God this whole motherhood thing is incredible. On a daily basis I am terrified, elated, overcome with compassion and devotion, and amazed at some tiny thing she’s done – her half smile when she notices something small, like me crunching pumpkin seeds, her grabbing the window blinds with abandon as I try to pick her up from the changing station. What can I say except that I’m smitten?

I used to be smug about not wanting children – I thought (please don’t judge me, or do because I deserve it) that people with children were provincial. How predictable and boring to have a world filled with diapers, snacks, kid activities. And the baby voice! I hated that shit. 

Well I’m a convert. The other day in breast feeding support group the facilitator told us to befriend each other (which we already have) because from now on, we will want to share our time with other parents. A few years ago I would have gratefully opted out of a comment like that – a club I didn’t want admission to. But yesterday, that bit of honest insight struck my heart. There I was, in a room full of women who had just been through an experience similar to the mind-blowing, ass-kicking one I had. The woman to my left had her son at 28 weeks and spent months in the NICU and quarantined in her home with her tiny newborn. The woman to my right experiences blood-curdling screams every day while her son is in the car seat, leading to dread and guilt and struggle. I had just shared during my check-in that it was my last group and that if arrived there my first time in tears because I didn’t know how to get Gia from the car into the facility. Now I was completely at home in that modern red tent, sharing not just breast feeding tips with these same women every week, but my raw heart. Not only can I get Gia out of the car, I can eat or shop with her tucked in her wrap, breastfeed in the Ergo while shopping, and do tummy time with her while folding cloth diapers. 

But becoming a mother has been scary. I recently heard somewhere that having a child is like ripping your heart out and watching it walk around, vulnerable, outside of your body. 

When I was in high school I was severely depressed. I was the girl walking from class to class (at a fancy prep school in Connecticut, mind you, surrounded by peppy, rich, lacrosse-playing, J.Crew-wearing classmates) with my stringy hair in my face, crying. I was the emo girl, rough around the edges, but getting quickly attached to friends and lovers, then dumped for being too intense. The first time I cried for hours because I’d fallen into the black hole that is depression, my boyfriend at the time bailed, not knowing how to console me and calling my mother to duty on his way out the door. She rubbed my back for hours. I don’t know how she even went to work the next day, she must have been so fatigued. Moreover, it must have killed her to watch me sob for hours for no reason. 

These days I still rely on my mom in my darkest hours, discuss my most important decisions with her, and want to share my little joys with her. I call her before anyone else in my life, except for J. Despite not feeling an affinity for motherhood, I’ve realized since having Gia that I feel an affinity for mother-daughter relationships and always have. I hope Gia will come to me the way I do with my mom. I hope she’ll feel comfortable. Sometimes I get so excited to have this relationship, I can’t wait. I picture the days Gia might confide in me on the way home from school, or over coffee in our kitchen on a Saturday morning. I can’t believe that someday soon she’ll wobble into my arms on her own, pick out her own clothes, tell me about her day. 

I’m beyond honored to finally have my own daughter. If I can be for her what my own mother is for me, I will have a life full of rich conversations, laughs and closeness.