Most women long to be mothers. They picture a beautiful, snuggly baby in their arms that grows into an adorable, little toddler who becomes a student and goes off to school dressed impeccably with perfect behavior.
Or maybe that was just me since I was only twenty when I had my first baby and was utterly clueless. I didn't realize that the things which used to be mine, would no longer be mine. I knew that my body would house the tiny egg that would grow into that beautiful, snuggly baby but I didn't think much past that. After the long nine months, the giant amazon that I pushed out had to eat (she was 9 lb 2 oz). So I got my stomach area back, but lost my boobs. After four days in the hospital, we brought her home. That sleep thing that used to be mine? Gone. Time that used to be mine? Gone. Even the bed that used to belong to my husband and I was invaded by her. Fortunately, after two months, we kicked her out and regained a little sanity. As she grew older, the food that used to be mine became hers. Along with my toothbrush, drinks, laundry basket, shirts became nightgowns, socks became mittens, she took my crayons, markers, pencils, printer paper and then oh my God what were we thinking we had another one!
The whole thing started over again but there were TWO of them!
Just as we trained them to both be self-sufficient and got them out of the house- at least for eight hours a day- we did it to ourselves again. The girls wanted a little brother so we gave them one. I'd forgotten about all the things babies take from you. The girls got to see that the time that used to be theirs was gone. Although they had the advantage of giving him back when they wanted to go play, or eat, or read, or sleep, or brush their teeth, take a shower, go to the bathroom.
Two years later.....BAM! I never understood how women 'know' when their families were complete- until I saw those two pink lines. This is when I took a stand and demanded my body back. Two hours after the fourth child was brought into this world two weeks early because it was either get her out or commit me to the psych ward, my tubes were tied. I was going to reclaim my life.
As the girls grew older they morphed into these weird things called teenagers. My clothes and shoes started disappearing. Halfway through middle school, there went my tampons. Is nothing sacred? I could have sworn, when she was born, that my husband and I laid down the law about dating. I clearly remember saying she couldn't do it until she was thirty. I'd finally reclaimed my sleep a couple of years before then lost it again when the dating started. Suddenly I missed those 2 AM, 3 AM, 4 AM, 5 AM feedings. That child that used to belong only to us, suddenly belonged to someone else. Instead of being 'Kathryn's daughter' she became 'So and so's girlfriend.' I tried to offer her my toothbrush, food, drinks, clothes (she was still stealing my tampons) but she was grown up. Then the biggest change happened. I had to give her up to a college. I never imagined she wouldn't be here to take my tampons but off she went- taking them with her (although I steal hers when we go see her). Payback!
When we become a mom, our life becomes theirs. Forever. Twenty-one years ago, when I first became pregnant, I was no longer just Kathryn (or Bill's wife but that's a whole nuther article). I became 'Baby's Mommy.' Now, I'm an FGCU mom. I'm a SADD president's mom. I'm a baseball mom. I'm a dance mom.
I never knew how much I'd be giving up that was mine but I also never knew how much more I'd be getting in return. That makes losing my toothbrushes and tampons worth it.