I spent the night at my mom’s house on a Friday night. It was February, the weather damp and chilly. My younger brother was in for the weekend from college, and he cooked breakfast for us the next morning. I was putting down some food (it was really good!), and he jokingly says “geez, Ash are you pregnant?” … of course, I said no and we laughed it off. But out of literally nowhere, I see my mom in my peripheral vision and we made eye contact. She silently mouthed to me “you’re pregnant, aren’t you?” … and I shook my head yes. She was the only one that knew. She figured it out the night before at my little sister’s soccer practice. There was a 5 month oldish baby sitting by us in the stands, and my mom said the way I looked at the baby she just knew.
Gotta love that motherhood intuition!
Mom and I talked later that Saturday morning. I was a little over a month along. She told me I had options. Without an inkling of doubt, I told her I wanted to be a mom. I knew I wanted to raise my baby, even if I did it alone. I was ok with that. Ok with it enough that I knew I had eight-ish months to get comfortable in my situation. Valuable time to work on me. I didn’t have a choice but to feel my emotions and work through my feelings; distractions and vices weren’t an option this time. I wanted to be a healthy mom, so I really took advantage of those final months only needing to worry about me. My healing butterflied and caterpillared, and I recognized the work on me was only beginning. I was ready to take on this thing called motherhood. I wanted to be good at it; I was determined.
I remember laying in the hospital bed during labor and telling my mom I wasn’t ready for the baby to come …
He was two weeks early. My pregnancy was easy and smooth; I had just gone to the doctor two days before and nothing exciting was happening, so I expected to go close to, if not on, my due date. I think he popped the bag with those long legs and big hands, the little sucker! It was a Thursday morning. I woke up at the usual time; it was a normal work day. The first thing I did was tinkle. And when I stood up, well it was go time … ready or not. I called my mom, I called my dad, I took a shower, I went to the hospital …
My mom told me, well you better get ready sweetie because this baby is coming!
Labor was 16 hours long, again we were expecting longer. I arrived at the hospital around 9am, and my labor didn’t really progress all day. So around hour 12, my doctor took me off all medication (Pitocin) for one hour. During hours 13-14, medication resumed and the season premier of Grey’s Anatomy aired. I watched the whole thing with an assist from epidural bliss. Hour 15 is when my best friend was painting my nails and my contractions started going crazy. I couldn’t feel anything, maybe a little pressure. The nurse checked me out and BAM, in 4 hours I went from “we will need to do a Cesarean in the morning” to “time to have a baby.” It was almost 11:00pm. After the lead up from labor all day, I was not prepared for the mental gymnastics it takes to see yourself through the actual act of giving birth while numb from epidural. It made me anxious but I love a good mental game, I was strong.
Our bodies are powerful, ladies, we are made to do this. It’s a pretty incredible experience!
I made the L&D nurses nervous when they tried to hand me my baby for the first time. He was covered in birth and that’s just gross, and I (unapologetically) just can’t have that. So I asked them to please clean him off. My mom assured them it was ok. I could see the tinge of nervousness in her eyes too … was I too selfish for this? But Mom is one of the few who knows how to tame me, so she catered and trusted. She knew it was ok, everything was ok. And it was! I was holding my perfect baby. Motherhood was peaceful, comfortable, honest, my heart was full. A connection had been created between two souls during the first beat of pure love, forever bonded by a relationship rooted in partnership and seeded with gentleness. It was time for us to go home.
Fast forward 9.5 years … present day.
Being a #boymom is my favorite hat to ever wear. I’ve really immersed myself in it. It’s certainly an adventure where I’m learning more than going sometimes. I don’t think I ever had a concrete idea of what raising a boy would be like, but as each year passes and my son gets older, I find myself thinking this is different than how I thought it would be. Boys are dramatic and have big emotions. Their feelings enter a dimension I never knew existed. He teaches me so much about myself, and he’s not afraid to challenge boundaries. He’s respectful and very kind.
I think the thing he has imparted on me the most is compassion. His heart is so big, so pure, so curiously innocent. He wants to know things, the facts. But he still wanders, his imagination is quite creative at times! His mind never shuts off (I know what that’s like). The last year was challenging for him mentally and intellectually. We got through some treacherous, rocky unknown territory. Big lessons were learned. Disappointment was the hardest challenge for both of us. I really don’t think I had felt this kind of disappointment as a parent before. It was heartbreaking. He could feel it too. But we got through it like we always do, and we continue on the journey of growing.
The roles in our house are understood; I am the mom and he is the son. I am not his friend, but I am his person. No one loves him more than me. I think mothers and sons have a special bond organically, but when you get to raise one on your own, there’s a unique closeness bonus. The respect we have for each other runs deep, we are a team. We tell the truth (usually, and sometimes to a fault), we don’t have secrets. We communicate our feelings, we express and feel emotions, we don’t bury things. The past 10 years have been the most fun of my life. I love being a mom. I love that I allowed myself the privilege of being his mom.
There are many paths to happiness, being Nathan’s mom is mine.