I became a mother at 4 a.m., shaking in the bathroom, bare feet cold on the tile, as I read one word instead of two.
I became a mother at Walmart, picking out two tiny onesies, pink and blue, for who knew which we would need?
I became a mother, full of fear and anguish, when an ultrasound told the secret my heart and body did not know.
I became a mother while the man I love, becoming a father, rubbed my back and said few words.
I became a mother: womb empty, heart broken, daring to hope.
I became a mother when the deepest pain and most ecstatic joy could be felt at once.
I became a mother tentatively, quietly, slowly, guarded.
I became a mother in the waiting, in the hoping, in the dreaming, in the planning.
I became a mother in thirty hours, from laboring and pacing to moaning and desperate.
I became a mother in a hospital, needle in my back, drugs in my veins, forceps cradling the head where hands should be.
I became a mother in the warmth of a tub, heat and pain and power working on the same team.
I became a mother naturally, pacing like a tiger, introspective and determined, bursting with pride for my body’s abilities.
I became a mother, baby on my chest, kissing this head I had always known and breathing deeply in the air of this one moment that would never again be.
I became a mother watching a pair of eyes take in their first sight: me. Mother.
I became a mother with the smell of my baby’s head, the touch of round cheeks, the sound of tiny grunts.
I became a mother in the long hours between the end of one day and the beginning of the next, fumbling and clumsy, exhausted to the core.
I became a mother as my baby slurped and burped, milk dripping from a faint drowsy smile, thighs chubbier and clothes smaller every day.
I became a mother in the drudgery of washing dishes, changing sheets, folding clothes, sweeping crumbs.
I became a mother in the shut-in days of newborn haze, following the clock of feed, change, sleep, repeat.
I became a mother seeking advice from books, websites, coworkers, my own mother, begging for the answers.
I became a mother seeking advice from my own heart, coaxing the rhyme and reason from a mind muddled by desperation.
I became a mother in the blinding, breathtaking act of sacrifice, offering up any last bits of self for the sake of my child.
I became a mother in the vigilant care of another, yearning for their peace, praying for their safety.
I became a mother with confidence one moment, fear the next, incomparable love triumphing as my only saving grace.
I became a mother. I’m still becoming a mother. Oh God, may I always be.
There are so many ways to become a mother. Read other stories in our series, “How I Became a Mother.”