Motherhood by Numbers

At six years old I went to live with my maternal grandparents. They adopted me after my parents had decided they were not up to the task of raising their three children.

At the age of 22, I became a single, unwed mother to a beautiful baby girl. She was adopted by a loving couple I had carefully chosen for her.

Three years later at 25, I was a stepmother to two children, aged 10 and 5.

I was 27 when I gave birth to my second child, a son.

And 29 when I gave birth to my second daughter.

I have seen motherhood from many different roles. And it’s hard, yet rewarding, from any angle. Watching my Grandma take on the role of adoptive mother gave me my first real lessons into what being a mom should look like. All the sacrifices she made and hard work she put into making us feel safe and loved were evident to me from a young age. I wish I had shown her more appreciation for all she did for me when I still had the chance.

When I became a birth mom to my first daughter I thought of all of the things my Grandma had done for my Mom by taking in her three kids. I was not in the position to do for my daughter all of those things I knew she deserved. So, somewhat like my own Mom (although under different circumstances), I decided I wasn’t the best person to raise her. Relinquishing this role was – is the most difficult decision I will ever make.

Marrying a man who had two kids was maybe not the smartest decision I could have made during that time of confusion and healing in my life after my daughter’s adoption. I was no more equipped to raise a child then, than I had been when my first daughter was born. However, there I was just a couple of years later in the throes of step-parenthood fumbling my way through every obstacle that presented itself. I would love to say that I eventually got the hang of it but really, I never did. Raising someone else’s children just never felt natural or easy to me. My hesitance to fully open myself up to them or to be vulnerable to their acceptance (or lack thereof) of me became painfully apparent over time, and took its toll on many lives.

Having my son and second daughter felt like a dream. Finally, these were my children that I could raise the way I wanted to. No one was trying to tell me what I could and couldn’t do with them. They were always there with me, they loved me unconditionally, and I never felt like I had to prove myself to them in any way. This motherhood role was by far the easiest I had experienced. I would be remiss not to admit that all of the motherhood failures and challenges I had seen and experienced up to becoming their mom had a great impact on my approach to mothering them.

I’ve made some mistakes on my motherhood journey and wasn’t able to give it my all every time I should have. But as I look at where I am now in life, there is nothing that defines me more than all of the ways in which motherhood has shaped the person I am. The daughter of a woman who abandoned me, the granddaughter of a woman who adopted me, a birth mom, step mom, and just plain old mom. I have navigated some of this path successfully and at other times failed miserably.

Becoming a mom is the easy part, actually mothering someone is the challenge. But as I stated before, there is no harder, yet rewarding role one can assume than being a mother. On this Mother’s Day I simply wanted to take a few moments to recall my journey and to show appreciation for all the different challenges that women tackle as mothers.

Published by lauratuzzio

I am a writer, wife, mom, and birthmom.

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