birth of a mother

while we make the transition from Utah to Arizona, i have some wonderful guest bloggers lined up to fill in on the blog. i hope you enjoy their awesome posts and show them all the love & respect they deserve!

this post from Rachel of Her Threaded Needle is absolutely beautiful!
she so very eloquently puts into words the incredible, overwhelming feeling of motherhood once your child is born.
i haven’t had a similar experience {yet} with Elijah and his doctor but there have been many other times where i knew, without a shadow of a doubt, despite what books or blogs or doctors said, what was best for my baby.
that amazing mama instinct has come over me countless times to help bless all of our lives.

i hope you enjoy this post as much as i did.
and for you all you mothers out there—future, pregnant, new, veterans—i hope you are able to be blessed by Rachel’s story to feel the comfort you need for you and your children.

I asked my mother once if she loved all her babies the same.  She has this thing she does, you know, where she says "you're my favorite" to each of us.  But I wanted to know if she loved her first baby the best, just a tiny bit more than the rest.  She said she loved us all, and of course she does.  I don't know, you see, how you love other babies, because I only have one tiny man.  But I think first babies are special, and not just because I am one.

First babies are special because their birth is the birth of a mother.

It's funny; the changes that happen to a mama when she is born.  A baby, a precious, tiny, new baby, and a mama.  One grown inside the other, two hearts beating in separate bodies now, but inseparably linked.

After I birthed my son, I laid him on my now-empty stomach, and looked at his perfect face.  And in those moments, a mama tiger grew, and filled the empty spaces inside me, and there.  A mama was born.

The tiger grew to protect my son with a fierceness I never before possessed.  I didn't like conflict, and I always accepted authority figures- the doctors, the teachers, my parents.  The mama tiger was there to give me the strength to fight for my son, to research and pray, to listen and teach and guide as only I could.

My own mama told me it's a mother's job to be an advocate for her child; to go to bat for them while they're still so small.  To know when to stand between them and the world, and when to let the child venture forth on his own.  It's difficult, I think, to know when to tame that mama tiger, and when to release her from her cage.

My Luke was born tongue tied, and the lactation consultant at the hospital told me to make sure to have his pediatrician look at it.  I did; he glanced at it and said it was fine.  My mama tiger was still very new, still growing and weak.  And what did I know about nursing and tongue tied babies?

By the time he was a few weeks old, he wasn't able to nurse any longer- it hurt his poor mouth.  So I pumped, and pumped and slowly he stopped being able to eat from the bottle too.  My poor baby would cry and scream from hunger; his tongue too tired to suck more than an ounce at a time.  I squirted milk from the bottle down his throat to help him.  It didn't help; he choked.

I consulted the doctor again.  It's fine, he said.
It's not fine, I said.  He is starving.
He's gaining weight.
He's starving.

Did you know it costs $300 for a doctor to take a pair of scissors and snip a baby's frenum?  That is more than it cost us to have our baby in the first place.  Our insurance wouldn't cover it.  $300 is a lot, my husband said.  And the doctor says he doesn't need it.  We can do it if he needs it, but are you sure it isn't something else?

I was sure.  That mama tiger, she knows.  So back we went, for a second opinion.

His tongue is 90% tied down, this doctor said.  If you ever want him to be able to nurse, we need to snip it.
The first doctor said, well, if you're sure, we can do it.
So we did it.  The best $300 I ever spent.

10 minutes later, we were home.  We settled into my favorite green chair by the window, and we nursed for the first time in weeks.  The mama tiger purred triumphantly in my chest as I beamed over my little one, finally able to eat and fill his stomach. 

I slipped into motherhood easily with confidence born from this mama tiger.  There have been other battles since this, and there will be more to come.  I imagine this mama tiger will grow as my body grows more babies to love and protect.

because when a baby is born, so is a mother.
and I think, just maybe, they'll all be my favorites too.




::p.s. Cafe Rio winner announced here


Tami Rebekah said...

Ahh Rachel's son is soo sweet! What a great story! Thanks for sharing Megan.

Pam Mueller said...

So beautifully said!
BTW, Luke is my favorite grandson and Rachel is my favorite child!

A Proverbs 31 Wife said...

Love this post! I watch other peoples children and love them dearly, yet in my heart I know that there is no way I can love this child as much as their parent. Even my brothers whom I practially raised are still just my brothers.
I can't wait for the time when the child I care for is one that is a part of me. Your post is very simular to what has been running through my head these past months.