At 26, I thought I was ready to be a mom. I loved kids. I started babysitting at the age of 12, taught dance primarily to the little ones throughout high school and college, and couldn’t wait to cradle a baby of my own. Caring for kids came naturally to me.
When I found out I was pregnant, fear never ensued. I was so excited. Young and certainly naive, I had everything mapped out precisely, starting with delivery. I would have a natural birth sans pain medication. I was so determined. I even forced my husband to sign an agreement not to let me cave during labor. Reality: My labor was so intense, long, and grueling, that this wasn’t humanly possible. Hence, the agreement flew out the window and an epidural was its replacement.
I may have succumbed to the pain, but I would still have the chance to deliver naturally and instantly experience skin to skin contact. Reality: After 2 1/2 hours of pushing, without a baby in sight, the on call doctor ( who I had never met) declared a c-section was my fate. Scared, defeated, and emotional, everything was beginning to unravel.
After tugging, yanking, and a whole lot of pulling, my precious baby girl was born. Born healthy, with a head full of hair, and a noticeably loud set of lungs, skin to skin contact would have to wait. I was tied down to an operating bed as my baby girl was whisked away. After what seemed like forever, we finally met. It was certainly love at first sight, but the confidence I had felt during pregnancy was dissipating rapidly. Was I really a mom? Now what?
My plans were far from seamless, but there was still one more goal left to achieve: breastfeeding. I would easily attain this, right? Breastfeeding would bond us together and be the most natural source of nourishment for my precious commodity. Reality: My very strong-willed and defiant baby had other plans. Her refusal to latch on was heartbreaking, frustrating, and downright painful. Lactation consultants intervened to no avail. I felt hopeless, alone, and depressed. All I did was cry. My hopes and dreams had been shattered and my hormones were in over drive. I finally came to decision to give up on breastfeeding and resort to formula. This decision will forever haunt me, but ultimately saved me.
Once Gianna was eating from a bottle, relief set in. It took a few weeks, but I was finally able to look down at my baby and feel eternally blessed. I felt calm again. This little being forced me to become selfless, fearless, and stronger then I ever have before. In such a short amount of time, I grew up. Reality: I was never ready to become a mother at 26, but I am so glad I did. God blessed me with my very best friend. Our first year certainly wasn’t easy, but my life has been better and more meaningful with Gianna in it.
To those young women reading this, here’s my advice to you. Throw an agenda out the window! No one is ever really prepared for motherhood. My idealistic plan may have backfired in my face, but that’s okay. The epidural wore off, my c-section scar healed nicely, and Gianna survived and thrived on formula! Motherhood is a journey. Filled with immense ebbs and flows, it will challenge us for the rest of our lives. Motherhood is a life changer, every single day.
This birthday marks a decade of motherhood and friendship. Gianna has grown into such a sweet, compassionate, loving, intelligent, beautiful, and very talented young lady. There has always been a bright light shining over my baby girl. With age, this light intensifies even brighter. I am so proud of her. In my eyes, she certainly is the brightest star of them all.
I never really knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. That is until I met you. From that moment on, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be the mommy that nurtured, cared and made you happy for as long as I walked this Earth. Gianna, thanks for making all my dreams come true. Happy 10th birthday GG. I love you more than life.
“If I didn’t have you as a daughter, I would choose you as a friend.”
I will leave you with two recent videos of Gianna practicing some vocals. This past year she started taking voice lessons. An avid theater lover and performer, my heart bursts with pride every time I see her step on stage. She has been performing since birth. It’s what she was born to do. Dream big Gianna, the world is your stage!