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What Does Motherhood Mean to You?

Motherhood, I invite you to think about what this word means to you?  As an Obstetrician, I am blessed to witness the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth where every delivery is like I am in awe for the first time.  But I would be remiss in not talking about my Patients who become a Mother in other ways.  Mothers who foster or adopt their children, human and furry alike.  Mothers who provide their own eggs or body for surrogacy so that someone else can become a mother.  Mothers who are working hard to overcome their infertility challenges to meet the child they know is out there.  Lastly there are the silent mothers who experienced the joy of a positive pregnancy test that sadly ends in miscarriage.  She did not get to see or hold this baby that entered her heart the moment she saw those two lines, but now has an angel above.  Every day thereafter is bittersweet for anyone who loses a pregnancy, a baby or a child.  Even with loss however I am sure you would agree that no matter how one comes to know motherhood, it is a leap of faith worth making.   

The road to motherhood is unique to everyone.  There was a time in my young life where the thought of becoming a mother or being around children effectively sent my heart racing with sense of angst and uncertainty.  I had a defined plan for my life.  Starting in the 7th grade, I knew I wanted to be in Medicine.  I was blessed by several influences and thankful to those who mothered me.  It was my teachers who nurtured me, and opened my eyes to the power of education and all its possibilities.  It was listening to the intriguing stories that my late Grandmother Joyce told of her life as a Registered Nurse in the ER.  She would share medical stories that sparked my interest, but her accounts went much deeper than story telling.  I saw the passion she had in helping others and the curious navigation through humanity that she made.  A journey of this kind could not be made without knowing the love, devotion and tireless work I saw in my Mother.  She also empowered me to pursue my dreams.  I had a defined plan for my life.  I vowed to let nothing stand in my way.  How and when would I insert having children into this equation did not seem possible should I pursue this dream? 

It was at the age of 21 however that my world was forever changed.  I fell in love with my husband and in our new life together also came a precious 4-year old little girl.  At the time I thought to myself, “Oh no!  Will I be Cruella de Vil to her?! How will I relate to her and better yet will she like me?”  Our story together evolved into the birth of something quite the opposite of that which I feared, I found the beauty in motherhood.  Life was no longer just about me; it was what was best for her and our family.  I was blessed to later officially adopt her.  The day she called me “Mom” for the first time, the day I saw my name on her birth certificate and the day she became a big sister to her two brothers are by far the best and proudest moments in my life.  I am so glad that the defined plan for my life was altered and my journey to Motherhood lead me to my beautiful miracles.   Thankfully the equation for my life allowed me to not only be blessed with family, but they joined me on my journey in Medicine. 

Don’t get me wrong and I am sure you would agree that this wonderful world called Motherhood comes with as much joy as there are and tears.  I struggle daily to balance my life as a Mother, Wife and a Physician.  Every minute you fret and question what will happen if I am not here?  Am I doing the best I can?  Did I make the right decision?  For my children, how can I best teach them to live and love in this good life?  How can I protect them from the world?  I have resolved to believe that I am human.  I try to do the best I can with what I have, and accept that this must be right for me, my family and my patients.  I find the humor in my crazy life and call it controlled chaos.   My Grandmother Joyce used to sing us a song by Doris Day “I love you a bushel and a peck.”  I always loved to hear her sing it, but there is one verse I never understood until now.  After she passed I wanted to find those words and know them exactly by heart,  I wanted my children to come to know and love this song just as I had.  I found the words and I especially love the verse and it goes…

I love you a bushel and a peck

A bushel and a peck though you make my heart a wreck

Make my heart a wreck and you make my life a mess

Make my life a mess, yes a mess of happiness

So, take the time to reflect on what motherhood means to you.  It is important to remember and cherish those who affected your past, your present and future with who you may call, or may call you, Mother.