I Never Felt Like ‘Mommy’ Until My Baby Was Finally Born

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Updated February 26, 2017
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Image: Annie Spratt

You’d think that in my mid-twenties I’d have already found my place in this world, whether through a career, a personal interest or just feeling like a complete and whole human being. But if I had any thought in my mind that I was complete before having my first child, I was completely wrong.

Before the birth of my son, I was wife, sister, daughter, sales assistant and roller derby player. That’s not a huge amount of titles to have, but it was enough for me. I thought I was complete. Sure, I wanted to be more than a sales assistant, I wanted to be a better roller derby player and I wanted to continue to be a better wife, but I never knew how much I had wanted to be a mother. I’m in no way bragging when I say that we got pregnant pretty soon after beginning to really try, but without even having planning it, I had a two new titles: pregnant woman and mom-to-be.

I was that pregnant woman you love to hate (I admit it!) — you know the ones, no morning sickness, no heartburn, sleeps well (at least at the start). During my pregnancy I felt guilty when friends who were also expecting were spending days in bed sick to their stomachs, losing their appetites, sleeping terribly and getting heartburn at the smell of a cheeseburger! I started avoiding answering inquiring minds that wanted to know how my pregnancy was going with quick two-word answers “It’s okay!”, “Everything’s fine!”, “Going well!”. Even though, I had questions of my own: When would I start showing? When would I feel baby kick? But the biggest question of all, I wondered when would I start feeling like a mother.

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Don’t get me wrong, I loved this little person growing inside of me, I was excited by this prospect of new life! But I didn’t feel like a mother yet, I was still just “pregnant woman”. In those first few months, I just felt fat. Fat, tired and anxious. Why didn’t I feel like a mom yet!? I wanted to pull out my hair in frustration when people referred to me as “mommy” and scream at the top of my lungs “Why can you see it, but I can’t!?”

It really wasn’t until baby started moving around on a daily basis and hiccuped every morning and night (poor guy!) that I really started feeling a connection to him. I panicked the times when he wouldn’t move for a day. I was awake with him when he was up all night hiccuping, and he was finally feeling “real”. Yet, I still felt somewhat disconnected, I was his person, his vessel, but I still hadn’t obtained the label I desired.

It took four hours. Four hours of labor to feel a transformation in myself. It wasn’t a magical switch that I turned on, it was something innate and primal. Giving birth felt so natural, so right. I felt empowered, like a warrior! And as soon as I heard that first cry, felt his skin against mine and looked into those big eyes… well I fell in love. Deeply and madly in love. He was searching out for his momma and there I was!

You might think that it was a little lateit the game, but it was when he was placed in my arms for that very first time that I felt like a mother. The birth of my son felt like the final right of passage into this new role. Nothing had prepared me for this — not the books I had read, the advice I was given,  or the nine months I spent absorbing everything like a sponge.

I can say now that I am complete. At least until the pregnancy bug catches me again!

When did you finally feel like a mommy?

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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