Why I’ll Miss This Mother’s Day

When I was 8 months pregnant with you (a year ago exactly today), crouching in the pasta aisle of the local Stop and Shop, an older woman crouched down beside me and wished me a Happy Mother’s Day. I thanked her and laughed, because even though I did think I had earned that title, most people didn’t see it that way.Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 10.20.56 AM.png

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They didn’t feel you the way I did, getting comfortable in there, nestled against the soft curve of my uterus. They didn’t feel you growing each day, each soft kick reminding me your heart was pumping vigorously with life. Each hiccup telling me that you were real in there, an extension of us.

They didn’t know about the fears keeping me up at night: the fear of losing you, of bringing you into this world, of raising you. How aware I was that you were a miracle… and praying for all the stars to align over the course of the nine months I carried you.

How worried I was…

Yes, I was definitely already a mother.

When I gave birth to you, the first words that made it through the sobs were, “look how beautiful he is”, because you were. A true miracle. I didn’t close my eyes for one second that night, admiring your beauty. Wrapped in layers of blankets like a tiny ear of corn. Your little fingers curling and uncurling.

Everything about you was a gift. The way you latched onto my breast so easily, only a few hours old,  as if you yearned for this bond as much as I did. The hours you spent with your face buried into my chest, our heartbeats falling in and out of sync with each other. I never wanted to let go… Couldn’t believe you were here to stay, little angel.

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Next year, you’ll be eating on your own (no more bite-sized pieces), running after the dogs, talking in fragmented sentences. I’ll miss you crawling towards me for milk and calling for me when you wake up from a scary dream. I might not even need to change your diapers and, who knows, I might start missing that too. The way you grab my face to plant one of your clumsy kisses right on my lips. Those moments in bed the three of us, laughing until our bellies hurt.

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Time isn’t slowing down and before I know it, you’ll be rolling your eyes when I tell you these stories. You’ll laugh because you’ll think I’m babying you, when really, I still picture myself holding my breath at each ultrasound, and in that delivery room, pushing with all the strength left in me to welcome you into this world. All that chaos… then the quiet, the peace, when they lay you down on my bare chest.

These stories won’t just be about you, but also about me… who I am now, as your mom. Because I can’t remember my life without you in it.  You are my biggest blessing and I am forever changed by you, Liam. Don’t ever forget that. I will always be there for you, your biggest fan, because you are an extension of my heart.

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Johanna Riehm teaches in the department of Communication and Media at Manhattanville College and in the department of English at Mercy College. She teaches courses in the history of communication, public speaking, and social media, as well as creative and technical writing workshops. Johanna’s work has been featured in Graffiti Literary Magazine, The Write Place at the Write Time, The Bangalore Review, Cactus Heart Press, and the LaMothe Review. She is working on her first longer work, a creative nonfiction novel called We Carved Our Names in Tamarind Trees.

10 thoughts on “Why I’ll Miss This Mother’s Day

  1. Yes, I very nice story. I lost my first son almost 6 years ago, but I’ll always be his mother and a mother.


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