A few months ago, I listened to a friend tell another friend who is pregnant that there’s nothing like becoming a mother. “You’re making a tiny copy of yourself,” she said. “He’s going to have your DNA and be your own little mini-me. It’s amazing.”
I just smiled and nodded and took a sip of wine. “That is cool, but it’s equally as amazing if they don’t look like you,” I said. “Becoming a parent fills your heart with a love so true and pure that it absolutely rocks your world.”
To me, that love is what parenthood is all about–that selfless, do-anything-for-you type of love that one only feels for their children. I felt it the very first time I saw my son–this newborn baby who looked nothing like me, who I didn’t carry in my belly, who doesn’t share my genes. My love for him was not conditional upon biology. It simply didn’t matter.
I get it–I understand the primal urge to pass on your genes and to procreate with your partner. I felt it and grieved it. But that is a distant memory now. That wound, that pain, has long since healed. And I can tell you that there is no possible way that I could love my son any more–even if I had given birth to him. The moment I laid eyes on my child, I became his mother, unconditionally and with my whole heart.
Once and awhile someone will ask me if I still want to have a “child of my own.” I tell them that I already do have a child of my own and that no, I do not feel any need or desire to have a biological child. And I mean it, 100%. But some people have a hard time imagining that I could not possibly want a baby that is “biologically part me and part my husband.”
The thing that people don’t realize is that my son is absolutely part me and part my husband. We are the ones who nurture him daily, we are the ones teaching him how to be in the world, how to act, how to love, how to treat other people. He doesn’t look like us or share our skin color, but everything he knows about the world he gets from us. We are his parents, his role-models, his family. Simple as that.
I even felt this way before Miles was born, after we started the adoption process. I worried that if I became pregnant that we wouldn’t be able to adopt. Once we made the decision that adoption was the way that we would create our family, I never looked back. It felt right and it felt good–in a way that trying to get pregnant never had. I put down the pain and disappointment of endless negative pregnancy tests and picked up the joy and hope of adoption and it was the best thing that ever happened to me.
To me, motherhood has nothing to do with sharing the same eyes as your child. Becoming a mother (or a father) is about so much more than that. It’s about truly unconditional love, always putting your child before yourself, and just plain being there to raise, hug, comfort, encourage, nurture, and adore him or her no matter what.
And that is more than enough for me.