Monday, September 24, 2007

Bon Anniversaire, Ma Petite

This is late. Marguerite's birthday was on September 22 and until the last party to prepare for was over, I didn't have the luxury to blog.
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The notion of motherhood has always been something that overwhelmed me. I have always been very much a daughter, my parents' child, that it still amazes me sometimes that that particular identity has already merged into another role, an immensely important role that commands responsibility on a much higher, more serious level. Needless to say, when the day to day hustle and bustle hits a lull and there's time to ponder, the enormity of the task registers all over again and I am awed. And petrified. When in that moment, what else is there to do, but to give out a little prayerful, panic-stricken yelp of "Help, Lord!".
As awesome as it is and despite prevailing doubts, the role of a mother had also always been something that I had wished to step into. Eventually. Later. When I grew up. A mother needed to be mature and one of my faults has always been the fact that I have traces of l'enfant terrible in me. Up to the last baby shower I had attended before getting pregnant, where the others had teased me about being next and I had
replied with a very definite, "Not yet.", I still really hadn't been entertaining the idea. A month or two later, the old biological clock kicked in and I finally found myself considering doing something about it. I talked things over with Husband and he agreed that it was time. One month later, I peed on a stick and it showed two lines.
It wasn't an easy pregnancy. I had hyperemesia until the fifth month. It was the most uncomfortable I had ever been in my life. My hormones raged and I had bouts of the blues, paranoia, panic, guilt, etc. (gotta love those hormones) and yet, it was also wonderful. My baby was growing inside of me. There was thrill, excitement, and, understandably, impatience. Something that I had read before helped me deal with this. I was obviously longing to see, hold, and interact with my baby. I wanted so much for her to come out so we could bond already, but the fact was we're never going to be as bonded as we were at that time. No matter how much I hold her tightly now, she's never going to be closer to me as she was cradled in my womb.
When it was time for Marguerite to be born, she came into this world with a cheerful face. She was shown to our families and even then, fresh from the delivery room, there was already something sunny about her expression. Her eyes were still a little puffed and she was no bigger than a baguette, but she curiously looked at the people around her and positively oozed vitality. So much for being a helpless little baby. That delicate and tiny body exuded spirit and good nature.
We brought Marguerite home and despite the sleepless nights, we had a happy, non-fussy baby on our hands. She wasn't a crier until it was time for bath and then she would let the neighborhood hear what a big voice she had. That's clearly something she didn't get from me as I'm squeaky on good days and shrill on less nice ones.
It's pretty amazing to realize the growth achieved in this situation. As my daughter got heavier and bigger and reached all of the baby milestones, I, in turn, grew in knowledge, judgment, and capabilities. There's no truth in the assumption that being a mother or raising a family limits potentials and hampers the freedom to explore. I cannot tell you the number of times since becoming pregnant I surprised myself doing something beyond the person I believed myself to be. Perhaps going out is no longer as manageable as it used to be, but there's much to explore introspectively anyway. Now that Marguerite is a toddler, we can extend our version of exploring farther.
Marguerite started out looking more like her Dad, but now, most people observe that she takes after me. Either way is fine. Either way, it really doesn't matter. I'm a mother and when I see my daughter, all I see is beauty.
The fears and doubts may be still be there, albeit dormant, but what's important is that I'm working hard and incessantly praying to ensure a good, beautiful, and happy life for my daughter. My task becomes clearer everyday. It's a big job, but I wake up with new blessings every morning. I see the baby lying next to me transform from day to day into a little girl whose smiles of good morning promise more precious and lovely moments and my heart fills and spills over with love, joy, and gratitude. Motherhood, indeed, never stops to be overwhelming.


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