This Mother's Day seems different. In three months, I'll be a mother. Or to this little boy, I already am. I am sure next year at this time I'll have a whole new appreciation for what my mom did for me 28 years ago.
But the last six months have shown me what she did before I breathed my first.
She worried about me constantly for nine months, especially in the beginning. She worried that I would be healthy and strong. That all my parts would be in the right places. That her body would sustain a life growing inside her.
She gave up caffeine. Wine and beer. She tried to eat as many fruits and veggies as she could. She says she felt the healthiest of her life when she was pregnant with me. Later when she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, she gave up sugar. All sugar. She worried that if she didn't do everything right, it would somehow affect my health.
She read pregnancy books. She did special exercises. She sewed her own maternity clothes. She endured backaches, swollen ankles and heartburn like you wouldn't believe. She watched her body transform from something she used to know to something built to grow a life - still beautiful but very, very different. She looked at her closet every morning realizing she probably was wearing the same thing she wore two days ago because that's what fits. She worried her body would never look the same again.
She was scared. Excited. Anxious. Overjoyed. Nervous. All at once.
As the due date approached, she worried more. Worried that my lungs were developed enough to breathe on their own. That I would be alert, and she'd hear that cry immediately. That as the months went on that I would continue to develop as I should.
She took childbirth classes. She toured the maternity ward and listened to the women scream. She then promptly decided that she would NOT be a screamer. Thousands of women do this everyday, there is no reason for screaming. And she didn't.
She washed all my clothes and blankets with special soap. She saved pennies to be able to buy a rug for the nursery. She worked til the day she went in labor and then shopped for glasses with my dad on her way to the hospital. She did it all while helping to put my dad through the final year of his PhD program.
She wondered if she'd know what to do when she got home. If she could figure out breastfeeding. If she knew how to give me a bath. What she would do if I cried all night long. If she could do it all on two hours of sleep and not go crazy.
She did it all without ultrasounds. Without pregnancy websites that address every worry. Without knowing if I'd be a boy or girl or what my 4D profile looked like.
Now I get it. How much joy, how much work and how much worry went into my life before she even saw my face.
Thank you, Mom. For loving me so much before you even knew me.
Read more: 100 things my mom taught me.