Thirty-six years ago, two days before my eighteenth birthday, I gave birth to my firstborn son. He’s pushing forty but as the saying goes he’s still my little boy.
Ten months earlier David and I had married. The length of time is pertinent to the story as I’ve been asked if I had to get married. I wasn’t pregnant when I got married, nor did I think I was. We were two people in love who got married, thought kids were part of marriage, and didn’t prevent Mother Nature from taking its course.
For the record, the big kids were skeptical. I think they were in their teens when they asked to see our marriage license. After some procrastination, I dug it out of the personal document box that was stashed with other piles of stuff in our bedroom closet. It verified my virtue and they were satisfied.
Even my obstetrician asked me how I got pregnant. Sitting on a stool opposite him at my first visit, he told me about other young women who had come in using all manner of excuses for their condition. I flashed him a look of disbelief and said that I was a married woman. It was a nerve wracking afternoon (it was my first visit with a gynecologist), but we had established the foundation for a good, honest relationship.
Over the next 7 months, we would gain each others’ respect. I trusted his opinion and we discussed nursing and natural childbirth. He gave a thumbs up on nursing, a thumbs down on natural childbirth.
“Why go through all of the pain of childbirth,” he said.
It was 1973 and there was a new pain free method of delivery. I thought it over and concluded it was right for me. So unlike in “Forty and Pregnant” where I told the story of having M and E the natural way, I delivered Jared by epidural. All went well and it was uneventful until I got home.
That’s when the nursing every two hours around the clock took its toll. When I wasn’t nursing I was in a warm bath trying to relieve my breasts engorgement, or packed in cabbage as a natural remedy to my discomfort. I found myself waking in my rocking chair holding the baby and thanking God I hadn’t dropped him. So exhausted during a visit from my mom and aunt, I broke down, cried and declared that I would not have any more babies.
I can still see the smile on my mom’s face when she said, “Oh, yes you will. You will forget all of this.”
Of course, she was right.
As I sit here on my son’s 36th birthday and reflect on motherhood, I am reminded of my husband’s concept that something happens to a girl after giving birth. He suspects that right after delivery we are visited by a covert soul who whispers in our ears, the secrets of motherhood.
Yes, the moment a child is born, a mother is born also…forever changed and blessed with life’s most precious gift.