Before: you could divide “before” in so many ways. Before Zoey left us. Before she was born. Before her diagnosis. Before I was pregnant. It’s an ever evolving life story. Where do you begin? Before getting pregnant, Joe and I had a good, strong marriage. For this I am thankful. We traveled through the Caribbean and Hawaii. We went where we wanted, when we wanted. I’ve always felt the most peaceful at the beach so we found our way to one often.
Then we found out we were expecting. And life changed. But we planned on taking our new little one to the beach with us. We even had a trip planned while I was pregnant.
Then we went to the ultrasound at 12 weeks and the tech saw something. And life changed again. Priorities changed. The world changed– even if just for us. The last shred of naivety was gone. My daughter would not survive. I was not clueless to pain before this. I’d suffered the sting of loss. My great-grandmother who I adored. My father who I was so close to. But hearing those words stung in a way I never could imagine. I want to take this moment to apologize to all my friends who had miscarriages. I didn’t know. I didn’t understand how attached you became to someone you hadn’t met. But I understand now. And I’m sorry if I was not there for you. If I didn’t have enough empathy. If I was one of those people that said something not at all comforting. I love you all. And I understand your pain now.
I feel like I’d always been fairly grounded and had a decent grasp on what really matters in life. Zoey’s diagnosis solidified that. Zoey mattered–very little else did.
Before becoming Zoey’s mom I was hesitant about the role of “mom”. Would I like it? Would I be good at it? I didn’t really identify with the extreme anxiety infertility causes some women because I really thought I’d be okay if we didn’t have children. But all that went away the moment I held her. I adored being Zoey’s mom. I loved who I became as soon as I earned the title “mom”. The fierce loyalty to my child and husband– my little family. The pride I felt for her fighting spirit and her beautiful soul. I loved being her guardian. Her protector. The person that loved her in a way that no one else could. She gave me more of a purpose. She showed me true, unspoiled, unconditional love. And I adored every part of her. Those soft little feet. Her little lips. The sweet dimple. Those beautiful, piercing blue eyes.
I’m Zoey’s mom. I will forever be her mom. And I believe she is the best part of me. I think I do a decent job at being a wife, daughter and friend. But I’m most proud of the time I spent mothering her. And I continue to be her mom– even though she’s not here for me to raise.
We knew we were on borrowed time with Zoey. We knew we’d have to give her back. Maybe that’s why we loved her so strongly, so deeply. Or maybe that’s just what being a mom is all about.