Jackie Gillard: What Surprised Me Most About Motherhood

A Runner-up Winner of the YMC/Playtex Mommyville.ca Writing contest

Jackie Gillard - What Surprised Me Most About Motherhood

YMC teamed up with Playtex Mommyville.ca to celebrate the wild ride of parenting by asking moms to submit a story describing “What Surprised You Most About Motherhood.” The stories made our judges laugh, cry, and nod heads in agreement, but they were finally able to narrow it down to these winning submissions. Read this runner-up winner's story about how motherhood surprised her.

Four years since I first looked into those dark eyes and was lost forever.

Four years since the Magistrate signed the papers declaring me her mother.

How can four years feel like four seconds and forty years all rolled into one?

What a ride these four years have been.

I used to think parenting was about teaching your children — four years have taught me that I am the student.

She is the balm that soothes my wounds, yet also the razor that cuts some wounds so deep.

One gentle touch from her can make my day, one shoved-away attempt at affection can ruin it.

She is my world. My destiny. My life.

I never expected motherhood to be so incredibly all-consuming, so powerful, so hard, so full of joy, yet so unbelievably paradoxical.

I never expected any of this. I’m still surprised daily.

Surprised at my motherly instinct to protect her, no matter what, at any expense.

Surprised at how quickly and easily she can push every emotional button I have, some of them unknown prior to motherhood.

Surprised at how easily my heart (and eyes) well up with pride at moments I never thought I’d experience before I adopted her.

Surprised at the explosions of love and affection that burst inside of me again and again.

I am often astonished that I AM a mother.

I never expected to look back at my journey to her with gratitude and a sense of value.

I carry her losses as my own, yet they aren't my own and it surprise me daily how entwined her life before me is with the life we share together.

It is a revelation to acknowledge that if I had the power to make her losses disappear, I would also be making myself disappear from her life, but I would still do it if I could. For her. The selflessness of my love is in such dark contrast to the selfish intentions I had when I sought her out to fill a void in my life. I adopted her for me, yet "me" is now nothing in my priority list relative to her. 

After four years, I am continuously astounded how four incomplete people, not linked by genetics, have come together to create a complete family.

For even more inspiring stories that celebrate and reflect on what it means to be a mom, visit our "YMC and Playtex Mommyville.ca Writing Contest Winners" page.

On New Year's eve 2006, I married the man of my dreams. Well, ok – the second man of my dreams after the first dream ended in divorce. Seems the 1st and 2nd men of my dreams both have the same first name, but that has benefits sometimes.... With my man came his awesome mini-me son who lives with us 50% of the time so I got a 2-for-1 deal.  I always wanted children (that called me "mommy"), so after we married, we marched off to the fertility specialist. Scads of money and tears later, no baby appeared, so we began a new journey to adopt internationally.  Our brilliant daughter has been a part of our family since 2009 and is the joy of my life. Being a mom through adoption is hard. Being a stepmom is hard.  Being a transracial mom is hard. Being a mom of ANY kind is hard, as well as the most rewarding experience you could ever have. Come read all about my momiverse in my crazy, busy, fruity, sweet and spicy blog at: http://mypapayajambalaya.wordpress.com/

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