What makes a mother a mom? I can honestly say that it really has nothing to do with biology. Some people may disagree but let me explain where I come from with this opinion.
At the tender age of 18 I gave birth to a beautiful son whom I planned from the beginning. It seemed so story book and perfect until that moment when I realized that I was going to be a mother at midnight when he was crying, I would be a mother when he filled his diaper and brand new outfit, I would be a mother when I was exhausted and needed a nap.
“Giving birth is little more than a set of muscular contractions granting passage of a child. Then the mother is born.” ~ Erma Bombeck
Being a mother was exhausting work and the reality soon set in that I was going to be in this for the long haul. I loved him with all of my heart and gave him the best that a young, inexperienced mother could give. He was the guinea pig. Luckily kids are resilient and seem to have a few guardian angels always looking out for them. I spent ten wonderful years being a mom to my son when the opportunity to be a mother came to me again. This time it was different. The beautiful little girl joining my family would come through adoption. The very young mother could not provide a stable home for the little girl that she was bringing into the world so she courageously and lovingly chose to give her to a family that could provide love and stability. I will always be thankful for that young mother because she gave me the most precious gift.
Time went on and I doted on my two wonderful children. A son and a daughter. However, a long time ago I had asked for a family full of kids. I had forgotten this as time went on. Life started to get complicated and my world began to fall apart. The awakening was beginning as my marriage was falling apart. It was a long process and I’ll save you details. What is most important is that my children were the highlight of my life and they gave me a reason to get up every morning and face the world. I continued to move forward (even though there were times I felt I was moving backwards). I questioned my mothering credentials as I dragged them through some very perilous times. I felt like a complete failure at times but I always loved my children.
My oldest joined the Army and then it was just me and my little girl. Life became more settled. I made peace with the fact that I would never give birth to another child and that having a large family was just not in cards for me.
Then it happened. I met a man who had custody of his children…two children! Before I knew it we were married and raising three children together. I just received the gift of two more children! They didn’t come from my loins but my heart opened wide and I became the Mama Bear and they were (and still are) my cubs. The blending of our families has been a journey in itself. It has been a most interesting and deeply gratifying journey. Looking back, my imagination could never begin to create the steps that I would have to take in life to get my big family. Yet every step I have taken have led me to something more wonderful in life. Now I can say that I Am a mom who has given birth, who has adopted, who has become the Extra Mom. With each child I have a unique relationship. With some children I share the role of parenting with a father and another mom, with another I keep a journal so that one day the birth mother can read about the memories of a child I hold so dear to my heart. With one child I share the experience of giving birth, yet they are all my babies.
I know that I Am a better mother now than I was at 18…sorry Brandon. My intentions have always been to be the best mom that I can be and honestly I can say that even with all my imperfections, I have done my personal best.