Sunday, May 8, 2011

My version of Motherhood

We tried to have a baby for 10 years.

10 years.

I had so much time to perfect my mothering style. I was going to read the baby a story every night. Buy the most beautiful clothes and toys. I would make the baby food from scratch. I had waited 10 years, I knew what I was going to do.

The girls were born premature. Baby couldn't maintain her temperature and had to be checked every 15 minutes. I was a wreck. What if I fell asleep? Would she get cold and die? Anytime I felt slightly tired, I picked her up and held her against my body to keep her warm. I was afraid to put her down.

Three babies at the same time!

I wasn't prepared for triplets. I tried to be but they knocked my socks off. I ran back and forth. Bottle, diaper, burp. The house didn't smell like new baby smell. It smelled of shit and formula. They pooped so much! I was a failure!

As they got older, I began to work with them to hit their milestones. Things didn't seem to be going well but I kept trying.

And then the diagnosis of Autism entered our house. Instead of sitting behind my child giving a hug, I sat behind my child to mold my body against hers so that she could sit and participate in therapy. Reading bedtime stories flew by the waste side. Instead, I stared into their little eyes for a half hour at a time so that eye contact was expected and maintained.

I often imagined rocking my baby to sleep. Instead, I held my baby so that I stopped the uncontrollable rocking.

I was like any new mother, enchanted with my children. My camera flashed dozens of times a day to capture their brilliance. As I look back through the pictures, I'm struck by the lack of smiles, by the blankness.

We created programs with the therapists to help the children learn how to smile. We began working on it earnestly. Our children can smile appropriately, with only minimal encouragement.

I trashed the homemade baby food idea quickly, it took so much time and I think my attempts sucked. Bugabuga made the most comical expressions when trying the food. She was a trooper but Mommy was a bit out of her league.

Motherhood is nothing and everything I expected. I thought the most difficult times would be when the baby had a fever or was vomiting. I never imagined that I would be massaging my daughter's throat to teach her how to swallow. But the love...

It's so much more than I have ever hoped for. Holding hands and skipping up the block, laughing because I'm messing up the words to beloved songs. Hugs and kisses that always come at the perfect time...

It's my beautiful version of motherhood.

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