The morning my daughter was born, I cried quietly in the bathroom before getting dressed for the hospital. At the time, I didn't know that this was going to be the day my daughter was born. I was hopeful though, after missing not one, not two, but three consecutive due dates. Would this baby every come out? Would I ever become a mother? I asked myself those questions, but I really didn't want the answers.
I was terrified.
There I was peeing and crying and realizing that Holy Shit, there was a kid about to come out of me. Maybe even that day! I wasn't crying because of the pain of labor, although I was afraid of that. I wasn't crying because my life was going to change. Duh, people. I knew that, and even if I hadn't, everyone I encountered since the two pink lines showed up, had something to say about it. I knew that I wasn't going to get a good nights sleep ever again. I knew I'd never eat a hot meal again for many years. I knew that I'd never be alone again, not even to pee. I got that. I knew that. I was ready for that.
Still I was terrified.
Because everyone kept telling me that motherhood would come naturally. Motherhood would be the most natural thing I ever did. Yet, there was this little voice in my head, nagging me. Nagging me hours before I'd be bringing a life into this world that said, "Nothing is ever that easy".
It wasn't. Motherhood wasn't the most natural thing I had ever done.
Caitlin was born at four twenty-six in the afternoon, and by five o'clock I was seriously questioning my decisions in life so far. I looked at that little bundle of joy, and wondered, when is her mother coming to pick her up? Then I'd realize, oh, stupid, that's us. We're the mother. Who was going to change this kids diapers? Breastfeed? Tell her how to make good and solid life decisions? How the hell am I going to do that?
The first diaper I ever changed was Caitlin's. The breastfeeding went terribly. The bottle feeding swimmingly. She never slept, and neither did I. I was too stubborn and didn't really feel right about the "crying it out" method. I second guessed by self the entire way through her first year. Because two months later, six months later, one year later, I was terrified.
I was so afraid of not being perfect. I was so afraid of letting her down. I was so afraid that she could tell I totally sucked at motherhood. That she knew I didn't have one ounce of my shit together. I was terrified that people thought I was a horrible mother because she took a bottle, and because she slept in my bed. I was terrified that someone would realize what a terrible, no good, fuck up of a mother I was and take her away. I was so afraid that the world would know, finally know that I wasn't good at everything like I had always led them to believe. That everyone would finally know I was a fraud.
Funny thing is, I wasn't a fraud. I wasn't terrible or horrible. I was just a mother. I was just a human. My baby wasn't the only one crying. My baby wasn't the only one who took a bottle. My baby wasn't the only one who slept with me on the couch or in the guest bedroom bed. I wasn't the only mother who felt like a failure. In fact, according to some, I wasn't a failure at all.
It took time and a lot of phone therapy with my best friend to come to those conclusions. Eight years ago motherhood was a lonely place for me. I didn't blog or read blogs. The only parenting books were the "how to" kind, and who the fuck needed those? There were a million and one books to tell you how to me the perfect parent, and not a single one to tell you just to be a parent. Not a single book to reassure me and a million others that we were doing just fine, that we were writing the rules of our own stories.
June 27th, 2007 was the day I became a mother. There were no backsies. Ready or not, there I went into the great unknown, without an ounce of natural talent. Tomorrow I will probably cry while peeing again, because we did okay, her and I. We made it to eight. Which eight years ago seemed impossible. I'm so grateful for her, for all the challenges she brought, for all the joy and love she has given me. Without her I would have never known that I could do great and amazing things. Even when I was on my knees begging for just an ounce of sanity, I did and will continue to do great things. All because I became a mother. Her mother.
I wouldn't have it any other way.