How I became a Mother by Jackie Paulson (2012)

 

How I became a Mother by Jackie Paulson

 http://www.blogher.com/how-i-became-mother-jackie-paulson-2012

When I first heard about writing my story of how I became a mother from http://www.blogher.com/video-journey-motherhood-ricki-lake

I contemplated if I was a qualified contestant to join in the contest.  Then I realized that being a writer is something I am good at and decided to give it a try.  So, here is my story.

I know that it is important to tell my story about how I became a mother but my readers really need to whole story so let me start by saying that my real mother died when I was five and she was thirty three years old.  This tragedy left my father with three baby girls and a family owned restaurant to run as a single father.  With that said I was born on December 12, 1966, the seventh decade of the 20th century.  John F. Kennedy was the President at the time I was born and I have the day he was murdered etched inside my head by the media news and all of the adults around me.  Growing up in the 1960’s was a wonderful time to be a baby and grow up feeling safe unlike the babies growing up today with the treat on terrorism. 

By now you are wondering how my real mother Joan Marie Paulson/Podobnik died. Back in the 1960’s it was not common to show emotions or for a father to talk about what happened to his wife thus I did not find out the truth until I was in High School.  On my own I decided to go to the Lake County Illinois courthouse to purchase a death certificate to find out what exactly was the cause of death on 06/20/1984.  So first imagine that I was five when my mother died with all the questions I had and not knowing anything and then taking it upon myself to find out why and having to do this alone with my family not knowing what I was doing!  This is what it says, “Bilateral Acute Massive Bronchopneumonia (Pneumonia is a breathing (respiratory) condition in which there is an infection of the lung). Terminal in six days also listed as well as Chronic Pancreatitis; Septic Splenitis: Fatty Metamorphosis of the Liver, severe.”  If you must know in plain terms she had pneumonia which was so severe that she drove herself to the hospital to seek treatment as her husband was working many hours at the restaurant.  My father has felt guilty to this day about his wife’s death because he was not there for her.  The worst part is that since he owned a fancy restaurant he provided the alcohol for her which the death certificate basically confirms that she died of pneumonia because she was an alcoholic and by the time she had gotten to the hospital it was too late to be treated and she died within six days.  The reason I know this is that one day well into my adulthood, my father and I had a drunken night together when I finally had the guts to ask him about all of this to confirm my own heart and thoughts about the death of my real mother.  I just had to know the truth.

So my story to becoming a mother is one that everyone will enjoy reading.  I got married in 1990 and by 1993 my husband and I decided to have a child.  I remember buying the home pregnancy test and it saying that we were positive for having a baby.  We then made the appointment to confirm from our own doctor and I was so happy when the yes came into the room. Since I did not have a mother growing up I wanted to become the best mother in the world.  The entire pregnancy my husband was working and very helpful and supportive as this was our first child to be born and a new experience for both of us.  I was a hair stylist at the time I carried the baby and loved every single minute of being pregnant.  Then the day arrived when our child was to be born and this is how she came into the world.

Remember how this is my first birth?  Well, I did not do Lamaze classes because I had to work when the classes were available.  When the day arrived I went to the doctor for a checkup and the doctor said I was dilated to 5 cm’ which means that I was taken to the hospital and induced into labor.  I had great difficulty because the doctor did not believe in epidurals and the pain was really horrible.  At one point the baby got stuck and couldn’t breathe and they had to do an emergency c-section.  I can honestly say that I had no clue what that all involved.  I just thought I would have a “normal” delivery. I remember them strapping me down to a gurney and putting oxygen on me and then telling me to count backwards from ten.  I asked the anesthesiologist “am I going to die?”  He replied, “of course not, you are going to have a baby.” 

The next thing I remember is waking up in a hospital room and my husband telling me I had a baby, girl.  I knew at that moment that having a girl was a blessing to me sent from my real mother.  I named my baby after her Jorden (Joan).  Joan is my real mothers name and I am proud to have a girl who also resembles my real mother.  Despite all of the difficult moments bringing my child into this world it is the most wonderful feeling in the world.  I seriously forgot what my life was like before I had a baby.  I wonder what I did with my time.  It is a feeling only a mom could know and today she is 18 on Valentine’s Day!  Happy Birthday Jorden Joan Smith/Paulson. 

 

Jackie Paulson (editor/book reviewer)

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