I walked out of the information session realizing that I knew which choice I was supposed to make. I wanted to start a family, I wanted to be a mother over getting my Master’s in Education. As I walked through the campus, sun setting and the air getting chill, my heart swelled and I had a vision of a beautiful baby boy in my arms. I envisioned kissing him and smelling his soft, sweet skin. I cried and my choice to become a mother was strengthened. This made it easier when breaking the news to my own mother who wanted me to further my education. It made it harder when I got pregnant and then lost the baby eight weeks later. I thought I was supposed to be a mother, why was it so hard to get there? I struggled trying to understand and when I finally got pregnant again, I was scared. Choosing back in early spring seemed so easy, so obvious, but when your belly starts bulging, skin stretching and you’re feeling nauseous, seeds of self-doubt and the reality of a mortal world can set in.
For nine months I was scared of the choice to be a mother, scared of losing the baby, scared of the responsibility, scared of entering a completely foreign stage in my life. But then they placed a sticky baby boy on my chest and he was crying. I started to softly sing to him and he stopped. He stopped to look me in the eyes. His face said, I know you, you are my mother. Over time I have experienced many of these moments with my son. Moments where he gives me this look with such deep wisdom that it takes me aback. These were moments when he truly recognized me as his mother.
I thought it was a single one-time choice. Get pregnant, have a baby. But it’s not. Motherhood is a choice every single day. Motherhood starts before we even realize, as we choose to develop kindness, patience, and charity as youth. We are mothers as we strive to learn and succeed in school and our jobs and when we are blessed to wake up to soft cries, change dirty diapers, and kiss chubby cheeks; it is a choice we are making. Sometimes our children pass before us, and yet it is still a choice to be their mother. Whether you have a child of your own or not it is an eternity of choices for all of us: to cuddle, to smile, to listen, to babble along, to learn, to carry, to be patient, to serve, to put others before ourselves. In this life and beyond the grave, as we choose there will be those small, special moments when children will see us as we truly are: mothers.