Mother’s Day weekend is a great time to be the ob-gyn on call for deliveries at the hospital. Of course, we physicians would love to be snuggled up next to our little ones on this special day. However, the next best place to be is bedside with a woman about to become a first time mom.
The new mom is unaware how her life will change. Sure she has had countless advice from well-meaning friends and family. What diapers, breast pumps, sleep sacs, and toys are essential and how to handle the sleepless nights and messy house are all topics of endless conversations these days.
Labor stories abound and she has heard 50 different versions of what could happen during the process and how it didn’t always go the way it was expected. Everyone has their own struggles and triumphs to share but most of the stories end with a healthy baby and a physically exhausted mom who may be hurting from delivery or surgical wounds but exhilarated in the way only a new mom can understand.
Little does she know, she will never be the same person. Her body will never be the same. Her heart learns to expand to be able to love exponentially more with each child she has. Her needs now become secondary to those of another, and she will gladly have it this way. She experiences life with a different view and understanding of others and thinks of random strangers as “someone’s son or daughter”. She finally has a better appreciation for her own mother and understands her love in a much deeper way. To help deliver her baby and be a very small part of this transformation is a unique gift. Watching it unfold as her newborn is placed in her arms for the first time is one of the most gratifying experiences as an ob-gyn, and for a moment everything is blissful.
But there is also a different group of women that are sometimes forgotten on mother’s day.
On Mother’s Day, many other patients are also on my mind. The patients who have struggled with infertility for years. The patients who have suffered miscarriage, possibly multiple times. The patients who have lost an infant shortly after birth, or many years down the road. This day weighs especially heavy on them. It forces them to deal with their hurt. It resurfaces pain and brings memories to the front of their mind that are always lurking in the background. I have been on this journey with many of them.
While celebrating the wonderful women in my own life and the people who are getting to experience the world of motherhood for the first time, I stop to remember and include the women who are forever changed by the short life of a child, pregnancy that ended too soon, or the indescribable desire to become a mother.