What is a “Mom”?

Maternal feelings. Wanting to have kids and be a mom. Baby fever. Raising children.

I didn’t have any of those kinds of feelings in my teens or twenties, not even my thirties. I didn’t like playing with dolls and pretending to be a mom. I wanted to go outside and climb a tree or ride my bike. As a young adult, I was in the military and took full advantage of free birth control pills because I didn’t want kids.

I also had PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), but it was undiagnosed until my late thirties. I skipped periods all the time and so getting pregnant was kind of a crap shoot. I did get pregnant once, I miscarried about 2 months in. I never knew I was pregnant until the miscarriage. I wasn’t that upset about it, never got followed up by my doctor. I had accepted the fact that I wasn’t cut out for kids and moved on.

Yes, there were twinges of envy. Especially when my brother had his daughter and I watched her grow up and saw the love and delight on her parents faces. Even now, when I hear about her, I get a little twinge of something. I’m not even sure what to call it. But I feel it.

It’s too late for me now to have a child of my own. I had a total hysterectomy at 38 years old. I’m now 59. I have discovered however, that I am a mom of a sort, and not in a way I ever imagined.

My first “daughter” came from a relationship some years ago. Chanda was his daughter and she lived with us for a few months, and even started school while living with us. I was astute enough to recognize that her father wasn’t a great dad, he didn’t know her needs and he wasn’t able to connect with her the way she needed him too. I knew. We connected. She became more than my boyfriend’s kid who was living with us and then would leave. She was the first to call me “mom”.

My second “daughter” came in the form of a Goddaughter, Asha. I was there the night she was born. She’s a Samhain child, born just before sunrise on Nov 1. I was the 2nd person to hold her. Ironically, Asha looked like the perfect love child of myself and her actual mom, my friend Tiye. Everywhere we went, people would wonder whose child she was, mine or hers. It was hilarious actually, watching faces contort as they tried to figure it out. Asha is a beautiful person and I’m just as proud of her as her mother is.

Things come in threes, and this was no exception. My third daughter came from a work friendship that grew into much more because of Covid. I knew Katie from the clinic we worked in. We became fast friends there and I knew I had to introduce her to my wife. Covid hit and life in the clinic changed radically. We decided to have weekends together at Katie’s apartment. With everything shut down and fear of what was going on in the world, those weekends became something more. We became family. Katie had been thrown out of her home when she came out as gay. She has a growing relationship with her parents now but as they are both straight and Christian, my wife and I became her lesbian moms.

I love these three people deeply. My heart aches when they are in pain, soars when they succeed.

What is a mom? I don’t think there’s a list of requirements. Yes, some will say you gotta actually give birth, but what about stepmothers? What about adopted babies? Some might say it’s gotta be from childhood on, but what about adopting older kids?

There are no rules on what being a mom means. There’s only the heart and who it loves. And how you show that love. I’m a mom of 3 people who need me in that role and I’m very content and happy to be that. Unconventional? Yup. But you know something? Maybe we would all be a little bit happier if we had more than one mom to call upon. If there was a 2nd mom who we felt a bit freer to talk to, let it all come out to this person who knows you better than your birth mom.

A mom is more than birthing a child. Being a mom is something that comes from the heart. It’s a way of loving someone that makes the love unconditional. No matter what. I’m a mom now. And it feels wonderful.

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