Thursday, May 11, 2006

Mother's Day

So today I made a comment that it kind of stinks to have to use vacation time to give birth. I don't mind using it to be with the baby once s/he's here or to prepare for him/her before s/he gets here. I just don't think it's very vacationy to spring forth child from one's loins and I was laughing about how it won't technically be a "vacation." My co-worker gets a bit pissy, turns to my other co-worker and makes this huge deal about how a year ago I would have paid someone to let me have a baby and now I'm complaining about having to use vacation time and oh how things change and blah blah blah and it really bothered me. Because, a year ago I would have paid someone to give me a baby...and, in fact, paid Kaiser thousands of dollars for that very thing. (Unfortunately THEY didn't give me a baby in return). And I'm not COMPLAINING about it now. I was merely making what I assumed to be a rather humorous observation. I don't want people to think that I'm complaining just because I say that child birth doesn't seem like a picnic or I say I'm getting fat or that occasionally my back hurts. The truth is, I'd still pay to get this baby. I wouldn't give him/her up for anything in the world. I'll gladly use my vacation time--but I don't think it makes me a failure to all the infertile world if I don't call it a vacation. Am I crazy?
In addition, what constitutes being a mother? Because someone said to me today, "Next year you'll be a mom." I wasn't offended by the statement nor do I expect a gift or card in any way shape or form. In fact, when we celebrated mother's day with my husband's family and my father-in-law prayed and said, "Thank you for all the three mothers," I got terribly confused momentarily before I realized he was counting me. But, in all honesty, what makes a mother? A tangible baby that you can hold and kiss and that cries and poops, perhaps? Are you not a mother simply by carrying him/her around for nine months? Are you a mom when you watch the abdominal muscles that you worked for over a decade for stretch and shift and end, finally, in one large lump resembling a beer gut? Are you a mom when you're awake all night throwing up because of your child and your hormones, or only when you're awake all night because it's actually your child doing the throwing up? (I should make the disclaimer that my little angel never once made me throw up and I love him/her all the more for it...I'm merely trying to make a point). Are you a mother when you watch *almost* everything you put in your mouth so as not to gain an ounce over what the doctor recommends? Are you a mother when you cut caffeine out of your diet (alright, the occasional piece of chocolate doesn't count--my doctor said so) and stay away from sub sandwiches--which you happen to be moderately addicted to--because your baby can't fight listeria? Are you a mother when you worry or when you pray or when you watch an elbow flitter across your torso? Perhaps not in the way that my mother is a mother. I haven't laughed with my child. I haven't cried with her. I haven't kissed his boo boos or watched my husband give her away. I haven't watched cautiously as he climbed a tree or listened to the incessent giggling of her slumber party. I haven't sent him off to college. I haven't heard that tiny voice say mommy, yet. I haven't gotten a sticky kiss or had a little hand grasp my finger. But I have learned that on Sunday night, when Troy stands up to give his sermon, Garrett or Kate thinks it's playtime with Daddy and wiggles accordingly for the next 45 minutes. I know that my baby is, at this point, a night owl and not an early riser. I know s/he has a sweet cravings have seen to that. I don't know if she's a she or if he's a he. I don't know what color eyes s/he has or if s/he's bald. So, perhaps, I won't be a mother until next year...but, perhaps, I already am.