When Do You Feel Like a Mom?
By: Kerrie Olejarz
After all we had been through it was difficult to feel like a mom, whatever that was supposed to feel like. I cared for this little girl with love and concern, but did this make me a mom? I often felt like Cailyn was on loan to us, not ours to keep. Finally at the six-month point we decided to have professional photos taken of Cailyn and us. It was at this point, seeing the final photos of us as a family, looking so happy and complete that I think…I felt like a mom. Upon receiving the online proofs, I would sit and stare at the family shots in awe. This was it, finally, we were a family. But is being a family and feeling like a mom one in the same? Despite being a family, what was a mom? I decided not to wear high-waisted mom jeans and white runners. I didn’t drive a mini van and not every conversation I had was about the baby. Sure, I looked disheveled and didn’t bathe for days on end, but did that make me a mom? I proudly wore clothing covered in spit up, my hair was always tied back, and I didn’t care that the crotch in my yoga pants was full of holes. I don’t think moms give up on their appearances, maybe just go on hiatus for the first few months with baby due to lack of sleep and routine. I am not sure, other than in the dictionary, that there really is a true definition of a mom. When I googled the word mother, I find ” a term of address for a female parent or a woman having or regarded as having the status, function, or authority of a female parent”, so by this definition I was, and am, a mom/mother. I guess I struggled with becoming “mom” because I didn’t have the nine months to feel this little one grow. Instead, I received frequent emails from India with ultrasound pictures; I was having a baby by email! I held off on all things baby until 32 weeks in fear that something would go wrong. I spent almost fifteen years shielding my emotions and covering up how desperately I wanted to be a mom. The turning point for me was when Cailyn reached for me randomly one day; this meant she wanted or needed me, and it was at this moment that the reality of who I now am was very clear. I am a mom, I feel like a mom, and my baby calls me Mama.