I’d like to think I was your mother long before I saw your face on the ultrasound.
From very early on, my arms were a little bit too empty until you came along.
And when you finally arrived, what did I do? I cried. Not tears of joy, but of fear. Not excitement over a long journey of infertility coming to a close, but a new one just beginning. A step into a world no one ever thinks they will be a part of. One you think is a place where other people live, but you will only see from the outside.
For a long time, it was hard to pass the hospital where you were born, sweet Lila. It brought me back to those moments of pure shock and numbness and panic all mixed into one. It made me so sad that what was supposed to be the happiest day of my life, felt like it was ripped out of my hands, gone forever.
But a funny thing happened to me this week, not long after celebrating my first Mother’s Day. I drove passed the place where you were born, and before I could think about it, I smiled. And I forgot. I didn’t think about the first time a special care nurse told me and your Daddy you might have Down Syndrome. I didn’t remember my mini-meltdown in the middle of the hall of the maternity ward, the first time I let myself cry. My mind didn’t go to that stifling feeling I felt for those four days in the hospital, like it was some sort of alternate reality. Secretly hoping that when I got home, the “perfect” life I had planned would be waiting for me.
Instead I thought about the first time your Daddy brought you over to meet me. Holding you, even at 3 am when we were the only ones awake. All of our sweet friends and family that couldn’t wait to meet you, hold you.
Because for a long time, those scary moments crowded my brain and didn’t let my first minutes of motherhood shine through. They didn’t let me recall the meeting I knew would trump all others. They selfishly stole the day that changed my life forever.
But thank God they are still there, strong as ever. And as I grow into being a Mother, as I think all women do, I am so grateful they have been waiting for me this whole time. Until my heart, and more importantly my head, were ready. Until I was so bursting with love for my little girl, that no diagnosis mattered.
Each of our paths to being a mother are different. Some of us know from the day we are old enough to play with dolls that one day a real baby will take its place. Others never think it will be a role they will chose, but fall into it and fall in love just the same. And some women end up being a mother to a child that was held in someone else’s arms for the first time. But however we all got here, I think we can all agree it’s the most rewarding, fulfilling and yet difficult role we will ever play. The place on our journey we were always meant to find.
Even though my journey hasn’t been perfect, I am more certain each day that I am right where I am supposed to be. I am your mother, little Lila, and for that I am so thankful.