My progression of motherhood has changed over the years, as most things tend to do as time moves forward. As a child I desired to one day be a mom as it was modeled around me. I even had a picture from my nineth birthday party sleepover with a balloon hidden under my Mickey Mouse pajama shirt pretending to be pregnant. Motherhood has always called to me and I knew that it was part of my purpose in this life from an early age. It was up there along with becoming a writer when I made my mental “What I Want to Be When I Grow Up” list on the fourth grade playground. Even so, at the age of my balloon belly I thought I would adopt because I did not want to go through the perceived pain of childbirth. Once I heard my Stepmom's story about getting an epidural when my siblings were born I thought, “Yes! I want that one day! Best of both worlds.” However, my plans changed again as my siblings grew older and would run downstairs before the sun was barely peeping through the oak trees or I would hear them screaming in resistance to bedtime. Did they not realize how precious sleep is? “Make it stop!” I would think to myself from underneath the pillow muffling the excess noise. At four years old, they thought they were smarter than me. Plus they were magnets for more neighborhood kids, which created a crescendo of more stomping and unfiltered kid voices to my upstairs room. Not to mention, my three year old sister kept getting into my makeup, spilling pink glittery sparkles like fairy dust all over my new comforter. At that point I vowed never to have kids at all. I mean, why bother? Kids equaled stress, no quiet time, and getting into everything.
Oh, the irony.
I'm now nearly 28 years old and have given birth to five babies. Three of those were completely natural water births with no pain medication at all — I no longer fear the pain of childbirth. Four of those babies live with me and my husband, while my oldest “baby” lives a few hours away as we connect our lives every few months during visits and occasional FaceTime chats within our open adoption. Let me be clear — I wanted to be her Mom despite the annoyances I experienced while being the oldest sister in my childhood home, but at 16 years old I knew she deserved more than what I give her.
Now, my home is full of kids. It is chaos. It is joy. I never, ever thought I would have four kids but motherhood has called again each time, progressing me even more. I went from a rulebook following mom mindset at 18 years old to eventually exploring my own path. What worked for me 11 years ago during my first pregnancy isn't usually what I choose to do now. What worked as a new mom eight years ago, is not always what is best for my six month old now. We grow as they grow. We evolve in our journey as mothers just as they bloom into little people with their own personalities.
Granted, what I envisioned motherhood to be — loud, stressful, and no privacy — is still true within many of my days. But, it is so much more. It is the sweet moments of your two year old's tiny hand resting on your cheek during morning snuggles or your eight year old still wanting to match outfits and hold your hand in public. Or your four year old son, clinging to your leg as he calls you the best mom ever. It is watching your baby move beyond the blob newborn stage into discovering the world around her. It is the way your heart simultaneously breaks and bursts with pride while the tears threaten to fall when your five year old walks into the kindergarten classroom for the first time. There has to be much more to this motherhood thing, or else I wouldn't have stayed in this cycle of growing babies over and over again for so long. I would have pushed the imaginary “shut down” button on my uterus long ago, if deep down, beyond the overwhelming noise and lack of sleep, it wasn't pure awesome to be a mom.
Regardless of where you are in your motherhood progression or how you choose to do motherhood, this blog is for moms everywhere. May it be a place of real motherhood and a connection to the outside world to know you aren't the only ones up at 6 a.m. letting your early birds watch PBS Kids while you beg for just a few more minutes of sleep.