How I Became a Mom: An ode to all parents

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mom and daughter laughing together. being a mom. Des Moines MomThis is a story of how I became a Mom. Well, when two people love each other…

Haha, just kidding. I hope you didn’t come here for that story. But, I hope you will stay for a beautiful ode to mothers.

I officially became a biological mom after 30 LONG HOURS of labor on a hot summer day in 2014. But I felt like a mom long before that.

Me as a proud mom, holding my firstborn

It took us a while for me to become pregnant, and it was a heartbreaking time. I had a real natural urge to become a mother, and when I couldn’t I felt genuine heartache. This is why I want to talk about how giving birth isn’t the only thing that makes you a mother.

Giving birth isn’t what makes you a mother

The first time I felt like a mom was when I was 14 and my little sister was born. I changed diapers, made formula bottles, fed her applesauce, watched HOURS of Blues Clues, picked her up from daycare, shushed my friends while she slept, and worried about her when I wasn’t around.

That felt like motherhood.

My little sister doesn’t remember much of those years, but they were formative for me. It helped me get over a bit of the apprehension you get when you change your first diaper. I had more confidence going into motherhood because I had gone through the motions. 

When I finally became a mom, I could focus on the love.

The truth is, that experience taught me so much about what makes a person a Mother: selflessness, empathy, sacrifices, and wanting that person to become better than you. These are traits that can make up any person – mom, dad, sibling, aunt, neighbor, teacher, coworker, etc.

When our children are grown they won’t reference how many bottles we washed, whether we read them one book or three at night, and they certainly won’t remember if they were breastfed or formula-fed. They will remember the fun, the caring – the LOVE. So trash that Mom guilt and just dish out an extra helping of love. 

This post is dedicated to all of the moms out there – whether you have a child or not. To the village of people working to make a better place for the next generation: Teachers, neighbors, mentors, coaches, grandparents, extended family – the list could go on and on. My time as a big sister also taught me that family extends beyond blood. It is a community of people who support you.

So, if you aren’t yet a mother, let this post comfort you. Because deep down, whether you have a child or not, you are a Mom.

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Niki is an Iowa native who now lives with her husband Ryan, daughter Riley, and son Merritt in Johnston. She is passionate about paid leave for working parents, thrifting, and Beyonce. Niki is the Marketing Campaign Manager at Homesteaders Life Company in West Des Moines. She is also owner of Bee Thrifty, which consigns designer clothing for clients on Poshmark. Niki is a two-time graduate of Drake University with a bachelor’s in journalism (2008) and a Master’s in Communication Leadership (2015).

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