When I Became a Mother, I Knew I Had to Take Better Care of Myself

by Dominique Mack 

If all I ever was is Zora’s mama that wouldn’t be enough for me. I could sit and listen to those coos you are forming into words for hours, watch your smile that makes me melt until eternity and snuggle with you forever but I'm more than just a mother. I'm a writer, counselor, advocate, visionary, partner, friend, and daughter.

I honestly never thought I’d be someone’s mother. I didn’t think that was in the cards for me. I distinctly recall, telling the nurse at the health department minutes before taking the pregnancy test how having a baby didn’t fit into any of my life plans. I had just moved again. I was looking for a job and trying to adjust to life in a relationship. A baby was NOT a part of the plan. Then that sweet nurse whom I spilled half of my life story to said those fateful words, “Congratulations, Ms. Mack!” I wondered what had I done to deserve such recognition and joy. Then it hit me, You’re pregnant, dummy.

Ever since that day I’ve experienced a myriad of emotions and fears. But the ones that often arise are: That I’ll mess you up in some way. That you’ll resent me. That this will be just another thing that I can’t get right. That all the dreams I dreamed for myself will somehow disappear. That I’ll constantly be trying to prove to someone, to you, to me, that you weren’t a mistake.

Motherhood is hard and I wish that I loved it as much as people portray. In the beginning, the very act of mothering—the dependency, the responsibility, the worry created anxiety inside of me that made it difficult to love you. I cried more times than my body could recuperate and my mind could synthesize. There were days when I felt alone, like the walls were closing in on me. And I’d find myself comparing in shame to those who had lost a child, miscarried, still birthed, regretfully aborted, who all wanted this experience and I didn’t really know if I did. I wondered sometimes if they really know what they're asking for.

In so many ways I still feel like I’m mothering myself. I'm still growing up and figuring stuff out, teaching myself those things I hope to teach you: wisdom, self-reliance, and self-worth. Some life lessons I’m relearning and there are others we will have to learn together.

I've never questioned myself so much and analyzed a thing that's un-analyzable. I call on God to help make sense of it all, more times than anyone will ever know. I pray to do this well, but there are no rules, yet there are a lot of expectations. I’ve learned the best way that I can mother you, is to mother myself first.

Getting into the car for a few minutes of solitude. Going to the grocery store or the mall just to peruse the scene with no agenda. Calling a sister, cousin, or friend when I’m overwhelmed or just for girl chat. Letting your dad, be your dad and spoil you to his heart’s content. Dress up, do my make-up, and hair. Don’t lose sight of any of my dreams, tenacity, and passion. Become and do all those things I imagined I would. Encourage myself as much as I encourage you.

It is my prayer that you’ll know choosing me, doesn’t mean I don’t love you.

Photo: Shutterstock

Dominique Mack is a writer, counselor, and advocate whose vision is to help people heal through their own stories. She hails from Brunswick, GA and regularly blogs for those finding their way at: http://aregulargirlthatlovesthelord.tumblr.com/ Dominique can be reached at dmack1012@gmail.com for more information.

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