By: Saira Masood Saim
Fear. Fear is what I felt when I had my daughter. Fear of losing her. Fear of doing something wrong.
A fierce over protectiveness came over me. I needed to have her with me at all times. I had lost a baby before, and throughout the pregnancy I was afraid. I prayed for her to be healthy and normal and I prayed for the day I would hold her in my arms. When she was born, every little thing scared me. Is she breathing? Why is she crying? Why isn’t she making any noise? Why don’t I feel the fierce love I’m supposed to feel? Does this make me a bad mom? The love came. It was there the moment the pregnancy test turned out positive. It was hiding in my fear all along.
The night she was born, I told my mom to go home. I didn’t need anyone to stay with me. I wouldn’t let my daughter out of my sight either, so there we were, the two of us spending our first night as mother and daughter. I was extremely disillusioned. I was exhausted and wanted to sleep. She had other plans. She was hungry, and because of a complication I couldn’t walk to get her from her crib. I constantly called for the nurse, who didn’t come for 45 minutes, while I listened to my daughter’s healthy lungs and loud cries. That was a horrible night.
That first nights with her taught me something I’ve carried with me since then. I realized that there is a difference between giving birth and mothering a child. There is love at both ends but the value is a bit different.
This is why I love the new terminology in the adoptive world; first mother and second mother. The first mother is the one who gives birth and the second mother is the adoptive mother. I believe this shift in wording truly encompasses the value of both mothers. The word birth mother takes away from the love she feels for the child, it devalues her pain and suffering for the baby. To me, the word first mother says that she was the first to love the child, and I choose to believe that she was the first to fear for the child as well. I am not a second mom to anyone yet. I know that child is out there, whether she finds me through fostering or adoption, I know that we will find each other someday. I know she is loved before she comes to me and for that I’m grateful. That is something I will teach her, to love back the woman who loved her first. After all, on the day of judgment, she will be raised by the name of her first mother, but it will be my hand she will hold to lead me to jannah.