Mama At Last


What is motherhood? Many never get to experience conceiving, carrying or delivering a child. Some experience part of that process. Others watch from the side lines and take over after the child is born. Surely, they’re mothers just the same. Caring for a child, whether biological or otherwise, part time or full time; that act of nurturing is defining in the role of motherhood. Adoptive mother. Foster mother. Step mother. The role of motherhood is a state of being every bit as much as it is biological or legal belonging. And so is fatherhood but for the sake of this piece of writing, I am referring to motherhood as it relates to me.
I’ve seen too many examples of mothers who have failed; where the step mother is the one who has stepped up to be a mother figure in the children’s lives or a teacher or coach has become a beacon of light to a child who lives in a home that’s far from a safe haven. And I am not speaking of making mistakes, which we all do and will continue to. I’m speaking of choices that are selfish and frankly lazy. It infuriates me when I see a mother on the bus or playground pay more attention to the shopping website on her phone than her child who’s craving her attention; or the mother who doesn’t notice or ignores a child in distress. There are numerous times when I’ve wanted to step in and just pick up a child, to be of comfort or a voice of support when none was given. When we take on the role of motherhood, it is our sacred duty to be attentive to nurturing the child that has been placed in our care.
Over the years, Mother’s Day has been a pivotal moment filled with immense gratitude for my own mother and deep anguish for not being one myself. But then I ponder on what my life’s journey has been thus far. The endless number of children I have cared for, loved and given of myself to. The impenetrable dedication to nieces and nephews for whom I would give my life without a moment’s hesitation, just the same as I will the boy whom I am carrying. My photo albums are filled with pictures where I am holding babies and playing with children. It has always been so. My state of being motherly has been present throughout my life. Yet until this moment, I have never felt the ownership of motherhood because I haven’t had a child to call my own. That fact has brought on more pain than the insurmountable amount of joy that children have brought to my life thus far. In fact, it’s difficult to surpass the depth of darkness that I’ve lived through to comprehend that it is turning.
My little boy moves and kicks a lot and it is the most beautiful to witness. I feel him from within, I feel him with my hands from outside. I speak to him, I sing to him and I can’t believe that he is mine. I long to hold him in my arms and to discover what he looks like and who he is. The state of motherhood has always been part of who I am but not until now do I feel entitled to embrace the title. To all those out there who do not get to hold the official title of motherhood but encompass, for all intents and purposes, the practicalities of its characteristics, you are not alone. My life is about to change dramatically but I will never forget where I have been, what I have felt nor lose my empathy for those whose lives will not.

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