Papa and I went to an open house for an amazing family that was welcoming home their 5th child.
I didn't realize what we were walking in to.
Oh, this sweet absolutely gorgeous baby, 8 days old, with a head full of dark downy hair, sleeping so peacefully in his mama's arms. The sight was divine, and I won't lie that seeing him, I had to hold back my tears.
And then, as quickly as I was introduced to this new baby, I met his other mama. Sweet baby's first mother who had given birth to him just 8 days earlier. The way she moved about this home and interacted with the people there, it was obviously she was a part of this family now. It was amazing to witness. And for a moment I wondered if I would have the courage to grow my family in this way. I really didn't know. Breathe.
I'd give absolutely anything to meet my children's first mothers. Anything for my children to have a relationship their VietNam and China mothers. And here was a woman, standing right in front of me, who represented the 3 women to gave birth to, chose life for, and were my daughters' and son's mothers. I was nervous. So much I wanted to say. I wanted to hug her. I wanted to say thank you. I wanted to cry. I wanted to pray and mourn and celebrate all in the same breath. What to say? How to say it? To say anything at all during such an intimate moment? Or nothing at all. Breathe.
But I've kicked myself many times in hindsight for not saying anything at all in fear of saying the wrong thing. So I gathered my courage, rehearsed several introductions, and made my way over to talk with her.
Hi, I'm Nancy. It's so nice to meet you. You're sweet baby's birth mom? Sweet baby is so beautiful. It is a blessing.
"It is a blessing" is the only thing I could think of to say. The words seemed so little as they came across my lips. But it was all I had at the moment.
An amazing blessing.
Crap, don't cry now.
No wait. I said birth mom, didn't I? I can't remember why I'm not suppose to use that term. I just remember I'm not suppose to. And I just did. Crap.
Just go there.
I don't know if birth mom is the right term. How should I say that?
She didn't shy away from my question. She told me that she thought the term birth mom was derogatory, insinuating that she only gave birth and nothing more. As if this amazing woman were merely an incubator or baby oven. She suggested plain ol' mom. It was so simple. She is a mom after all. She always will be. She also suggested being called first mom. And I did.
First mom in the chair next me. Another mom holding sweet baby in the kitchen just yards away. Two moms in one room and one family grown in an unconventional way. And a blessing to witness it all.
We talked a little. About adoption. About what China is like. About the lack of diversity in our neighborhood. Small talk.
And then it was time to not overstay our welcome. As we were leaving, I told first mom that it really was an honor to meet her. I wanted to say it 10 times over and over and over so she'd know how big it was to me. And we said our goodbyes and hugged our hugs. And left. And I walked away from this family a little changed from when I walked in. And I was blessed to be changed.
I won't use the term birth mother again. I think I'll use the term "first mother" from here on out. Or maybe plain ol' mom as she first suggested. It seems appropriate. I get it now. This sweet woman put a face to the 3 women halfway across the world that changed our lives forever by transferring to us something so precious... a child.
First moms are amazing.
And a blessing.
(The below video was made by his new big sister!)