When I found out I was pregnant, I was shaking with excitement -- but at the same time shocked and in disbelief. After a couple of months, several extra pregnancy tests, and the first doctor's appointment where I saw him on an ultrasound and heard his heartbeat, it finally sank in. I was real -- I was actually pregnant! And just when I thought the emotions were done piling up, it hit me -- I was going to be a mom. So I topped my big heap of emotions off with nervousness and anxiety!
To this day it is the single greatest moment in my life was when Harlan was born. Nothing can prepare you for the amount of love you feel for someone who you only just met. I remember being completely amazed and in aw elooking at him. My body created him from nothing, his nose, lips, fingers and toes; all absolutely perfect. I finally had my purpose in life; to be this little boy's everything. Thank God for his wonderful miracles.
To most I may appear the same, but there isn't a lot that is still the same on the inside. I have learned so much about myself. I am far stronger than I ever imagined. Harlan always comes first. Being selfless is a pretty wonderful thing when it is for your child. I am more confident and happy in my own skin. I have learned after many years that I am enough and that I am perfect just the way I am. Why? Because my son thinks so. He adores me and sees no flaws, and if that is how he sees me then I should do the same.
The best thing about being Harlan's mom is receiving so much unconditional love. I also love that I get to be there for every step he takes in life, every milestone he hits. I get to help him grow into a wonderful man. Be a constant that will teach him about respect, love, hard work, and honesty. Help him chase his dreams and encourage him to be adventurous and try new things. Let him know it is ok to step outside of his comfort zone because it will make him stronger. I get to be his best friend.
I think the most challenging this is to not take things fore granted. Being a single mom who works full time, it is so easy to get caught up in the day to day stresses of life and forget what is truly important. There is never enough time, being too tired, trying to juggle way more than any one person should have to. It is a constant battle for me. I try on a daily basis to think of the blessings in my life. I have so many things to be thankful for, most of all my son. It keeps me focused on being grateful and never allowing "life" to get in the way of what is most important.
I wish someone would have given me advice on how to give Harlan all the freedom to explore and follow his dreams without letting the bad in the world become an almost crippling concern. As a parent the need to protect our children is so strong. The ability to find a good balance between wanting to keep your child safe and allowing them to fully experience life is crucial. I don't ever want to feel like I am holding him back by being overprotective. The willingness to sacrifice everything for him, even my life without any hesitation, is extremely surprising to me. People used to tell me I would feel that way but I never thought I would put anyone before myself. I now know exactly what they meant.
If only I could keep him little forever! I want everything to stay the same -- his smell, the softness of his skin, how he snores just a little when he sleeps. The way he tries to bite my face off as his way of kissing me. Seeing him grin ear to ear when he realizes I am there to pick him up from daycare. This list could possibly be never ending. But I think most of all I would want to keep his pure heart. He doesn't know about pain, loss, disappointment, failure, or hate. The most amazing thing about little kids is that they have yet to experience the negativity of the world. Their hearts are simply full of all the good things the world has to offer. Joy, love, happiness, first times, adventure, curiosity, trust. I wish I could hold on to that for him forever.
I hope as he grows up that he chooses to use his time helping others and enriching the world with love and acts of kindness. To be a good Christian man that understands life is about what you do, not what you have. It is about giving back and making a difference.
I would encourage every mom to always do what is best for their child no matter what the circumstance. It may seem too difficult, or a goal that is unreachable. But we can do anything and come out on the other side more empowered than ever. To our children we are super heroes and they deserve for us to walk that walk. Always be their biggest advocate, especially when they aren't capable of doing it themselves.
My life is no longer about me and I embrace it wholeheartedly. Because to me, there is nothing in this life more gratifying than being Harlan's mom.
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ASHLEE LAUREN PHOTOGRAPHY provides both studio and outdoor, natural light photography in Indianapolis, Indiana. The studio in located in downtown Indy near the canal and IUPUI. Family photography, as well as newborn sessions, maternity pictures are provided.