Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Son of a ... : Thoughts on Becoming a Mother

I woke up at 5 a.m. in the cold dark. My husband of less than a month lay next to me. I shook him until he (kind of) woke up. "I think I'm pregnant." I whispered in fear. Preston didn't open his eyes. "Go back to bed" is all he had to say. Clearly the news didn't send 35, 567, 896 thoughts racing through his brain like it did mine. "Crap."

The next day I drove to Walgreens and bought a 5 pack pregnancy test. I came home and took 3, resolving to take the other 2 the following day, just in case. I peed. A minute or so later I realized that my life would be very different from then on.

I slowly walked out to the living room in my underwear, as I was too stunned to pull up my pants, I guess. Preston didn't even look up from Youtube. He had no idea what was coming. My hand was shaking and I was nervous to say anything out loud. I set the 3 positive pregnancy tests in front of him on the table. He looked up. He smiled. I fell on the ground, dramatically, and started crying. "I don't want to get fat!" I wailed. It was a shallow moment.

The 3 weeks that followed held a mixed bag of emotions for me. I love life, but life inside of me? I thought of the mood swings, morning sickness, and time spent babysitting. I thought of my older sister's crying kids and how I never got work done at her house. I thought of how my little sister's words, prophesying that I would be a terrible mother. I cried. Alot. I told my mom. She cried. I made Preston tell my dad. They were both very happy. Maybe my mother, who had 3 c-sections, understood a bit more what might be going through my head.

It wasn't until nearly a month after I found out I was going to become a mother that I had my first true moment of acceptance and peace. I went with my husband to visit his grandma. She has a few dogs at her house and she needed help filling their gigantic communal dog bowl. While Preston was retrieving the small-house sized dog-food bag, I walked around the yard and watched a new born puppy running around through the grass. I couldn't tell which dog was his mother, but he looked like he needed assistance. It was a hot day in July and the Virginia sun was unforgiving. The puppy's nose was dry and he hid in the shadows. I could tell he needed help. *Maternal instinct go.*

I went over to the puppy and picked him up. I stood with him for a moment in the shade and felt his heart racing. I pulled him away for a minute and studied his face. His entire face was caked with dry, red Virginia clay and his mouth was dry. His eyes looked at me wide, full, dark, and dumb. I took him around to the side of the house. I found a small water spicket and turned it on until cold water gushed out into a little tin pan. I put the puppy down and, in-between his hurried sips of water, I started to wash his little chin. He drank too fast and choked on the water. I patted his back and coaxed him back to the water. While he drank, I wiped cool water all over his forehead in an attempt to cool his little body down. A few minutes later, hydrated, clean, and comfortable, the puppy looked up at me, and I think he smiled. Probably not, but maybe. I don't know why, but as I looked down at him, I felt something in my heart move. I mean I have always loved dogs, so it wasn't this newfound love of animals. It definitely wasn't a newfound love of puppies. It was just a small movement. Like a little piece of my heart moved and told my head that it was ok to accept the fact that I was going to be a mother. It was time. That was it.

Over the next few hours, the little puppy followed me everywhere I went. I helped him find the food, and I pulled trash from the yard out of his mouth. When Preston and I got ready to leave, he followed me to the car and sat in the grass, looking at me with his head to the side, puzzled at where I could be going. As our car reached the end of the long gravel driveway, I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw the puppy trotting slowly behind us, eagerly peering into our car. I looked over at Preston, who was watching me watch the puppy in the mirror. He smiled at me and put his hand over mine. I smiled back at him and felt glad to have his baby growing inside of me.

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