The Process of Becoming...
When did you actually feel like you were a mother? In my experience, becoming a mother is not something that happens just because you have given birth- or adopted- No, becoming a mother is something that happens to you over time, through trials, pain, happiness and barf- albeit having a baby, however you do it, is a pretty sizable gateway to the title of Mama. When I first had Jeffrey, I felt like someone had handed me this little alien who needed everything from me, including all of my sleep, knawing on tender parts of my anatomy until they were raw and my ability to shower, eat or have clean clothing. It was also unreal that the hospital actually sent him home with us- didn't they know we knew nothing?? How could they send him home with us? No, becoming a Mama is definitely a process, aided by birth, but not completed by it.
- The first time I really felt like a Mama was in the grocery store, when Jeffrey was about three weeks old. It was late at night, and he was at home with the DH, while I ran out to get a few things. Standing in line at the checkout, there was an older woman behind me, and she gently tapped me on the shoulder, and inquired how old my baby was. Confused, I asked her how she knew I had a baby, since I was alone. She kindly put her hand on my arm, and very sweetly said, "My dear, you have spit-up all down the back of your sweater".
- Ever catch yourself swaying to and fro, when you are only holding your purse? Uh-huh.
- When someone offers to watch your child(ren) so you can do something for yourself, you don't think "Pedicure" or "Clothes shopping", you think "Shower? Alone? Hallelujah!" or "Shopping? Grocery store, alone!".
- A fantastic night with your husband consists of uninterrupted sleep.
- When women friends who don't have kids yet start to tell you what they will do when they have kids, you cannot choke back your manic laughter and hysterical tears.
- You can take your breast out in public, feed your baby, and no one knows or cares what you are doing. And you are not self-conscious at all about having your little alien slurping on your once-sexual but now a happy-meal body part.
- The gross-out and gag reflex completely leaves your body and mind. Nothing, no, nothing, not barf in your ear, not sneezes that create snot-bubbles the size of a dinner plate, not poo on the walls or in a little rose-bud mouth can really phase you. Oh, somewhere in the back of your mind, you know to a regular person this is gross, but you are a Mama, and thus are unfazed. You might even laugh at the pale faces of the uninitiated...
- When was the last time you ate your meal while it was still hot?
- Suddenly, your mother is not such nut-case after all, and many of the wacky things she may have done kind of make sense to you. And, you realize that she loves you the same way you love your tender little baby- with everything you've got in your life.
While I am sure there are as many things to add to this list as there are mothers, these are a few of the little-fires-burning-brightly that made me a Mama.