And for the record, a mother is not always the person who births a child. A mother is so much more than that. A mother is one who nurtures, loves and protects a child, whether or not that child is biologically hers.
I suppose I became a mother the minute Seth was conceived, that's how I view life, in terms that it starts at conception. Although technically I was a mother, I wasn't a mother in my heart, in my soul.
I never believed in maternal instinct, I still don't, it was always something that seemed to be missing from me. I never played with Cabbage Patch Dolls and babies like that, never even was sure I wanted to be a mother, not until I became pregnant with Seth.
We had this big plan, huge plan, we weren't go to start trying to have children until I was 30. . . for the record I'm 29 now so that plan didn't work. Seth was a huge surprise. . . him having Down Syndrome was an even bigger one.
So there I was, 24 and pregnant, unsure I was ever made to be a mother. So I did what I do best, research, study and learn all about being a mother. I read all the books, DS and typical, read up as much as possible about everything I could expect about being a mom . . . . . . and you know what it did for me???
Not a damn thing.
There is nothing in life that can prepare you for motherhood. . . . nothing like it in the whole world. Reading all that stuff made me feel confident, but once they placed Seth in my arms, wow I knew I was way in over my head. And some days, some very, very hard days and weeks, I still feel like I'm fighting to swim up to the surface.
I remember the first diaper of his I ever changed. In fact Drew and I did that together, the first diaper . . . and it was a shit diaper. It was one of those moments that I'll never forget, two scared people, scared shitless, with this little baby, trying to figure out how a diaper worked. . . . and we did it.
And four years later, four very long years later, we are still figuring it all out. We are learning about Hirschsprung's currently and doing all sorts of biopsies for that, we are learning how to deal with a growing four year old who is still developmentally a 3 year old. We learned to deal with croup and sinus infections and stomach viruses and strep throat and pneumonia and ear tubes and tonsil and adenoid surgery . . . . we've gotten so far as parents.
I've come so far as a mother.
No wait, I didn't come so far as a mother, I've become a mother. I'm a mom. That's a huge part of who I am now. And I never, ever want to go back to the time before I was a mother. Who was that person? Who was that woman who was unsure, who didn't even know how to take care of herself? Where did she go?
Seth has brought out the best in me. I've become the best person I could be with him as my son. I've learned so much. He has been the best son I could have ever asked God for.
And if I had to go look back through all that hardship, through all that pain, through all that unknown, back to that scared, frightened Shanna who first held her baby, I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
Seth became a real boy . . . and I became a mother.