Becoming a mother has been one of the most multifaceted experiences of my life. It changes you, challenges you, humbles you, and enriches you like no other.
I always thought I would be a mother but truth be told I was not in a rush when I met my future husband and then married. There were many reasons why.
Despite my nonchalance, we were faced with decisions about having a family immediately after our honeymoon when I was diagnosed with cancer. Certain drug protocols affected my fertility and I had choices about treatments. Honestly, my mind was just not focused at that time on anything other than my survival. Thankfully, I had people in the room that could think a bit more objectively and help me make a choice that would give me the best chance of having a family when I was ready.
It wasn’t until 5 years after my treatments that I would even consider the conversation. My husband was ready to get our family started and I was still resistant. It just wasn’t on my radar. Was I ready to give up my career? My personal time? What if my cancer recurred? Would I be a good mother? Would I screw up my kids? Would they like me? Would they hate me? Am I ready? The list in my head went on and on.
What I have learned is you should put thought into the decision because it is the greatest responsibility and biggest job you will ever have. That said, it is important to also understand you cannot answer all your questions and concerns because the experience can and will take on a life of its own. The emotion you experience after that child is born is not something you can really understand until you actually experience it.
So when the time was right, or as close to right as I was going to admit, I was blessed with the ability to conceive my first son and then two years later a second son. After all my body had been through I really believed it was a miracle and a blessing to have two healthy children. I just hoped I would be able to stay well so I could be part of their life as they grew from babies into men.
I had all kinds of plans for my children. What I didn’t understand is that best laid plans typically go astray. Despite some of it not going the way I had envisioned my hope was I would be able to teach them the basics of life and instill important values like my mother had done for me.
As part of my reflection on this Mother’s Day, I remember my mother who I miss so much. I wish she were here to talk to and share in the joy of my children. Having my own children and going through many struggles has given me a new appreciation for her as a mother. Now I understand a little better why she did and said certain things. I now understand the worry and concern you have as a parent. She instilled so many important values in me and I hope I have passed them down to my children. She is here with all of us.
Many years have passed since those early days when I had all those fears about becoming a mother. I have less concerns these days about how my kids might hate me or I might screw them up and they will require therapy. We have had our moments for sure. Years ago a therapist told me I can try to do everything perfectly and still my child may end up in therapy talking about some thing I did to them that I was totally unaware of. I am hoping for the best but you never know….
That is why I have my other kids.
We all make mistakes. There may be a road map at first but it is often hard to follow perfectly. Our children grow into individuals that maybe different from us. In the end we do the best we can do. It all comes from a place of love and our children will hopefully understand and forgive when they have their own children and understand better.
So what about all my worries about what I would have to give up in order to have children. Yes, there have been sacrifices. Days I didn’t take a shower or sleep or get a break from the 100th baseball or basketball game. Sometimes I needed a vacation or my own time out. I have never thought of any of these things as a negative. The day you become a mother you are assigned that “selfless” hat that doesn’t require thought, just action, which is a natural as breathing. I wouldn’t trade any of it.
So, on this Mother’s Day I will not work or at least will try not to. In my typical fashion I have planned out my day which ends with a family dinner at a favorite restaurant. It will be a time to celebrate my blessings of motherhood that I so did not understand until the day I became a mother.
My final reflection is on my children and all my blessings. I feel a sense of pride in both my sons. They are good people. They have taught me so many things about myself and helped me to be a better person. My life is warmer, brighter and happier because they are in it.