Seven years ago today, I got the best Mother’s Day present ever.
I know anyone who has a child on Mother’s Day weekend feels that, but for us it was even more amazing. Those of you who know us well, know that our first daughter, Serena, died of a genetic illness called SMA. What I don’t talk about nearly as often as my beautiful baby girl is the fact that her death, and the possibility that it could happen to any child we had (a one in four chance) made it quite doubtful that we would ever have the courage to try again. The reality that we might have to go through that kind of pain and suffering again was, well, horrifying.
My personal struggle of trying to come to terms with the fact that, after having been a mother (and loving it), I might never get to experience that again . . . Well, let me just say there was a lot of anger, bitterness and agony. My heart was broken on so many fronts.
Then one day, I found out I was pregnant. Because of the danger, we had been trying to prevent, and yet, there I was pregnant anyway only a year after Serena had died. The almost paralyzing fear that came over us . . . ! I wanted to be happy. I wanted to experience the joy that other mothers feel, but all I felt was pure terror at the thought that I might have to watch another of my babies die.
For four months I struggled with a mixture of fear and a fledgling hope. We had an amniocentesis to check the DNA of the baby and sent it off to one of the two labs in the US capable of doing that kind of analysis, and we waited another month with fear holding our hearts in his hand.
Every time the phone rang, my heart stopped. Finally, after a month of waiting, I got the call. My little boy was going to be okay. I was going to be a mother again.
On Mother’s Day weekend, my little guy came into the world screaming. A healthy, strong little boy. I was not only given the best boy in the world for Mother’s Day, but Motherhood, something that I thought would be denied to me.
Despite the chaos and frustrations of parenthood, I can’t help but be incredibly grateful every day for the gift I was given against all the odds.
Happy Mother’s Day to all you Mother’s out there. You have been given a gift in Motherhood.