By Ana Berbel, Contributing Writer
Being her first child, my mom has told the story of my birth many times. It always starts with her telling the anecdote about how my grandparents got to the hospital before she did; of course, the whole family was very excited, but apparently they just couldn’t wait to meet me.
“I had already surpassed the 40 weeks of pregnancy, and I had yet to show any birth symptoms at all, therefore my doctor decided to program an induced delivery for the next day. I had to be in the hospital at eight in the morning. My husband and I woke up early, and around 7:50 a.m. we were parking outside the door,” my mom explained. “When we got out of the car, my parents, very nervous, were already waiting at the door. I remember I asked my dad what they were doing there already and joked that it was me that was giving birth not him. ‘We are going to be late,’ was all he said, obviously very excited about his youngest daughter having a baby.”
When they finally took her up to the room, she got in bed and waited for the doctor. She was in a private room with two beds. The white pale wall color was still present.
“The room smelled a lot like medicine and cleaning products. I was surrounded by monitors and cables tracking my blood pressure and heartbeat. I could hear doctors walking quickly past my room and the squeaking noise of beds being rushed through the hall,” she described. “I waited the whole day until, eventually at 6 p.m., the doctor decided to go with a C-Section. I was nervous and very excited at the same time. I am never going to forget the first time they brought her into the room, and the feeling of finally becoming a mom.”
Many people underestimate how much work comes with being a mom. Taking care of a child is not easy, especially if they are as crazy and energetic as I was as a kid. All that energy once led me to fall down the stairs and consequently ruin the family’s skiing trip. Luckily, my mom was there to pick me up and make me feel better.
Moms not only take care of their kids, they also make sure that the whole family is safe and happy. They always have their kids’ best interest at heart, even if it doesn’t seem that way when you are a grounded teenager.
When a woman becomes a mom, they become selfless. They instantly put their child’s needs before their own. In my opinion, that is something worthy of admiration. As Barbara Kingsolver, an American novelist and poet, said, “Sometimes the strength of motherhood is stronger than natural laws.”
Biologically, being a mother means that you gave birth to your child, but you can become a mom in many ways. Adopting a child, being a foster mom, or even being a host mom is just as admirable and takes the same effort as taking care of your own.
Becoming a foster mom or a host mom are two ways in which a woman can enjoy the feeling of taking care of a child. Foster care is a system managed by the government in which they place a minor that needs help into a home. On the other hand, being a host mom usually occurs through schools and exchange programs. Although they are both different, they both provide children with mom figures for a certain amount of time.
“I have been a host mom for the past five years. My biological family consists of only my daughter and I, so by hosting and fostering, we enlarge our family. My host kids live with us for ten months during the school year and they are like family. Our foster kids have stayed with us a maximum of six months so far. When it is time to say goodbye, my heart is always broken,” said Heather Kalb, West Liberty University’s International Student Activity Coordinator.
“Hosting and fostering kids makes my home feel complete and full,” Kalb said. “I love the sound of voices, particularly when they are happy and laughing. I am constantly getting new ideas on how to do things from my older host kids. It gives my daughter Jean a chance to experience the world and to learn empathy for those currently less fortunate. I hope what I do is making a difference for people and maybe one day for the world.”
Another way which is becoming more popular and accepted as countries develop is adopting a child. In 2015, around 135,000 children were adopted in America.
To me, adopting a child is something that should be encouraged more in our society. Parents that decide to adopt are giving children the opportunity to have a good life that perhaps they wouldn’t have had otherwise.
“I have always really known that I was adopted. Being adopted doesn’t change how I feel about my mom because even if she is not my biological mom, she has raised me and has always been there for me,” said Will Stevens, who was adopted when he was only six days old.
“My parents gave me many opportunities by adopting me,” Stevens said. “Thanks to them, I got to be in a family that was able to raise me in a good environment where I have all the resources that I need. My mom gave up her job and decided to stay at home to raise me and my brother. To a certain degree, she gave up her life for us, and I will always be very grateful for that.”
Whether we have a biological mom, a host mom, a foster mom, an adoptive mom or even someone that is just like a mom to us, we need to always appreciate and be grateful for the many opportunities they give us in life and for all those times they have been there to pick us up when we fall. We never know what is going to happen in the future, and for this reason we need to remind our moms of how special they are every day.
“The day that my mom died was tremendously sad. She had been sick for a long time and in the hospital. Although it may seem like this prepares you for the situation because you know what is going to happen, it doesn’t. The sensation I had was of not wanting to sleep just in case I woke up and it had occurred,” my mom said sadly. “And in that moment, when it finally happened, I felt like I hadn’t thanked her enough for everything that she had done for me. I was consumed in doubt and fear of her leaving me without knowing how much I loved her. Now I realize that we never tell our parents enough how much we love them. I went home that day with the feeling that I would be able to see her the next day. It is hard to make peace with the fact that I won’t, but I will always carry her in my heart, and she will always be present in every day of my life.”
Photos provided by Ana Berbel