Right after you were born, they put you in my arms. I cried a little bit and I kissed your little face, and then I quickly handed you back to the nurse. “Is she okay?” I asked again and again. “She sounds like she’s choking.”
They took you away and cleaned out your lungs, and then your cry sounded a little healthier. And then they cleaned you up. They weighed you and measured you and put you in a diaper.
Your brother was enchanted by Sid the Science Kid and you were over on the other side of the room with your dad and some nurses and I felt for a brief moment like I was just going to die if I didn’t hold one of you right now. Tears streamed down my face and I pretended they were just tears of relief. I couldn’t take it anymore and I said, “This isn’t right. I’m a mother with no babies.”
The nurses all laughed and what was probably only a few minutes later, though it felt like many, they put you back in my arms so I could nurse you for the first time. “There you go,” she said. “Now you’re a mother with a baby again.”
Every once in a while I have a moment where I feel sick to myself as I wonder, what does it look like when I’m constantly a mother with no babies?
What does it look like when your dad and I have a talk and decide we’re done having children? What do I look like as I drop a bag of maternity clothes off at Goodwill, as I trade in What to Expect When You’re Expecting and offer your old children’s books to a family at church?
What does it look like when nobody needs me? When nobody feels better with a quick kiss from me or when nobody wants to spend all day every day holding my hand? What does it look like when I don’t get to wear anybody on my chest anymore or when you’re all out with friends at the same time and my house is quiet?
Who will I be when I’m not a mama? I know I will always be a mother. I know that. But I won’t always be a mama. This time is so short and moves so fast! My stretch marks will fade and my house will stay clean and quite frankly, I’m just so not interested in that right now.
Some days I think about my grandparents’ big road trip and how great it will be to do something like that with your dad someday. I think about how nice it will be when he says “I’m going to the store” and I can say “Can I come?” instead of “I wish I could come but I just got the baby to sleep.”
Today is not that day. Today is a day I feel like pregnancy is not so bad and breastfeeding is beautiful and stretch marks are a badge of honor. Today I want crayon walls and smudgy windows and spit-up-stained t shirts. Today I want to rock you both until my shoulders ache and I want to read Sheep in a Jeep five times in a row. I want to nurse you to sleep and I want to color with you and I want to believe that this will be my life forever. Gummy smiles and mispronounced words and tiny toes jabbing into my ribs in the middle of the night.
Today, you are my whole world. Today I’m sitting between you and typing this because I don’t even want to go hang out in the other room while you sleep. I want at least one of you to wake up from this nap early so I can hold you and kiss you and whisper to you about how loved you are and how lucky we are and how beautiful life is.
Today, while I am still a mama, I’m going to enjoy every single minute of it. Every sticky, loud, chaotic, beautiful minute of it.