The moment I became a mom is seared into my memory forever. I remember everything about how it felt: the soft light in the NICU room and the nurses' excitement for us when we met our daughter for the first time. I remember sitting with my daughter late into the night, thinking about these silent promises I made to myself in that moment I became a mom.
Some of my promises were about myself, some of them about my marriage, and some about my daughter. But I knew that night on the 9th floor of a NICU in Houston, Texas, that life would never be the same. It's monumental, the moment you become a mom, whether you are adopting or giving birth. And the one thing I would wish for every mom is that she gets to spend a few moments soaking in that moment and making a few promises to yourself and your new baby about what's to come.
Some of the promises I made to my daughter in the first night of meeting her were because I'm an adoptive mom. I felt like we were entering into her life on her third day on the planet and I wanted her to know what that meant for her going forward. I wanted her to know how loved she would be and how protected she should always feel. Then again, I imagine that's exactly how it feels when you meet your baby for the first time even if you aren't adopting, that you feel you need to make sure they know exactly how fiercely you plan on loving them for all the days to come.
"I Promise I Will Enjoy Being A Mom"
"I Promise That You Are Our Family Forever And Ever"
I'll admit, it's a totally surreal thing to meet your daughter for the first time, have her look nothing like your or nothing like you could have ever imagined, and still feel instantly that she is your daughter. In those first moments of being her mom, I wanted her to know that she was our family, forever and ever, and that she would be safe and secure with us as long as we live.
"I Promise My Partner And I Will Be A Team"
The moment I became a mom was also the moment my partner became a dad, and the moment we became a parenting team: something we had talked and dreamed about for five years of trying to get pregnant unsuccessfully. In those first moments we became a parenting team, I promised myself I would remember that we would be remain a team, no matter what or how much my mama bear instinct might want to rule the roost.
"I Promise To Protect And Love My Daughter"
This promise wasn't even made with words in my head, I could feel it so deep in my bones. I was somehow willing my daughter to know that I would protect and love her with every fiber of my being. Gosh, that mom instinct is fierce, isn't it?
"I Promise To Go Easy On Myself"
Much, much easier said than done on this one, eh? I could feel the immense and awesome weight of being a mom even in those first few moments of meeting my daughter. I knew it would be the most important and difficult role I'd ever taken on, but I also knew I'd have to go easy on myself and not strive for perfection (as I had in most of what I had done previously).
"I Promise To Take Breaks For Myself"
I tend to be the type to throw myself all in to something, so even that night I knew breaks were gonna have to be a part of my life as a mom. That night I couldn't quite promise not to lose myself in motherhood, because after waiting for five years to become a mom that's all I wanted to do. That promise had to come later, when I was ready to let motherhood share my priorities with a few of my old interests and passions. But short breaks, those would keep me sane in the first few months.
"I Promise To Teach My Daughter To Be Kind"
I didn't vow to make sure she was a genius or an Olympic swimmer. I simply promised to teach her to be kind, to radiate kindness in a way that would draw anyone to her. Everything else will fall into place if we manage to teach her to be kind.
"I Promise To Show My Daughter The World"
My husband and I vowed well before we had kids that we would do our best to travel with our kids and introduce them to the wonders — and challenges — of the world. In that first night, I could barely picture her outside in the fresh air without trembling, but I promised I wouldn't let fear rule my decisions about what we introduced my daughter to when she was old enough.
"I Promise To Keep Laughing"
I have a tendency to take things awfully seriously and dwell in the more serious and emotional aspects of life. I knew I wanted to just chill the heck out as a mom. I haven't totally succeeded, but I do remember to laugh at her crazy antics and to laugh with her when she discovers something totally hilarious. It's been one of my favorite promises I made the first night I became a mom.