Yes, I Am A Real Mother

by Rachel E. Bledsoe
Originally Published: 
Milan Marjanovic / iStock

Daggers come in all shapes. Little steel edges are sharpened to cut through veins, and each slashing causes a little blood and a lot of hurt. I’ve read the words. I’ve heard the snide remarks. I’ve been passed over and discounted.

You only have one. You’re not a real mother.

God, you’re so lucky to only have the one.

Well, imagine having more than one. You have no idea how hard it is.

Brass knuckles punch my heart. I always bite my tongue. No, I can’t imagine. Lucky? I would have liked to have had one more, but my body isn’t able to. I do know I changed the diapers. I sat up with the colic. The pain-filled screaming began every Tuesday night around 11 p.m. It lasted for two months. Those mind-numbing cries would play continuously till 7 a.m. At the 3 o’clock hour, I would lay my child in his bassinet and walk outside to sob. I cried to God. I pleaded with my creator to help my child. I still dread a Tuesday, even today. Those hellish nightmares lasted till Sunday. Monday would bring about a tired, weary eyed child. He is my child. And, I’m not a mother.

I’ve held a child with a 103 temperature. When it approached a higher number, I sat the child in a cool bath. I cried right along with him. My child was sick. I couldn’t fix him. All I could do was stay up and watch him inhale, exhale. Not sleeping night after repetitive night. Take him to the doctor and worry. Medicine couldn’t bring relief quick enough. All I had to offer is a mother’s love. And, I’m not a real mother.

People I thought were friends have said, “Wow, she’s a decent parent.” I made mistakes in my past. I see no need to hide them. They were mistakes I’m not proud of, and I accept the choices I made. I hold in my hand the accountability for each poor decision I snorted or swallowed. Today, once decade-old friends cast away a child. The little boy who is mine is not invited to cookouts or pool parties. His mom is that sinner. For three years, I was lost in addiction. I’ve been found for almost a decade. It will never matter how much time I’ve put in between my past and me because my child will forever pay the piper due to my mistakes. A small town never forgives transgressions. And, I’m not a mother.

One child doesn’t entitle you to the real “Mommy” label. It doesn’t matter that you don’t sleep. It doesn’t matter how hard you work to ensure your baby has clothes to wear to Sunday church services. As an only child mama, I’m always feeling the toes of his shoes, checking for the next size. Little boys’ feet grow so fast. Summers are a whirlwind and winter coats will be needed soon. It is an October worry that I have in July. And, I’m not a mother.

The little boy has almost outgrown a crib. A bigger room with play areas is planned. A mushroom tent will be a spot to hide and read. A bookshelf is ever-expanding. There is a small space planned for music and crayons. A room decorated with trees, clouds, and dandelions will be here shortly. A big boy room with a blue quilt placed across a big bed. And, I’m not a mother.

At night, a little boy is placed in his bed after he is read two to four books and sung his favorite nighttime songs. I look at the ever-changing child, my baby, and I say,“Goodnight, baby. I love you.”

He replies, “Night-Night, Mama. Wuv you.”

To the peering eyes with sharp daggers, I may not be your caliber of mother. I only have one child, and I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. But when a little boy says, “Come here, Mama.” I take his outstretched hand and let it guide me to see the world he wants to show me. I’ll never deny that hand. I’m the only woman he will ever know as his mother. I am a mother to someone.

I am his mother.

I will always be his Misfit Mama.

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