Sunday, May 12, 2013

Once a Mother, Always a Mother

When I was 12, I learned about how grueling and painful childbirth can be.  I remember saying to my mom, "I don't want kids".  It was because of the fear of childbirth.  As I got older, I started to realize how important it was to me to have children of my own one day.  I started fantasizing about the ideal family - a boy and a girl.  I wanted them at the same time.  Twins.  How perfect would that be.

I got a puppy when I was about 16.  It was my trial run at being a mother.  I had enjoyed babysitting, but I had never really taken it that seriously.  Kids were cute, but I really didn't know what to do with them when they were crying.  Raising that little puppy was fun.  I learned about responsibility.

I moved away from home, to attend university.  It was about a 4 hour drive from home.  Soon after, I fell in love with a man who I could see being my husband and father of my children one day.  We married in 1990, and started planning our future together.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get pregnant.  It took visits to the specialists to find out what was wrong.  I started to come to the conclusion that I was not going to have children of my own.  I applied to go back to Graduate school.  Although I was devastated, I had considered other options such as adoption.  I still felt it was in my future to have children one day.

Once I had relaxed about trying to get pregnant, and changed my focus onto other things, I became pregnant!  My 2 and a half year journey of infertility was ended when we did a home pregnancy test.  Oh, the joy!

My pregnancy was uneventful, but the labour was very difficult.  It ended in a Cesarean section, and a beautiful baby boy.  Motherhood was all that I had dreamed of.  I was very happy.

My second baby came sooner than we had expected.  With the difficulty of conceiving the first time, I thought for sure it may take another 4 years or so.  2 years and 4 months later, our beautiful baby girl was born.  Again, an uneventful pregnancy, but a difficult delivery.  This time it was a forceps delivery.  I had said that I didn't want any more children, because for sure, the third one would kill me.

Raising two children has taught me so much about how tough it is to be a mom.  I have also learned that if you put forth a lot of time and effort in the beginning, it really pays off in the end.  I have two amazing children (now teenagers), and I love them both so dearly.  The intensity of looking after little children is now gone.  Watching my children mature and plan for their own futures is such a joy to watch.  These two special people have been given to me (and my husband) for only a short time, to help nurture them and raise them into responsible, wonderful adults.  Then they will move on to build lives and families of their own.

Almost 18 years later, after my first child was born, I am preparing for my son's grade 12 graduation.  It is amazing how the time flies.  Before you know it, your precious little baby is a man.  He will start university in the fall.

One thing I know for sure, is that once you are a mother, you are always a mother.  I work with older adults and I see 80 and 90-year-old women who still speak highly and fondly of their adult children.  Family is so important, and keeping those relationship and ties strong as we age is even more important.  Being a mother is one of the most important, sometimes difficult, and rewarding jobs that I know of.  I hope you, too, are able to enjoy all that motherhood has to offer.

Wishing all of the mothers out there a Happy Mother's Day, today and always.  And let us not forget all those who have come before us.

And thanks, Mom.  You are the greatest!

~ Angela G. Gentile

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