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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

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What it Means to be a Mom

For eight long years, I have dreamt about being a mother on Mother's Day. After countless fertility treatments, pregnancy losses, and health scares, I finally have a baby of my own. I had always envisioned being a mom like something from a movie: you wake up to a happy baby who has a clean diaper and smells like roses. Nothing could have prepared me for the real motherhood.

My son was born eight weeks premature and was in the neonatal intensive care unit for two months. He was the size of my hand when he was born, and I was not able to hold him or see him for the first time for almost 48 hours. Usually when I am faced with health scares of close family members, I cry. When my mom had a health scare years back, I could barely function because I was so worried.

But, now that I had a son in the NICU fighting for his life, I was the strongest I have ever been in my life. I took in medical information that I did not know and didn't flinch at the various tests and procedures my son had to face. I spoke with doctors and nurses about his care, and wrote blog updates for family and friends with as much detail as possible.

The first few weeks of being a new mom was nothing had I ever imagined. Even in my worst case scenario I never imagined I would be spending countless hours sitting next to an incubator and praying that everything would be okay while trying to smile and make small talk with the nurses and staff around me. Instead, I imagined myself unhooking my son from the machines and swooping him away from the hospital so he could enjoy being a baby cradled in his mother's warm embrace.

Now, for my first mother's day, I am able to reflect back on these first eight hectic months of my sons life and say, "We made it through a heck a lot of stuff, now let the fun begin!". I am looking forward to messy diapers, paint on the walls, noodles shoved up noses, and hysterical crying that only a car ride can cure. The tantrums in the mall, the screaming when leaving a fun place to play, and the long hours of countless questions are all things I am looking forward to. As long as my son is home and healthy, that is all that matters.

So, what does it mean to be a mom? Well, to me it means being the biggest advocate, strongest rock and protector that was ever created. When I picture my son a few years from now coming home from school crying about a bad grade or getting in trouble for something silly, I can hug him and say, "We have been through worse than this, so lets figure out what to do to make this better". I guess the NICU stay transformed me in to the mother I always wanted to be, I just didn't know it would be so tough to finally get here.

Happy Mother's Day!

Bio: Lisa Lopez lives with her husband, son and three dogs in Pennsylvania. She is a writer who contributes various blog entries for a few different sites ranging from cloth diapering to being an animal lover.

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Emily said...

Absolutely! I never imagined going through surgery with my 3-week old son, but I found a strength I didn't know I had during the process. I knew something wasn't right, and I insisted on taking him to the ER instead of waiting a few days until his pediatrician visit-if I hadn't, his condition would have quickly progressed to life-threatening! That was the first time I truly felt like a mother, when it became very real to me that this was MY son and the lengths I would go to for his sake.

Amanda said...

I had to wait a few years myself. after miscarriages, a tumor, and being told it wouldn't happen for us, now 12 years later i just gave birth to our 3rd baby. I treasure every Mothers day too. So glad that you were able to remain strong and now have many happy Mommy days ahead