CHICKEN SOUP DAILY SERVING:
The Birth of Daughters
By Karen C. Driscoll
I am finally, and victoriously pregnant after seven
years of marriage. I am also absurdly worried about what
my mother will think. I've recently gone back to school
for a master's degree. My husband is not quite finished
with a Ph.D. program. I feel like we're being a little
reckless, like we have no business even thinking about a
child, let alone strategically planning the optimal
conditions to make one.
So, I nervously rehearse the "big news." My worst
fear is a raised eyebrow asking, "and just how do you think
you're going to raise this child on a student's income?"
Asking, in fact, the very question that I'm nervously
asking myself, "What are you? Crazy?!"
I end up telling my parents by inviting them to
Thanksgiving dinner even though it's only Easter. "Well,
it's a little far ahead to make plans," my dad says. I
tell him I already know what I'll be doing, - getting ready
to deliver his first grandkid. He looks surprised, but
definitely not elated.
My stomach starts to sink.
I think I wince as I look to my mother for her
response. It's my turn to be surprised. She rockets off
the couch, doing a little victory dance, exclaiming, "I
knew it! I knew you were pregnant! I'll be right back!"
And she runs off upstairs. She returns with a little
gift bag. "Here!" she says, thrusting it at me, "Presents
for the baby! I just knew you were pregnant! I was
wondering when you'd tell us. I've had this stuff for over
I've only known for a month myself.
I admit to my mom that I was expecting a lecture from
her regarding our financial situation. I can tell that the
thought has never even crossed her mind. I hear the words,
"Oh, don't worry the money. Everything will work out just
Later, I find out we are not expecting a baby. We're
expecting two. It takes a while to sink in. This time, my
mother, a twin herself, is the first person I call. From
that moment on, she's my constant pregnancy companion.
Looking back, I'm embarrassed by my ignorance, but I
guess I thought maybe she'd pat me on the head, tell me to
eat Saltines when I felt like barfing, and send me some
flowers in the hospital.
Instead she acts like she's just won the lottery. She
tells everyone who will listen that she's going to be a
grandmother of twins. She buys me maternity clothes. She
"picks up" things for the babies. ("Hi honey, I just
bought a couple of wardrobes for your embryos"). She sends
She calls me regularly.
I go into labor early and unexpectedly. Mom sounds
nervous, but thrilled.
I wish she could be with us, but we're hundreds of
About six hours later the nurse tells me I have a
visitor in the waiting room. In walks mom. I actually
think that fatigue and pain are making me see things.
"How did you get here?" I ask incredulously. I know
she can't possibly have driven, there hasn't been enough
time. "I flew, and then I took a taxi."
She tells me matter-of-factly, as if this is the kind
of thing she does on a daily basis. She, like me, hates to
fly, probably even more than she hates to drive. "Did you
think I'd miss this for the world?" she asks me.
"All I know is I really wanted you to be here."
"I know that, honey, that's why I came."
When she sees her tiny, squalling granddaughters for
the first time, she makes it as far as my husband. She
hugs him and starts to cry. It's as if she'll never stop.
And I know her tears are tears of deep relief. I know they
are tears of intense joy and intense love. I know they are
the tears that a mother cries for a child. I know it
because I can taste it in the salt of my own tears.
I offer her up two tiny bodies and feel the ties that
connect us bind tightly as she takes her granddaughters
into her arms for the first time.
"There are some things you'll never understand until
you have kids. You'll see," she has always told me. And
sitting there in that hospital bed, totally exhausted and
emotionally raw, seeing my mother holding my two impossibly
light brand-new daughters, I think I do see. I see that
becoming a mother has not only given me the gift of loving
a child with an intensity that I never knew existed, but
also the gift of my own mother - and the sudden realization
that I am, and have been all my life, loved the same way.
May the circle be unbroken. Current Mood: touched