Friday, September 17, 2010
I never knew if I wanted children. Growing up I never had a great relationship with my mother. That mother-daughter bond was never there, and she never really had an appreciation for her children. I can't recall a time when my mother was truly and genuinely happy being a mom. Those little moments of sharing an ice cream cone or dancing silly. Those moments never happened for us. My mom didn't have an easy childhood. She came from a family of 16 children and true poverty. For this, I believe she learned to be selfish at a young age, and it certainly followed her into adulthood. When there were onlookers, she would pretend. She pretended well, but when the show was over, so was the fun. I don't have many good memories of my mother growing up.
My dad has always played a very intricate role in my life. My dad was always the one that took interest in my activities, the one to motivate me into doing activities, no matter how loopy or short lived the interest was. He would wake up at the crack of dawn to drive me to the barn so I could ride. He would delay paying bills, fixing the vehicle or cancel a fishing trip to make sure his kids were taken care of and had what they needed. That was natural to him, and he would never think twice about doing it. I won't say my dad did everything perfectly and never made mistakes, because he did. We all do, both as children and as parents. I can't say that I always recognized and fully appreciated his efforts and sacrifices; does any child? It wasn't until adulthood, and more so parenthood, that made me realize how much my dad did for me. He is an amazing person with a heart so big that it is often taken advantage of.
When my husband and I met we both stressed we didn't want marriage or children. Drink, party and fun. That's what our life was. My husband, a hip and handsome band guy, also lacked the bond with his father that I lacked with my mother. I am sure this also played a role in his decision to not wanting children. His dad was always in the background, while his mother and step-father were the ones who raised him. They did a wonderful job, but I am sure my husband always longed for his father to invest interest in him as I always longed for it from my mother. In us lacking that important bond, we both feared having children of our own. How could we possibly become a mother and a father when we didn't learn first hand how it was to be done?
My husband and I found ourselves unexpectedly pregnant just before we married. We were shocked, terrified, then incredibly excited. Not too long after finding out, we found ourselves in the situation of a great loss. I had miscarried and it destroyed us. It tested our love for each other as we hit a path of depression. We didn't plan it. It wasn't an intentional pregnancy, but that pregnancy became so wished upon and loved. That event brought us even closer together, and showed us that despite our fears, we did want to become parents.
After we married we knew we wanted to have a baby. I believed it would be simple. I mean, we found ourselves pregnant without trying. Month after month, nothing. I would POAS (pee on a stick) every month only to be disappointed. I would see others who weren't trying, finding themselves pregnant. I was jealous, discouraged and unsettled. Was there a higher power telling me it wasn't meant to be? Is this a sign that I'm not fit to be a mom? We pushed forward. After about 9 months of trying, it happened!
We had been out on the boat all day with my husbands family. Tubing, water skiing and some beer drinking. I had stopped POAS at this point because the disappointment was unbearable. While my husband and I were tubing, I jokingly said "it would suck if I found out I was pregnant" because bumping around on the tube, drinking beer and eating junk really wouldn't be ideal to say the least. I knew I was late, but I often was. That evening I decided to get a home test. I expected it to be negative, hence the tubing and beer drinking, but it's almost an obsession when trying to conceive. You have to pee on that stick. I peed, waited 30 seconds, and squinted and hoped to see those lines. Almost immediately they were there! Positive!!! I ran out to my husband with a giant smile and shared the news. We were over the moon!! We laid there telling each other not to get too excited yet. You never know how things could turn out. Who were we kidding? We were already discussing names! I photo messaged a picture of the test to my SIL, who was about 3 months pregnant herself. I had to tell someone! My husband and I would say that this was the most wanted pregnancy in the world. We were walking on clouds.
After a pregnancy full of every symptom and ache and pain you could imagine, my son was born. Love at first sight does exist. The love for my son consumed me. From that moment on, I was to be known as Mom. My husband and I would stare at him and tears of love, joy and relief would fall from our eyes. There he was, our life. Spewing those words "My son..." the first 1000 times gave me a rush. My son! I have a son, my baby, my pride, my everything! Amazing.
In having experienced bringing life into the world, it has led me to even more questions about my mother, my ability to parent in a healthy fashion and how my boys will reflect on their childhood. While I will always question how a mother can live every day not knowing how her child is, or knowing who her grandchildren look like, I know that my ability to raise my children into well adjusted, loving and emotionally stable adults, is more than apparent. I will never be the perfect parent. I will make mistakes I wish I could redo and fix. I will question myself on more than 100 occasions, but I can promise myself, my husband, and most importantly my children, that I will always and forever give it my all. I will be a better parent than my mother, I will always put my children ahead of me, and they will always have the necessities in life, no matter what my husband and I have to do to ensure this. Cancel a hair appointment? Done. Delay a bill payment for a month? No problem. My children will never have to question whether or not their parents love and adore them. They will never have that feeling that they don't get enough hugs and kisses, or that we don't care. Because of how we were raised, we overcompensate. We snuggle, tell our children we love them hourly, and more importantly, act in ways to show our true devotion to our children.
In the end, your childhood doesn't have to reflect on who you become as a parent. It is up to you to make decision to give your children everything you have to offer. Bond (with your parents) or no bond, it doesn't matter. If you want to be a supportive and loving parent, you can be. As adults we make choices. The choice I made was to be the best parent I can be, and it has been the most rewarding choice I have ever made. Hug your babies, sing a silly song and make memories. That's what life is all about.
-Connected Mom, Tammy