By Charlene O'Hanlon
Becoming a parent is equal parts joy, worry, exhaustion and
fulfillment. The idea of being responsible for another person can be
nerve-wracking, yet knowing you are that other person's whole life is
simply fantastic. You know the phrase, "My heart overflows"? That's the
I became pregnant with my first when I was in my early 30s, well
after both my sisters (one older, one younger) had their first (and
only) child. Everyone was surprised at the news - apparently the entire
family believed I was too focused on my career to consider having a
child. And to have one in my 30s rather than in my 20s as my sisters did
... well, that was beyond the realm of possibility for them.
"I don't see you as a mom," my older sister told me in her
matter-of-fact way. She wasn't being mean or trying to hurt my feelings;
she was just telling me what she thought. But she did plant a seed of
doubt in me: Was I "mom" material? Had I waited too long to have a
child? Would I be any good at it?
I don't know whether my doubts were any more intense than the doubts
of other parents to be, but I got through those nine months with those
same questions nagging in the back of my head. I honestly had no idea
whether I'd be a good mom, whether I'd know what to do or how I would be
able to deal with having someone else be completely dependent on me
(and my husband, of course). Luckily, I had a "normal" pregnancy with no
health issues, which gave me some amount of comfort.
Finally, one day before his due date, our firstborn decided to make
his entrance into the world. Labor was fast and furious - too quick for
me to receive an epidural - but otherwise without incident. And six
hours after I stepped into the hospital, I was presented with a
red-faced, brown-haired, serene baby boy.
At that moment, every doubt I had about being a mother disappeared. And I said to myself, "Yeah, I got this."
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