I never had that strong urge many young girls get, the urge that tells them they want to eventually be a mother. Sure, I used to play house with my friends, pretending I was the mom to that perfect imaginary baby.
As a young teenager I started thinking up names for my future children, the children I would have with my first boyfriend, Matt. If we had a son, he would be Reese, after a character in the movie Terminator. I never did have a son and luckily no children came of my young relationship with Matt. I do still love the name Reese though.
When Jimmy and I married, having children wasn't even on our radar. I always knew that he wanted to some day be a father, but I was still in that undecided, terrified stage. I've always been an extremely codependent person. How the hell could I nurture a child when I couldn't even nurture myself?
But it happened, and quite suddenly. One day, when we had been married for three years or so it finally popped into my head. I think I'd like to get pregnant. Not, I want to be a mom; I hadn't thought that far ahead. I was more interested in the whole experience of being pregnant.
I think it was two months later that the little stick thing turned up with a blue line. Happiness, yes. Terror? Hell yes. It finally hit me. I'm pregnant, but holy shit, there's going to be a baby when the pregnancy is done!
How am I going to do this? What if I get morning sickness? Throwing up is my worst fear in the whole world. And even if I don't get morning sickness, babies get sick! How am I going to deal with that?
I wish I could tell you that once Mikayla was born the phobia went away, or at least got better. But it didn't. In fact, it got exponentially worse. And it wasn't just the emetophobia that was affecting me, but agoraphobia and panic disorder. I never went anywhere alone with Mikayla for nearly the entire first year of her life.
Fast forward another three years or so when I had another, I want another baby moment. A month later, I was pregnant with Madison.
Now I've got two girls dependent on me, plus a host of phobias and "mental" disorders which affect my life every. single. minute. of every. single. day.
There has not been even one time that I have gotten in the car with my kids without thinking, "What if they get sick? What will I do?" I completely freak out around any kind of gastrointestinal illness. You've heard of the flight or fight response? Mine is flight, then catatonia.
All of this to tell you that motherhood, to me, is a daily challenge. Yes, it is a challenge to every mom, but for me it goes beyond the everyday trial and errors that come along with children. I live in constant fear of something that to most other people is just a normal bodily function. An unpleasant one, to be sure, but something that is not feared and obsessed over 24/7. Do my fears affect my children in a negative way? Hell yes, and I hate it that it does. I've tried my hardest to hide my ever-present terror from my girls but I've only been partially successful. Mikayla is my strong, fearless child, the one who helps shelter Madison from my weaker moments. Madison, on the other hand, is her mother's daughter and already exhibits signs of having the same "issues" as me, fear of what she terms #3 among them.
My different problems make me less of a mother than I want to be, but I still wouldn't change having my girls for all the money in the world. Because I may not be a perfect mom, or even a really good one, but I do the best I can, and hope that with enough love from me, my girls will never look back and wish they had a different kind of mother. I pray that somehow I will be able to instill in them the independence that I have never had. I will wrap them up securely in my love, my respect for them, my dreams for their futures. And if one day they become the strong, powerful, loving, independent women I wish them to be, maybe then I will be able to look back and feel pride in knowing that in some small way I helped get them there.
Sharing a silly moment with Mikayla, December 2008
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