Going Solo: Single Parenthood

What it takes to be a Mom

Today I said the words, “I’m Bella’s mommy.” They came out so quickly I didn’t have a chance to think about them. That sentence is one I never thought I’d say. It felt good but awkward to say them. I’m a mom. I’m a mother. This is huge!

When a baby is born, the first six months go by in a flash. Life smacks you in the face and you either crumble or you roll with it. I immediately put baby to breast, changed diapers, took a zillion photos, rocked her, held her, tucked her in. A lot of it came without much thinking. God knows I didn’t have enough sleep to think even if I wanted to. Everything happened so naturally and so quickly that I didn’t have time to realize that I AM ISABELLA’S MOMMY!

In the last 36 years, I have been a daughter, a sister, an aunt, and a girlfriend. I’ve introduced myself as all of these things and have been proud to do so, but to say I’m Bella’s mom is possibly the best way I could ever introduce myself. It feels so right and like something I’ve earned.

I became a mom in September of 2012. That is when I found out I was pregnant. I think, at least for women, this is when we become a parent. We decide to keep the child and then we begin making hundreds of decisions on how to care for that child. From the food we eat to the workload we take on, we are already deciding what kind of mom we will be before the child is even born.

In my case, I had a healthy pregnancy and a memorable birth. And when she was born, my life entirely changed. For the last seven months, I have nursed her, stayed up all night with her, taken her to the doctor, made her food, changed her diapers, washed her clothes, bathed her, picked out a daycare and then got up early every morning to take her there. I have wiped her tears, sucked out her boogies, given her medicine, and I’ve rocked her to sleep. For the most part, I’ve done this on my own.

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She chose me and I accepted. Now I have started to think about our next steps. What will it be like when she starts saying “mommy?” She is going to be a little girl very soon and I’m terrified about it. As long as you feed and love a baby, they adore you. A little girl has opinions and a voice. She asks questions and wants answers.

I always thought there were all of these things I had to do before I became a parent. In my case, however, there was no prep. Bella was an incredible perfectly timed surprise. I welcomed her, but was terrified and totally unprepared. She pulled me out of the murk and continues to make me a better person everyday.

Today I faced her father. He is a man I once admired, and yes, I will admit it, I loved. If you’ve read this blog, you know that he has chosen to be absent from the pregnancy, birth, and now his daughter’s life. For the most part, I have left him alone because there is no reason to chase or pester a man who cannot take responsibility for or acknowledge his own child.

Today I did something I didn’t want to do. I walked into a conference room and I fought for my daughter. I was scared, angry, and so very sad that this is the current situation for us. But I did it because I know it’s what is best for her. This is the essence of being a mother. You ignore the knots in your stomach and you set your emotions aside to do the one thing, even if it scares you, that you know is best for your child.

So when I introduce myself as Bella’s mommy, what I’m really saying is “I am stronger, happier, more compassionate, more loving, more reliable, more responsible, more giving, wiser, and less selfish, because this little girl snuck into my life at the perfect moment and made me that way.”

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