I welcomed motherhood unprepared. My husband and I didn’t really make plans to have a baby at that time. Besides, we were still enjoying our lives as carefree yuppies. And I still had a lot of worrying and planning to do in my own life.
When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I felt like my world was about to collapse. I thought of all the promises I made to my parents, and how I was going to hurt and disappoint them once they found out. It turned out better than I expected, though. I’m just glad they supported me all the way.
Looking back, I still can’t believe that a little person was once growing inside me. I had this angel inside my womb, with a heart beating differently from mine, but it’s beating with mine. I couldn’t believe it—not until I reached my third trimester and his little legs started kicking. It was something only mothers, like us, will ever feel. I thought it was the most joyous moment of my life.
An unfortunate situation happened during my pregnancy. On my 33rd week, I was admitted to the hospital and the doctor told me that I was to stay there until it was safe to gave birth. It was on my 35th week that they decided that my son should come out already, because it was getting dangerous for both of us. It wasn’t even my due date yet, and I didn’t know if it was safe enough.
Those were the most stressful days of my life. Worrying about my child’s life, and worrying for mine, too. I did not stop praying to God to give me strength and for a safe delivery. Because I know that it should not end there. I need to be a mom. My son needs me. And I have to be strong for both of us. Motherhood does not only mean sacrifice but being responsible. Thank God because after staying three weeks at the hospital, we were both safe and healthy.
Being a first time mom isn’t easy, but it’s not difficult either. Being a first time mom is challenging, because it will test your patience and your faith to your self. You have to wake up every two hours to feed your little one, change his diaper, and check if he’s okay. You will stay awake at until the wee hours of the morning, and probably get sleep when the sun’s already up. You barely have enough time to take a shower, because he needs your undivided attention and most probably wake up when he doesn’t feel you near.
Being a working mom is not easy, too. I travel from Laguna to Makati, five days a week at three hours a day. I stay at the office for nine hours. When I get home, I take some time to bond with him. Then feed him, make him sleep, and clean his bottles. That’s the only time my husband and I get to eat dinner, have a conversation, and then go to sleep. Being a mom means staying strong and healthy for your family.
Being a mom means not having a thriving social live, by the world’s standards at least. You won’t be able to join your friends for gatherings and events. You have a little time for movies and dinners. Sometimes, you will think of it and feel bad about yourself, but when you realize that you are sacrificing these times because of your child, then you’ll know it’s worth it. Every minute with your kid is precious.
I remember my husband and I talking about us being too possessed by our son now. We remind ourselves to take this opportunity to be with him always, to give him all the love he needs—because we both know that when he grows up, becomes independent, we can no longer kiss him or hug him always. That is why, we always enjoy every moment we’re together.
To become a mother isn’t difficult, to be a mother is.
Everyone can be a mother if they want to bear a child. But not everyone is capable of being one, and making sacrifices and taking responsibility. Being a mom means being selfless but loving. It means being deprived of sleep, of social life, and even a time for yourself. But despite all the difficulties, I can still say that being a mother is amazing.
Two years ago, a friend asked me about what I was afraid of. Unlike other girls, I am not afraid of cockroaches, getting dark skin, or gaining weight. I was adventurous, a risk-taker before I became a mom. I loved to travel, climb mountains, and go island hopping with my friends. I was almost fearless. But, that was two years ago. If I get asked the same question again, I now know a concrete answer: not being a mother.
Happy Mothers’ Day to all the mothers out there!
Photo: Atria Books (Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit)