You. Me. Us. Them. We became mothers.
“Did you have them naturally?” she asked me when she heard that both of my babies were born at over nine pounds.I had my children vaginally, but I didn’t have them without medication. My body formed my children, grew my children, and birthed my children, and yet, I’m never sure how to answer this question. Are they asking me if I had them vaginally? By C-section? With medicine? Without medicine? Regardless, I became a mother.
“She took the easy way out,” she said about a woman who had a C-section because her son was breach. In some cases, cesarean sections are life or death scenarios for the mother or the child. And if they aren’t and are more of a matter of convenience, there is nothing easy about having your belly cut open to deliver life. Her body formed her child, grew her child, and she also birthed her child. She simply has a scar to prove that she became a mother.
“It’s so sad she couldn’t have her own,” she commented about a mother who adopted her child. Genetically connected with the same skin, eye, and hair color or not, your children are your own. There is nothing sad about what I see in your eyes when you look at your child. By adopting this child, you became a mother.
“I knew she would cave!” she declared about a strong-willed woman who had promised in her birth plan that she wouldn’t accept medication during the birth of her child and had proclaimed to all that her body was made for labor. After fifteen hours of trying to follow her own proclamation, she asked for an epidural. Two hours later, her baby was born. She was crestfallen to go back on her own word, but it taught her that kids change almost everything; this is how she became a mother.
“She is such a warrior,” she revered about a mother who gave birth at home without medication. This warrior believed in the power of her body and it didn’t fail her. She had an uncomplicated childbirth, void of any medication. Mothers are warriors: warriors of love and light for our little ones, brought into the world in whatever way we could. And this strong warrior became a mother.
“She just didn’t want to be pregnant anymore,” she commented about a woman who was induced two days before her due date. What she doesn’t know is that the woman’s blood pressure went sky high and an induction saved the both her life and the life of her daughter. Induced for the health of them both, she became a mother.
“Is she your biological daughter?” she asked me when I was recently out shopping with my red-headed daughter (I’m a brunette). She is my biological child; however, biological or not, she’s my baby and I’m her mother. And for all the mothers who have had children in alternate ways—with an egg donor or some other way—through those children, they became a mother.
“It’s so sad that she never became a mother,” she said about a woman who had delivered her baby still. But even though her precious baby was stillborn, she is a mother. Because despite the pain and the grief, nothing can diminish the fact that she feels a mother’s love. She truly became a mother.
“She shouldn’t have a VBAC,” she decided about a friend who had a C-section with her first baby but was trying for a vaginal with her second. The mother just wanted to try for a vaginal birth, and this time, she beat the odds and she was successful. No matter that each birth was different, the end result was the same: she became someone’s mother.
“She fell apart” she judged about the woman who was crying and screaming and swearing when he was born. She was exhausted and overwhelmed and terrified. She fell apart and in the falling apart, she became whole. It might not have been pretty, but she became a mother.
“I didn’t get to hold her right away,” she told me about the birth of her own daughter. Her labor was difficult and the baby was whisked away for treatment for swallowing meconium. She will always remember how she wanted to hold her baby right away, but what she will really remember is that she became a mother.
You. Me. Us. Them. We became mothers. While the journey to motherhood is meaningful, the judgment needs to stop. Because, in the end, we are mothers. And that's really what matters.
This originally appeared on Kara's blog, Mothering the Divide. Come, join Kara's tribe on Facebook.
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