When I was just under three months pregnant with my son, his dad decided he didn’t want a baby. He never said so, but I could tell. So one day I just decided that plan B would be the plan and that I would have the baby and live with my mother. Then when I was seven months pregnant, my mother died and my world spun out of control. I had just lost my brother two years before, and was already on shaky ground emotionally, but the break up and the losses were a lot for me. Plan C came into action by default. There was no plan C.
My step dad helped me out by paying my salary even though I wasn’t able to work most of my pregnancy, and my baby's paternal grandparents helped out financially too… but for the most part, emotionally I was on my own. I was a mess.
My little sister spent the most time with me and I had asked her to help me with my Lamaze class. We showed up to class with my pillow and sat on the floor and listened to the nurse explain a few things – when some seven months pregnant girl asked if she drank chocolate milk, "Would it hurt the baby?"
My sister and I started laughing and one of us (I think Angie) said something about CMS (Chocolate Milk Syndrome) and we just couldn’t stop laughing so we had to leave. I was 33 years old, and had a fair amount of knowledge regarding the human body – and very little patience for those kinds of questions. To be fair, I was an intolerant ass.
The last month of my pregnancy my son's dad finally started coming around to take me to doctor appointments or run errands for me. On my last appointment before my due date when I got to the doctor’s office my blood pressure was high (I had preeclampsia) and my doctor said he thought he better deliver the baby that day. “Wait!” I said. "I don’t know how to breathe!" “Then we will do a C-section.” He said. I was not prepared. Suddenly this little package was going to be here and I was freaked out. How was I going to manage? How would we live? Crap!
The birth was uneventful. I was awake but felt no pain. I was pissed when they took me back to the recovery room and his dad was there holding MY baby, before I had gotten a chance to even look at him. Pissed is an understatement, really-- I held that grudge for years.
Then, I saw him. They laid him on my chest and I could feel his tiny body breathing and all was right with the world. He was very tiny, just 5 pounds, with a head full of black hair, and the most old soul eyes I had ever seen. And when he was 2 or 3 days old he looked at me with his little bobble-head and I knew, he could see right through me, straight to my heart, straight passed my tough exterior, straight passed my mistakes and heartaches and all the shit that I had endured until that moment. My baby.
I made so many mistakes as a parent, I can’t even believe it. (Good thing we can’t get fired LOL). He rolled off the bed I’m sure more than once. I let him sleep with me until he was five and it broke my back. I drank to excess until finally when he was four tears old I sobered up and never suffered another cranky hangover or hideously stupid decision again. But most certainly I yelled when I shouldn't have and didn't when I should have.
To this day, no one gets me like my boy. We don’t have to talk to know what the other is thinking. I am a little nutty about people in my space or getting too close to my face, but I can’t hold him close enough. (Maybe a little bit of a smother mother.)
My son saved my life. I say it all the time. Without him, I don’t know what would have happened to me. Nothing good, I know that. It’s funny how life works out that way. I worked hard to make him proud of me, every single thing I accomplished in my in my life, from artwork, publication of stories, teaching myself everything there is to know about the Marine Corps (so much so that he asked me questions) and 2nd and 3rd careers, all happened because he believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.My only advice to new moms is this.
1. Don’t forget to have a life, don’t stop reading and learning and growing as a human being
2. Continue to follow your passions and share them with your child
3. Don’t cry over spilled milk (or spit up)
4. Listen to advice then do what feels right for you. NONE of us have all the answers.