I’ll never forget the moment that I knew I was “officially” a mother.
Although the overwhelming exhilaration of the moment I drew her to my chest and felt a recognition stir in my heart that marked the love that would change me forever is forever emblazoned in my mind, there is another moment that also stands out to me as the moment I really became a mother.
The morning broke early and I blinked wearily, clearing my eyes as I tried to focus.
Is that a baby crying? Whose baby is that?
In a flash, it all came rushing back to me. The two-day labor, the still-aching body I couldn’t yet recognize, the realization that today was my first day alone, my husband already gone for his work shift, and wonder of wonders, the sweet swaddled baby in a green fleece blanket tucked carefully in the bassinet next to me.
I picked her up gingerly, still shifting in bed to find that elusive comfortable position and commenced on what had become a ritual; the diaper change, re-swaddle, and the release of nursing as she settled back in my arms, content with a full belly at last.
And as her eyelids fluttered back into the sleep of newborns, I sprang into action.
Carefully, I pulled on a pair of comfortable (and blessedly, loose) gray yoga pants and a long-sleeved shirt to ward off the unusual chill of the May morning. I pulled my hair up in a clip and splashed some water on my face, realizing that, in what had become a familiar feeling, I was rather hungry.
My eyes glanced over to the kitchen, silent and still clean from last night, the promise of a quiet breakfast awaiting me, and then back to my beautiful sleeping baby.
And in that moment, I chose her.
I picked her up, tucking her into the crook of my arm and padded out to the newly-remodeled kitchen of our tiny farmhouse apartment and slowly, deliberately, went about the business of fixing myself breakfast. Pulling the bowl out of the cupboard, a spoon, a totally unhealthy choice of Raisin Bran Crunch and pouring the cereal, then the milk, all with glances at my daughter’s sleeping face the whole time.
I settled down at the counter with my daughter still in my arms and ate my breakfast, so proud of myself and my one-handed mothering abilities.
Looking back at the moment, I can’t help but smile at myself, the happy and proud first-time mother who really had no reason to hold that baby girl, but simply couldn’t bear to be parted from her for a moment.
And I’m proud of her.
I’m proud of that young mother who didn’t do the “responsible” thing and let her baby sleep so she could enjoy a peaceful breakfast; I’m proud that she made her own choices as a mother and never looked back. I’m glad she enjoyed the time that would pass more quickly than any elderly woman at the grocery store could have warned her.
And I’m glad that her first memories as a mother?
Are the ones of holding her daughter close to her heart.