i am yours, and you are mine

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On this day three years ago, Austin entered our lives in the darkness of early morning. This is the day I became a mother. This is the day I appreciated my own mother more than I ever had in my life. This is the day I learned the true definition of unconditional love.

Before we had children, I never held babies. Really. Never. I can name a single occasion that I held a baby without coercion from a friend or family member. They were such fragile, foreign creatures, and, frankly, I didn’t know what to do with them. Even while six months pregnant with our first, I reluctantly held a friend’s newborn. Needless to say, I was hoping this natural mothering instinct would kick in fast.

Every night, the hubs and I would lie in bed, watching Austin have a party in my tummy. We would talk to him. We would sing to him. We would pray for him. But, it still didn’t feel real.

Then, at 34 weeks pregnant, I started having contractions. Real contractions. I was given a steroid shot to speed up his lung development, and, immediately placed on bed rest in hopes that he would cook a little longer. That’s about the point I realized my time was up. I’m about to be a mom.

Much to the doctor’s surprise, that little boy held out for another four weeks, and, at 38 weeks pregnant, our precious Austin entered this world with a little bit of oxygen and only minor complications. As I cradled him for the very first time, my fears of inadequacy and instincts drifted away. I memorized every inch of his face in a split second, and I stared in awe at this amazing gift from God.

I was a mother, a mom, a mommy. I am his mommy for now and always.

Often we debate whether a woman becomes a mother during pregnancy or at birth or even after. There is no correct answer. Everyone comes to it in their own time. For me, there is no question. While I understood the concept of becoming a mother while pregnant, my complete heart and soul were not there until I looked into Austin’s big, beautiful eyes for the first time. There is no doubt I loved my child before he was born, but I believe becoming a mother is more than a label.

The day I became a mom, I knew it. I felt it. It became a part of me. My heart was fuller than I knew possible. He was mine to love, to kiss, to teach, to guide, to share. I knew I would do anything for my child.

On this day three years ago, I never could have imagined what the next few years would hold. Most days are incredibly hard. But, even on the hardest of days, that sweet giggle or impromptu “I love you” from the mouth of your child renews our spirit and gives us strength. The strength to love them unconditionally.

What an incredible gift to be called mom.

You, my sweet Austin, fill my life with laughter and pure love. You teach me. You open my eyes to see. You bring joy and light to a world full of darkness. I am blessed to be your mother. I am yours, and you are mine. Always.

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