53: The Labor of Two Moms

53: The Labor of Two Moms

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms

The Labor of Two Moms

Not flesh of my flesh, Nor bone of my bone, But still miraculously my own. Never forget for a single minute, You didn’t grow under my heart—but in it.

~Fleur Conkling Heyliger

“I was in labor for eight years.” That is how almost all new moms begin the story of their child’s arrival. So, to fit in with all the other new moms, I decided to begin my story that way, too.

But I wasn’t really “in labor” all that time. I was waiting. It was a cycle of home studies and social workers, adoption agencies and lawyers… endless paperwork and parenting classes that spoke of the days to come. Eight years of preparation for the child we hoped would be ours one day.

And then, just as an expectant woman gives birth, we became parents overnight. The most wonderful gift I was ever given came to me from a perfect stranger who had enough faith to believe that this was the right thing to do. This stranger’s face is as familiar to me as my own. I can count her freckles, and see my reflection in the piercing blue eyes that grace the peaches-and-cream complexion. I know her well, though we haven’t met. Wrapped in a pink blanket, she came—the most precious of gifts, my daughter.

When I heard the words, “We have a baby girl for you,” I knew my life was about to change. And it did. I became a mom, with all the same experiences of any new mom. There were diapers and formula, toys and nap times. There have been moments of pride and joy unlike any other experience in life. She is almost grown now, and it has been a wonderful journey. These are my experiences because a young woman had a difficult choice to make, and she chose wisely. She chose with the wisdom of a mother.

Her act of love created the best part of my life. Because of her gift, I am able to hear the sound of my daughter’s voice when she says “Mom.” I am a mother forever because of the choices made by one young woman. Someday, I hope to be able to thank her and tell her about the miracle who is my daughter. She is the child of my heart.

One day, I will share this with her other mom. I will tell her of the most beautiful baby, of the dark hair and blue eyes that swept me away when I first held her, and of the love I felt at that precise moment. I will tell her of the toddler with the bouncing pigtails who delighted everyone with her smile. I will tell her of the kindergartner who worried about a little boy in her class who was teased by the other children, and how she shared her first kiss with a boy when she was only five.

I will share my Halloween costume design for the rainbow unicorn pony that she just had to be when she was six, and for the Dalmatian costume that was a black dog with white spots. I will describe the butterfly outfit she wore in second grade, and share the memories of her first Christmas when the families spoiled her so thoroughly that she had to take a nap just to have enough energy to open all her presents. I will share the photos that tell the story of our daughter growing up.

I will tell her of all the Mother’s Days that have passed, when I thanked her silently for each and every day of being a mother to my daughter. I will tell her of the wonderful young woman she has become, one who loves music and sign language, works hard at school, and loves to read and write poetry and stories.

I don’t know if she has become a mother again, but I know the time will soon come to share my daughter. A part of me feels this is only fair, as I have had the privilege of being her mother for more than seventeen years. But another part of me wants to hold onto her for myself, to prevent any possible hurt. Someone as wonderful as my daughter deserves to be shared with the woman who gave her life. I will always be the mom who was there when she had an ear infection or the chickenpox. But there is another who also deserves to know her.

So, when the time comes to meet my daughter’s other mother, here’s what I’ll say to her: Please be careful when you meet her. Remember that she loves you unconditionally. She does not know the specific reasons for your choices, but she wants to know, and she wants to know you. You hold her heart in your hands in a way I will never be able to do for her, no matter how intense the love I have for her. As you once treated her gently in your womb, treat her gently now. She is most vulnerable to being hurt by you, but also hoping for your love. She wants to know if she is like you, and I believe that she is. But she is also a part of me and my husband, her father, so please understand how torn her feelings may be.

She is an only child, and though I wished for her to have a sibling, that was not in God’s plan for my family. I am hoping that you may be able to give this to her. I only want the best for my daughter—our daughter. You gave her life, and I gave her the mother’s love that she needed to grow up a happy and healthy young woman. She has been the best part of my life, and your choice made this possible for me.

I have a choice now, too. With faith and hope, you once gave her to me. Now I can share her with you with that same faith and hope. We both have had to make some difficult choices. You made the right choice then, and I am asking you to do so again. Treat her gently and love her. That is what I ask now—just as you once asked of me.

~Kathleen E. Jones

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