I see you.
I get you.
I officially became a mother on 3/21/1998. Really I became a mother months before that, the first time I felt a little flutter in my stomach that I soon learned was actually two babies. Every day of my life since then I've worried that I'm not good enough. That I'm failing.
My husband left me when I was pregnant. I couldn't manage to keep a husband. Somehow, by default maybe, I figured it should be easier to keep a husband than to keep two small children alive. Naturally I was quite worried about my abilities.
I couldn't stay pregnant for nine months.
I couldn't give birth naturally.
I couldn't breast feed.
For months I drove around with two little carseats in the back of my car feeling an inordinate amount of fear that someone, somewhere was going to stop me and take them away because I clearly had no business being their mother. I didn't deserve them. I didn't know what I was doing. I wasn't doing anything right.
I am one of the broken moms. One of those women who just want to do better. Who don't want their anxiety and failings and depression and stress and worry to translate into pain for their children. Who want a better life for their babies. Who want to right all the wrongs of the past.
I was twenty-two. My daughter is now eighteen and I look at her like the helplessly trying beautiful creature she absolutely is. She has no idea. I cannot imagine her having a child in four years, much less two children at the same time. Dogs? Certainly. Not people. Not human beings.
I didn't know what I was doing at twenty-two.
I'm forty now. I still don't know.
I've managed to keep them alive and that's a positive. They are smart and funny and wise beyond their years. I am the first call they make with good news or bad. We discuss politics and religion (loudly) and we laugh. Oh, how we laugh.
I still don't feel like I deserve them. I still feel like I'm going to be found out. I still feel broken.
They aren't broken though. They aren't. That's where things are different.
I think every mom, every single one of us, has at some point felt like we were getting it all wrong. Some of us have it harder than others, and I think while it's important to respect that, at the end of the day? We're all just moms. We're all just doing our best.
If you are broken, like me, I want to tell you something.
I think you're amazing.
I think the fact that you get up every morning and try again is amazing. I think that even if you are suffering and you are working really hard to ensure your child or children doesn't suffer the same way, you are amazing.If your experience in life was less than stellar and you want to do whatever you can to ensure your child doesn't go down the same road, you are amazing.
It's okay to say you are broken. That doesn't mean you are bad or wrong or anything else. It just means you got punched in the boob a few times and...you kept going.
I salute you, broken moms. Someday your unbroken children will salute you too.
Happy Mother's Day.