Becoming Mom

I got pregnant with my first at a young ish age.

I was twenty, which meant I was past the age in which people looked at me like, “oh that POOR girl! I wonder what happened to her!” but old enough that I understood the magnitude of what I’d (accidentally) gotten myself into. I’d wrapped my mind around the baby gear, the tiny baby diapers and the impossible-to assemble baby furniture, but I couldn’t seem to reconcile one thing. One tiny thing.

That I was actually pregnant with a baby.

All nine months, those long nine months, I had dream after dream of giving birth (in part, I will now say, because I was dying to get rid of the heartburn and canckles). Each of those dreams, though, did not end with me joyously holding a newborn. Instead, I dreamed that I was holding any number of tiny animals.

Most frequently, a litter of kittens.

And each time, however weird that may sound, I’d happily pack my litter of kittens up from the hospital, and leave, happy that my basket of kittens was now, in fact here (we’ll leave out the part where I also dreamed I was back in my size 4's and looking impossibly perfect as I left the hospital with my kittens).

So when it came time to birth my firstborn child – a boy, I was told – I had no expectations. Zero. Nada. For twenty-four hours, I labored with him, no thoughts in my brain besides, “ouch” and “I’m hungry.” Even though I’d read the book religiously, I didn’t know what to expect.

Finally, at the very dignified hour of 3PM, my doctor came in, lugging some gigantic apparatus and pronounced it “time to have a baby.” Which confused me. Was it a baby? Or a kitten? Or a baby kitten? Either way, I was ready to get the party started.

A mere ten minutes later, with the help of a pair of forceps, my son emerged into the world, shrieking indignantly.

When he did, they laid him on my chest and I was shocked. It was a baby! Not a cat! Not a frog! Not a little of puppies! A real baby! MY baby!

My thoughts raced, my body immediately relaxed. Wow, I thought, that is one warm, one big, and one angry baby. The kid was downright furious. I’d guess that women already in labor stopped laboring and went home, scared away from delivering one as mad as mine.

Once he calmed down, though, I took in the shock of black hair, the chubby Eskimo cheeks and the adorable baby feet. I breathed in his new baby smell and smiled.

I was, at long last, a mother.

Childbirth is such an incredible moment, and I’d love to know what went through your mind when you held your baby for the first time? By replying, you will be entered to win an exclusive Million Moms Challenge Gift Pack, which includes an iPad2, a custom-made Million Moms Challenge pendant and a $50 donation in your name to Global Giving.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Million Moms Challenge. The opinions and text are all mine. Contest runs October 17 to November 13, 2011. A random winner will be announced by November 15, 2011.

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