No one told me that when I lay on an ultrasound table at 17 weeks, with gooey jelly on my belly and a heartbeat in my ears, that the one I had inside me would change me. That this phrase would please me to no end…”it’s a girl!” Hair ribbons and pink dresses and dreams of a little girl who would be all I ever wanted. My first baby, exactly what I wished and hoped for. A girl.
No one told me that the baby I held in my arms in the early evening on February 20, 2008 would be a stranger to me. Who was this baby, this human who only moments ago was inside my belly and now was in my arms? This girl, with a crooked nose and straight, black hair, who was so small we has to go and buy preemie clothes for her to come home in. A miracle grown from one cell and now was a mine to keep.
No one told me that being a mother would be exhilarating, rewarding, completely frustrating, mind numbing and all consuming. I lost myself, the inner portion of who I was and turned completely into someones mother. I gave up my likes for hers, my comfort for hers. I laid awake looking at her perfectly formed fingernails and the tinyness of her features, seeing her daddy and myself in her. I devoted every waking moment of my life to this little five pound, 17 inch person. I cared only about her and what she needed. I lost myself.
No one told me that this little baby would grow. She would become a two year old with a will of her own. She would spray red Gatorade on her bedroom carpet in a fit of rage, color her cousin with marker, hang from the chandelier in the dining room and wear princess heels to restaurants. She would become not my baby, but Molly. Her own self. She had likes and dislikes, a personality and quirks all her own. She wouldn’t be just my little girl, but her own person. Not just a vision, but a reality.
No one told me that she would grow up and go to school. Or how devastating letting go would be. That she would learn mannerisms and sayings from people I didn’t know. That she would learn about little girls that told her she wasn’t pretty enough. That her hair was ugly and she couldn’t play with them. Or that she would be the one who would me mean, be the one that hurt others. And oh!, how that brings tears to your eyes. Letting your baby out of your arms and into a world that you know is cruel, and mean, and vicious. You know she will learn the meaning of “too fat”, “not pretty enough”, and “not popular.” You know she will learn everything there is about this world that you have tried to shield her from. You know that you can’t keep her feelings safe, that you can’t protect her from what lies ahead.
No one told you that everything you wished she didn’t have to know, didn’t have to learn, she will.You hoped that you could give her thirty years of knowledge in six short years, so that she could enter school as you are now. Confident and happy and secure.
But you can’t.
No one told you how painful it is to see your little girl learn the same lessons you learned. How you can’t shield her, or stop it, or make it better. You can only be there, and listen, and validate her. You know she doesn’t care about how you went through it. She cares about today, this minute, this hour. She wants to know she is enough, that she is gorgeous, and special, and worthy.
She wants to know that she is beautiful inside and out, that her feelings are unique, and mean something. That she is kind and precious and every bit the baby that was born onto your arms. This little girl who has been entrusted to you, to be raised to love herself and others.
No one told me that day I found out “it’s a girl!”, how it would be to birth a daughter.