Moms always say: “You will understand once you have your own kids”. Now that I am a mother, I appreciate, value and respect my mother more than ever. I didn’t know how much I was going to need her until I gave birth. The moment I became a mother was also the moment in which I was my mother’s baby. For Mother’s Day, I celebrate my mom for helping me become a mom. When I was pregnant I was living in New York City I but my mom lives in California. She arrived a few days before my due date but my baby was born 10 days past the due date. We spent our days watching novelas as we patiently waited for his arrival.
When I finally went into labor
My mother was so worried and nervous that it seemed like she was the one in labor. Once I pushed my baby out, my husband stayed with the baby and watched as the doctors checked the baby, cleaned him and measured him. My mom didn’t rush to see the baby, she stayed with me. She never let go of my hand. She made sure I got food and water right after labor. She cleaned me up, brushed my hair, and made me look semi-presentable. There was a point during labor that she could have taken a nap but she never did. She didn’t want to leave the hospital but wasn’t allowed to spend the night. She told my husband she wanted to sleep in the lobby but he convinced her to go to my apartment. She only slept a couple of hours because she rushed right back to the hospital.
My mom took special care of me during the 4th trimester
Every day she cooked and cleaned my apartment. She bathed and nurtured me. I had a natural birth and recovery was not painful, but my mom treated me like her baby. She made sure I ate healthy, that I slept, and that emotionally I was well. She showed me how to bathe the baby, how to change diapers, how to burp him, how to put his clothes on and how to soothe him.
Of course my over-protective Mexican mother also drove me nuts
She basically poured oatmeal down my throat. In order to produce more breastmilk, she fed me pounds of oatmeal. To make sure I recovered from labor she only made broths. To make sure I regained my pre-pregnancy body she wrapped me up in a tight girdle every day. Remember the scene from Titanic when Rose is in a corset and her mom pulls the strings so hard it seems her guts will come out? That was my mom, wrapping me up like a piece of meat.
After 40 days, my mom had to go back to her life, to my dad and to her job in California. The day before she left I cried like I’ve never cried before. I was terrified. How was I going to take care of the baby by myself while my husband was at work? How was I going to cook and clean with a newborn? I begged her to stay. My husband even offered to pay her.
My mother hugged me and said: “You are a mother now and you will do great. It’s time for you to be on your own. Trust your mother instinct. I’m only a phone call away.” I told her I couldn’t do it without her. She reminded me that she immigrated to the US when she was pregnant with me. She was in a new country where she didn’t know the language, the culture, couldn’t drive, couldn’t work and was forced to take care of a little girl by herself while my father was off working two jobs to make ends meet.
That little girl is now a new mother that has a profound and deeper lover for her mother. I now understand the true meaning of a mother’s love.