I'm fairy certain I became a mom the first time I saw my daughter on the ultrasound. Still, nine years later, I sometimes find myself shocked when a little person in my home calls me "mom." Me? Really? I'm the parent? The responsible person? How did this happen? More importantly, when did this happen? Every mom has a different defining moment when the fact that she's a mom actually hit her. For me, it was probably the first time my child actually refereed to me as "mom." It was a surreal moment; a moment that solidified this new role in my life and expanded the definition of who I was as a human being. I mean, it was exhilarating, and it was all bottled up into one word spoken by a tiny voice.
Although I was already a mom, the birth of my son, in a way, redefined my identity as a mother, too. I was now a mother of two, a boy and a girl, and once again my life had shifted and I was changed. I was now responsible for two totally different kids, who vary in their temperaments and in their personalities. Being a mother of two pushed my mom-identity into a whole new depth and arena, and I was, again, in awe of how everything was suddenly so different.
I guess I feel most like a mom when my kids aren't feeling well. When they wake up in the middle of the night with a fever or from a nightmare, when I nurse them back to health, and when I spend nights holding their hair as they vomit or giving them oatmeal baths when they have a rash, I know I'm the person they go to when they're in need. And I feel most like a mom when my kids cuddle up next to me on the couch and when they ask me to read them a story. And when I am ripping at the seams, trying to do 50 different things to be an individual, to be independent of my mom identity, and to concurrently be the best mom that ever lived. I feel most like a mom during the extreme and the seemingly insignificant moments of my life, and it turns out I'm not alone. Here's what other moms had to say about the moment they realized they were definitely someone else's parent, and, well, prepare yourself to get hit in the feels:
"When I brought my twins home, more than a week after they were born, I cried every time my mom left my house. When she would come back in the morning, the twins were dressed in the same clothes from the day before. She would ask me, 'Did you bathe them? Why are they still in the pajamas?' I responded with, 'Well, I think they are clean and I am tired!' She'd say, 'Hello? You are a mom now. They need to change their clothes every morning like you change your clothes every morning!'"
"First time I felt like a real mom was when I had to schedule bathroom trips around nap times. Actually, come to think of it, scheduling life around nap times."
"When my son brought me his toys to hold for him. Weird, but this was a defining moment. I loved him before, but this is when it clicked and I said 'Wow, I’m his mom.'”
"It was after my first ultrasound. Going into the prenatal imaging wing of the hospital, it was all an abstract medical thing for me. In my mind was carrying tissue and blood vessels and amniotic fluid and having irritating symptoms. Then I saw the fuzzy grey picture of [my daughter] and heard the heartbeat. And for some reason there was a delayed response. I was halfway across the parking garage going back to my car when I was suddenly struck by a profound feeling of love for my daughter. I went from having no feelings at all, that morning, to suddenly having the sort of intense 'I'd die before I let something happen to you' love that only a parent feels. It literally stopped me in my tracks for a minute."
"I first really felt motherhood at eight months pregnant. I was assembling the crib, alone, at 2:00 a.m. and I knew it was just me and this little boy against the world and any obstacle life could throw our way."
"I had to have a C-section and they had my husband take our son to recovery the last 10 minutes while they moved me off the table. When I got back to recovery and finally got to hold my son, that's when it hit me. He had been pretty much crying non-stop since he came out until he was placed in my arms. He stopped crying instantly and it really hit me that I was a mommy and this little angel's whole world."
"I first realized the magnitude of parenthood when the insurance company sent us the first letter addressed to 'the parents of [redacted].' I was like, 'Oh, weird. That's us.' It was almost surreal for a moment until it really sunk in."
"Our oldest is adopted from Russia. A Russian judge made me a mother. It really hit me when I got back to the orphanage (13 days after the judge said I was allowed back), changed his clothes, bundled him up, and walked out of the orphanage with our son."
"It still takes me by surprise from time to time. And the older one is almost 5. Yesterday at the store with both kids I thought, 'Oh, I’m that Sunday morning mom at Target with two kids. When and how did this happen? Who let me own two car seats and just travel the world with these little creatures."' But really hits home when one of them gets sick or hurt and it’s like everything else stops and you’re no longer any of the other titles you may hold (wife, friend, nurse, manager, daughter), none of it matters, it's just 'mom.'"
"When the pediatrician came into my hospital room to talk to me about my newborn. I thought, 'Wow, this pediatrician is talking to me. I am the person responsible for this baby’s healthcare.' It was surreal."
"When I realized that my number one short-term goal pretty much at any cost was to increase milk production, and I spent several days and nights in a row (while recovering from a C-section) alternating between feeding and pumping every hour. Pure hormones and adrenaline."
"Taking my daughter to her first pediatrician appointment and having to check her in as her own person. Realizing I was there at the doctor's office to take care of someone that isn't myself was definitely a defining moment."
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