ER, hand on my still normal looking belly, with tears in my eyes (there’s been a lot of crying during this process) thanking Jesus for this wonderful and beautiful surprise and promising Him that I would take care of this gift with all that I had. It was an instant connection. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind. I was a mother. I knew from that moment on, my life was no longer about me or what I wanted. My life, my health, my future, my finances…everything was now about this child. My grand plans that I had pictured in my mind now needed readjusting. My future goals needed tweaked just a hair. But I did all of this with a happy heart.
In my opinion, you become a mother when you find out about that tiny bundle of joy growing inside you (for me it was at 5 weeks pregnant) because it is at that moment that you start behaving like a mother and making the sacrifices that are necessary. Do I sometimes need 5 cups of coffee in one day to feel normal? Yes. But will I drink all that caffeine now that I’m pregnant? No way. Do I want to exercise and eat healthy more often? Not really. Will I, for the benefit of this child? You better believe it. I understand these are tiny, tiny sacrifices to make in the grand scheme of things, but I make them happily because this life I am living is no longer just about me. From what I’ve learned and watched of my own mom, making sacrifices is what motherhood is all about. However big or small, each one is worth it. So…I guess, now I know. Now I understand when one ‘becomes a mother.’
What a beautiful, inspiring, overwhelming, privilege it is to join the mom club. I’m honored.