As I come up on my very first Mother’s Day, it seems surreal to think that I have been a mom for just under a year now – especially when motherhood is a gift that I wasn’t sure I would get to experience. In the process of bringing life into this world, I could have forfeited my own, and it’s an experience that has completely changed my perspective on motherhood.
Immediately after my son’s birth, I had a postpartum hemorrhage that left me with a feeling of impending doom. Whether the threat was real or not, this feeling was so strong and so real that I was overwhelmed with all the things I would miss out on seeing.
I wouldn’t be there for him to learn how to crawl, say his first words or take his first steps. I wouldn’t get to walk him to class when he went to kindergarten. We couldn’t talk about his first crush or plan a fun sleepover when he made a new friend. I would never see the adult he’d become. The reality of this absolutely broke my heart.
The extremes of Motherhood
Although my medical team took care of me and was able to get the hemorrhage under control, it was extremely difficult to reconcile the Earth shaking joy of my son being born with the terror of that day. It’s something I still struggle with sometimes, but I’ve come to realize that although an extreme example, my son’s delivery was the epitome of motherhood – a delicate dance between joy and despair.
You see when I was there for my son to learn how to crawl there was unending pride at how much he had grown, but also grief at the baby he was starting to leave behind.
When he said mama for the first time I could have cried with joy, but also sobbed over how fast time is spinning.
It seems from day one, motherhood is nothing if not a rollercoaster of emotions and feelings.
After a long day of holding and rocking and singing, you want nothing more than to put the baby to sleep for the night, but want one more hug after they finally lay down their little head.
You’re so excited to leave behind bottles and start eating meals, then suddenly you put them away from the cabinet and it’s like there’s a small crater in your chest.
You can’t wait for them to fit in that cute new outfit, but then you put away their clothes that are too small and it feels like your soul is ripping.
Motherhood makes you stronger while making you more vulnerable, makes you feel unending joy AND unyielding pain, makes you feel like you’re never enough while marveling at how much you’ve grown and changed. Motherhood is messy and chaos and hard, but it’s also beautiful and seamless and effortless.
So as I celebrate my own mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, and all the amazing mothers in my life this year, I also celebrate my own motherhood. I revel in the woman that was born alongside my son, the one that clawed her way out from the trenches. I honor the woman that died that day, the woman I’ll never be again. I choose to get lost in the dance called motherhood, in the highs and lows. To celebrate each and everyday as if it were Mother’s Day, after all, each day is truly a gift and I am so grateful for the ride.
Lauren Lee is a longtime dog mom transitioning to life as a rookie human mom. She is married to her college sweetheart, Josh, and they welcomed their son, Oliver, to the world in June. Lauren is a Jacksonville State University alumni and has been a published writer since she was sixteen. In her free time, Lauren enjoys reading, writing, knitting and hiking with her two dogs.