The Moment That Defined Me

I waited until I was “ready” to have a child. By then, I figured I knew what I was doing. I would get pregnant and have this cute little baby to love and that would be all there was to it. I lived in a fairy tale of expectations. Everything was going to be perfect.

There was no reality involved.

Fast forward to the day my daughter was born. You can read about all that insanity here. My defining moment in all this was when I saw my daughter for the first time in the NICU. This shit was real and it was scary. I was a mom. HER mom. Every decision I made from here on had to involve the needs of this tiny, slimy creature. (Ok, she got a lot cuter after day one.)

What wires?  "I'm a mom!" Photo: K. Stevenson
What wires? “I’m a mom!”
Photo: K. Stevenson

I’ve always had trouble making decisions. I procrastinate and hem and haw. I don’t like the permanence of decisions. The idea of “no backsies,” if you will, stops my heart. But now I had a child to care for, one clinging to life. Decisions had to be made. There was only forward.

I surprised myself. There was no time for fear so I made decisions, hard ones. And we all came out on the other side stronger for it. But as the days turned into months and years, there were more decisions to be made. There was, still, only forward.

The sheer enormity of it is enough to make me want to curl up in a ball. Because when you’re responsible for someone else, even the little things become big things. But every day, I surprised myself even more. I didn’t curl up in a ball. I became stronger than I ever dreamed I could be. I can do hard things. I am a mom. HER mom.





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