Monday, May 14, 2012

20 Defining Moments of Being a Mama.

Yesterday was my fourth Mother's Day.  It's hard to even remember all those years ago when  I celebrated Mother's Day for the first time with a seven week old baby in a bleary eyed stated.  Me.  Not the baby.  
I was still trying to figure out this being-a-mom thing back then (who am I kidding?  I still am.) and I was also in the midst of that many-month long waiting process until an adoption is finalized and I lived each day holding my breath a little bit, even though I really knew in my head.......things were fine.  
During that "waiting" period I internalized every little thing about my daughter.  I was storing them, searing them, etching them, and locking them into my soul in case..................
Many of those moments defined me as a mom.  Habits I started then, I still do.  Routines I initiated during the wait, I still carry out.  Things I worried about then, I still fret over.  
A fellow adoptive mama that I've recently met and profiled on Mom Colored Glasses this week posted a piece about her twenty defining moments of motherhood on her blog.  It was contemplative, introspective, moving, and so very relatable.  Because all of us moms, if we think about it, can put our finger on moments that made us who we are as moms.  And they are by no means exhaustive.  They're just what stand out........right now.......
So here are 20 Defining Moments of Motherhood......with a few pictures of our Mother's Day yesterday.  


1.  My first tears after one of our adoption education classes.  Adoption was hard.  I was being asked to stretch myself in ways I didn't really want to stretch.  I was being trained to be a mom.....I know that now.  
2.  Meeting Georgia's birth-parents and feeling all of my armor against open adoption just clatter to the floor in a matter of five minutes.  I stepped over all that ridiculous armor and gave them a hug.  One of many.  
3. Getting that phone call at 12:30 in the morning on March 20th, 2009--Georgia was on her way.  This was happening. 

4.  Putting Georgia in her car seat and walking out of her birth mom's hospital room with her.  I was crying huge wracking sobs.  I could hardly breathe.  I felt like the worst person in the world........and the luckiest.  Two emotions that have a hard time living together.  

5.  Letting Georgia sleep on my chest in bed.  It went against all advice but I needed it and she needed it that first week home from the hospital.  It really cemented for me the fact that I was her mom.......and let's be honest.  It helped us all get some sleep.  

6. When I called Chris at work when Georgia was five weeks old and she'd been crying for five hours. I told him I really needed him to come home.  I needed help.  It's okay--and necessary to ask for help when you're a mom.  Do it.  

7.  The first time someone ever said anything negative to me about birthparents.  I let them know quickly how wrong they were. 

8.  When the doctor told me Georgia would need to wear a helmet for a few months.  I was distraught.  And then I remembered; she's healthy, there are no problems, she has a flat spot, we'll fix it.  Perspective--I needed to get some.  

9.  The day we got the phone call that we'd been assigned a court date.  The adoption was final.  

10.  When Georgia was eleven months old I found myself bent over the toilet puking one morning, Chris was out of the country, and I had to be at work in an hour to lead an all day training.  I've got this.  No really, I do.  

11.  When I realized, as Georgia approached her first birthday, that what I wanted career wise was light years away from what I'd wanted just one year prior........and I couldn't even remember being the me that had wanted something so different.  And I was perfectly fine with that.  And still am. 
12.  The first time I realized it was easier to control a classroom of 7th grade history students than my two year old.  I needed to be humbled.  I actually didn't have this.  
13.  When Georgia tells me, "Mommy--you're my best."

14.  The first time I threw away the "extra-super strength" diaper rash medicine Georgia had been prescribed......again...... and listened to my mom's advice instead.  It worked.  In one day.  My mom is right........almost always.  I need to listen to her more.  A lot of times, other mamas can give you better advice than your doctor. 

15.  The first time I let Georgia bring her own grocery cart to the store and she walked ahead of me.  Independently. Totally uninhibited.  And I realized.........she's going to be grown up so fast.  These years......when she's young and needs me 150% of the time I'm all hers.  I can't let anything come between us.  
16.  When Chris and I made a parenting decision others didn't understand.  And we didn't care. I believe God gives you a 'gut' instinct about your kids He doesn't give to other people and it's our job as parents to listen to those instincts.......despite what others might think.  It paid off.  

17.  The first conversation that Georgia and I REALLY had regarding why she grew in Tarah's tummy, but doesn't live with her.  We'll have more of these I know.......and they're important.........I am {mostly} ready.  
18.  When Georgia decided all on her own that she was ready to use the potty.......after many months of trying to teach her to no avail.'s not really something moms ever have even though we try to attain it over and over and over.........instead we provide guidance and love and support and wisdom.  
19.  When we went to a friends adoption finalization hearing this past winter at the same court house that Georgia's was at........she was thrilled to be there.  She told everyone that it was where her 'doption day' had been too.  I was so proud of her.  It is my deep hope that I can continue to foster a sense of pride in her that she is adopted.  
20.  Realizing that being a mom is one of the most important things I'll ever do.  The hardest.  And most rewarding. 

These eyes.....She loves to make them......and she's really good at it.  We tried the whole, "they'll stay like that if you keep doing it," and realized we sounded like grand-parents so we stopped.  And now it's a sure fire way to get her to smile for pictures!

What are yours?  What are your defining moments as a mom.  What precious minutes have made you realize, "This is who I am. This is what makes me a mom.  These are the moments that I will hold to tightly and never let go." 

I'd love to hear them.  


To end......I need to say thank-you.  Thank you to Kelle Hampton for including me in her latest post.  She asked for women to tell their stories; stories of working through something hard and something uncomfortable--stories that made us 'bloom.' I am honored that she chose a portion of our adoption story amongst the hundreds of entries she received.  Entries that detailed strong, courageous, unrelenting women facing some of life's most horrendous battles.  Read them.  They are inspiring. 

If I had to pick a #21 of defining moments--this would be it.  It's taught me that my voice for adoption is worthy and valuable and true and that I don't need to stifle it.  And as I've said over and over, I will work to cultivate a culture of adoption in this country. In little ways and in big ways.  Every day.  


  1. Way to go on your "Bloom" debut!
    Twisting this a litle bit...I think being a mom has offered up a defining moment as a teacher...How lucky am I that at this very moment, I'm teaching kids that are the same age as one of mine. I relate to them on a more personal level. They know my kids because I talk about them all the time. I know how exciting it is when they tell me they have a soccer game...or when Daddy is coming home from a long trip...or when their mom checks in on them because they had a rough morning and they want to make sure it doesn't trickle over into their school day...or when they have a successful moment and I get to tell their parents...or when they've had a rough day at school and their behavior is nothing to brag about, but it just slips off my shoulders and I move on. Years ago, it would have ruined my day, but now, I know that tomorrow is a different day, a differet mood, a new chance, because tha's what I've learned as a mom.

  2. I found your blog through Kelle Hampton's blog and I have to say: I love it. I've always admired parents that have adopted; it seems like such a privilege. Who knows if I'll adopt someday [I would love to]... I guess I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story. I'm excited to continue reading!

    1. So good to have you Amy! Adoption is amazing.........and I feel so honored to have been able to do it. It is truly life-changing.

  3. One of mine was when A wasn't able to take a bottle and really wasn't able to nurse well and we had about 3 weeks until school started. She was nursing almost constantly. We knew something was wrong and had the referral to Mary Free Bed but it was taking forever for everything to get approved. I was just sitting and waiting for them to push it through and school was coming closer and closer. Then I realized that I was the one who had to make this happen. I was so worried about being a PITA to the insurance company that I forgot that this was my job now. To be her advocate.

    1. Yes! NO ONE advocates for your kid except you! I have had to get down right rude with doctors and specialists with all the UTI stuff we've gone through with Georgia. That is absolutely a defining moment.

  4. Loved your list too!! Love the analogy of armor clattering to the floor. So true. Beautiful, friend!!

  5. Great list Maggie, and I love the first picture of you two. So cute. I have several mom-defining moments. The first time you drop your baby off in the church nursery and *you* are the one that has to pick her up. She's mine. Those moments when my babies would cry and cry and cry for anybody else, but the second I took them, they were quiet and satisfied and secure. I'm a mom. But the most recent one I can think of is just a few weeks ago while with my cousin who has children all the same age as mine. Stuck in a two stalled bathroom (for the 3rd time in the day) with six kids between the two of us. Two strollers with two babies just barely squeezed in. Two jumping 5 and 6 year old girls, hopping up and down, up and down, up and down to each show the other how to reach the lever on the out of reach paper towel dispenser. And two 3 year old boys, switching the light, on, off, on, off, on, off, on, off.... We had no control. All we could do is laugh hysterically at the moment and know, WE HAD ARRIVED!

  6. One of my defining moments was when my son, Stephen, age 10, was diagnosed with a disease. He had what we thought was the stomach flu. It was diabetes. He spent 3 days in PICU at U of M. While he was there, we were in shock, and being educated by the hospital staff on diet, injections, glucose monitoring, our life was taking a major turn. It was too much. It was overwhelming. I was scared and having a hard time doing anything but crying. After one of our "classes", I just remember saying to myself, "okay, I am the mom, I can do this. If I have a child with diabetes, then I am going to be the best mom of child with diabetes that I can possibly be." And although it was still hard, more hard than I could have imagined, I had a purpose, a direction and a goal. And I started moving away from the tragedy of the diagnosis and toward the best life for my son.

    1. What I love here "I decided that if I was going to have a child with diabetes, then I am going to be the best mom of a chid with diabetes that I can possibly be." I think I kind of took that approach with infertility and adoption too. "If I'm going to be an adoptive mom, I'm going to do adoption right. I'm going to tell everyone about it and promote it and be proud of it." I think that's such a healthy perspective for us moms to take. You're a great mom--I'm so happy to know you. :)

  7. I, too, found you from Kelle's blog - amazing story. It gives me hope. My husband and I have tried for a baby since we first got married close to 2 years ago. We are leary in trying much for fertility treatments and are JUST finally getting to the point where we don't go into a {deep} depression for a few days after my cycle would start. We've finally decided, after talking with several other couples, that 2 years really isn't always that long to have trouble conceiving. We finally decided that we'll try for a few more years to have our own baby (cause really, who doesn't want to experience THAT miracle). No major fertility treatments - just prayers and hope and practice. And yes, we have decided that if it just doesn't work in a few years that we will start the adoption process. Cause we believe we are meant to be parents. We believe, now, that it will happen - how or when, well that's out of our hands. I believe that God laughs at our plans we make for our lives - cause He ultimately knows are plans, and they are usually WAY better. No, it's still not always easy, especially around occasions like Mother's Day when everyone dotes about how wonderful mommies are (and that is an understatement) and that's all you've wanted was to be one. Our priest said in his homily on Mother's Day that children are God's gift to parents. It made me think that maybe we have a little more work to do before God feels we deserve a gift. What ever it is, I am learning to be more patient, learning to pray more and discover what it is God still needs me to do, learning to refocus my attention on my husband and our marriage the way it is now, to embrace this time when it's just the 2 of us. I find inspiration reading about other people's trials and tribulations. This is the first blog I've come across that has a focus on adoption...and I'm hooked! And your family is beautiful! Thank you!

    1. Thank you Becca for coming by!!! It's so great to meet other people who have walked some of the same steps we've walked. I think the best thing that my husband and I did when we were going through the whole "process" was setting a time frame for ourselves. It helped me relax....a little. I just knew that if we set ourselves a one year time limit or whatever on whatever it was that I didn't have to feel the pressure to talk about something or decide something until that time limit came due. And if at that time, we needed more time--we set a new deadline. And during those time frames I think I was able to relax and process and figure out what I really wanted without a whole bunch of other "noise." Peace and prayers for you as you walk this road.....and protection from people who think they're saying something helpful and really it's just hurtful. I've been there girl!

    2. Thanks for the inspiration and prayers! I would say we are close to that peaceful point where we can just relax and let it be what was meant to be...whatever that is.


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