Today, on my second Mother’s Day I am reflecting on my path to motherhood and my almost two years as a mother. I have enjoyed being a mother more than I ever imagined I would, and although there are days where I feel exhausted, worn down and completely beat by a less than two year old child, I still love being his mom.

Growing up I never played with the baby dolls who cried and needed their diapers changed. In high school I didn’t babysit for spending money. I didn’t have any close friends or relatives nearby with babies, so I didn’t grow up around them.

As an adult, when I would get introduced to a baby I would coo from the sidelines, but never get too close. If I was asked to hold a baby I kept it at arm’s length away from my body and the baby always cried. I couldn’t picture myself as a mom.

About five years after my wedding, my husband’s sister had the most adorable baby girl. Her huge brown eyes, soft brown hair and mischievous smile got under my skin and I finally decided I might actually like having one of my own. I went off the pill and figured by the next month I’d be pregnant. But it wasn’t that easy for us.

It took me over a year to get my cycle back. I saw my primary doctor, then a fertility specialist and finally even an acupuncturist all with no success. On my first cycle after more than a year I got pregnant, but it wasn’t meant to be and I miscarried after 7 weeks. That was an extremely traumatic experience for me because that possibility had never crossed my mind. As soon as I found out I was pregnant I pictured myself with a baby in my arms 9 months later. I had to take a week off work to cope with the physical and mental pains and emotions.

Three months later my normal cycle returned and I got pregnant again. But a short 8 weeks later I miscarried again. I wasn’t as caught off guard this time because I now knew it was a possibility but the pain was still just as great. I was scared to try again because I didn’t know if I could go through another miscarriage. I waited longer this time and waited until I had several normal cycles after the miscarriage.

Finally after almost two years of trying I got pregnant with my son. The first 12 weeks of the pregnancy were extremely nerve wrecking for me, but we made it through safe and sound. Each sonogram was so special seeing the baby growing inside me and hearing his strong heart beat.

We chose not to find out the sex until the day he was born. He really made us wait, my labor was induced two weeks after his due date. But the long wait was worth it. The moment he was born and my husband yelled, “It’s a boy!” my life changed forever.

My son was brought to me and we looked into each other’s eyes and in that moment my heart expanded more than I knew was possible. My immediate love was so great it took me by surprise. I spend the first few weeks emotionally unstable, constantly crying because my love was so great it scared me. I hoped I would be able to give this precious baby all the love and support he needed to have a long, happy and fulfilling life.

I breastfed my son for fourteen months. It was a wonderful bond we shared and precious time alone with him that I cherished. At 6 weeks old, he developed a dairy allergy and I had to give up all dairy (including milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, etc) in order to continue breastfeeding him. It was so challenging because dairy was a huge part of my daily diet and is found in so many foods you don’t even think about, like many breads and even chips. I really wanted to continue our breastfeeding relationship, so I committed to giving up dairy and carefully reading food labels and asking for ingredients at restaurants.

Eating out was the hardest part, because it was always so difficult to be sure my food was completely dairy free. But we made it through and by his first birthday my son was over his dairy allergy. We now both enjoy eating dairy, but he still prefers to drink almond milk to cow’s milk.

When I returned to work, I would pump twice a day in a new mother’s room at work. I was one of the first women in the office to use it, so at first it still needed some improvements because the window wasn’t covered and there was no lock on the door. But after a few days they got it all sorted out and I had a nice private and relaxing place at work to pump. They even provided a fridge in that room to keep the milk cold.

My son is a morning person, just like me. My favorite time with him is when he wakes in the morning. He calls for me when he wakes up and when I go into his room he is smiling and me and he now even says, “Good morning!” He is sweet and gives me lots of cuddles in the morning and I cherish our time together before I go to work. At night he is a complete Dada’s boy and only wants his Dad to put him to bed. I love how we each get our special time with him everyday.

Today for Mother’s Day my husband and son spoiled me. My son slept in until 8am, which means I got to sleep in too! They got me some beautiful metallic printed photos of my son that I can display at work – I couldn’t think of a more wonderful present. Then they took me out to a delicious breakfast, we played at home, went out to a great lunch, ran some errands together, had a nice family dinner at home, then played and read with my son before putting him to bed. My son was not an angel all day long, but I doubt any almost two year old would be. He challenges us daily, but it is helping me to learn patience and learn how to be a better mom.

I couldn’t have planned a more perfect day than today. I knew how much my husband and son loved me, and that means everything. They are my whole world and I know that this love I have for them will continue to grow bigger and stronger everyday.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful, intelligent, and strong Mamas out there! I hope you had the wonderful day you deserve and thanks so much for being a part of my journey here on Engineering Emily.

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