The best day of my life. I don't know if I've had it yet. Sure, the day I got married was awesome. We're about to celebrate 13 years together. And the day my daughter was born, well ... it was memorable.
But the best day? Not by a long shot.
I know it's what you're supposed to say. But the problem with using cliches to describe motherhood is that it ends up making us all feel like we're failures when we can't live up to the platitudes.
So here it is. The unvarnished truth: the day my daughter was born kind of sucked.
Now, now, hear me out. I'm not saying that I'm unhappy that my daughter came into this world. This is not some screed about how I really didn't want my kid that will destroy her psyche and send her running for a therapist the moment she leaves my house.
I love my daughter with every inch of my being. I love her so much that every harrowing moment of the day she was born was completely worth it.
But that still doesn't make it the best.
Let's start from the beginning. My daughter is a stubborn German, just like her mama, and more than a week after her due date, she was content to stay in the womb. But with her heart rate dropping, my OB/GYN wasn't quite so content.
He wanted to induce labor.
The news was both welcome and terrifying. Induction meant this interminably awful pregnancy would finally be over and I could meet my child!
Induction also came with it myriad warnings about the increased risk of C-section and the problems with pitocin and on and on and on.
I went into that hospital scared out of my gourd. Sound like your mind on the best day of your life?
But I'm not done. After getting out of bed at the hiney crack of dawn (I'm still a teenager at heart and would much prefer sleeping 'til noon), I walked into a hospital, got dressed in a rather unflattering gown, and gritted my teeth as a nurse attempted to find a vein, first in one arm and then the other, before finally settling on my hand.
You're getting the picture now, aren't you? And I haven't even talked about the pain of pitocin-fueled contractions or the moment when I finally gave up on my insistence that "I'm going to do this without drugs." I haven't talked about the epidural that didn't take or the jerk anesthesiologist who never bothered to check my chart for allergies (thank goodness it was just to adhesives) or the pushing ... the God awful pushing that, yes, I could feel, because that epidural had completely worn off by then.
The day my daughter was born was the day I met the person for whom I fell completely head over heels, the person who can make my heart swell simply by slipping her hand in mine, the person for whom I'd throw myself in front of a bus, a bullet, a giant grizzly bear.
Just when I don't think I can love my daughter any more than I do, I look at her, sitting on the couch, her favorite teddy bear in her arms, and the blood rushes to my head, and my stomach drops out, and I fall deeper.
These days with her are wonderful and frustrating all at the same time, as I watch her grow into a smart, funny, opinionated little girl who will one day leave my husband and me for college, for adventure.
The day she was born? Not so much. That day was stressful. It was scary. It was painful.
If that's the best day of my life, what does that say about my life? That a painful, stressful, anxious day was the BEST I can do?
How ... sad. How limiting!
Frankly, I prefer the day she first smiled (and not from gas), the day she first called me Mommy, the day she gave me my first chubby hands 'round the neck hug ... and we have so many more days like that to come.
Be honest: do you think of the day your child was born as the best of your life?
Image by Jeanne Sager