This Mother’s Heart
I used to check his breathing while he slept. Newborns have this knack for seeming like they’ve stopped breathing but they’re really just taking shallow breaths. It freaked me out every time. Sometimes I would prod him and hold my breath until he moved out of irritation.
I still check on him occasionally. I wake up in the middle of the night and make sure his belly is rising and falling with his breaths.
I developed a fear of driving. I foresaw a collision of twisted metal every time a another vehicle got near my car. All I knew is that I had my heart seated behind me in a rearfacing carseat. It didn’t matter how much my friend, the Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, reassured me that the carseat was crash-resistant.
One of my mandates of motherhood was “Protect.”
It’s why I paid attention to the way I ate while I was pregnant.
It’s why I educated myself on birth matters.
It’s why I chose not to circumcise.
It’s why I choose to breastfeed.
It’s why I choose to parent the way I do.
It’s probably why most of us choose to parent the way we do.
But then we realize that no matter what we do, we can’t always protect them.
It’s why they say that motherhood is like having your heart walk around outside of your chest.