The Ups and Downs of Becoming a Mother
I had just found out that I was pregnant. I was beyond excited!
The very next day, I stood in front of hundreds of people addressing the City Council of Starkville, Mississippi. Their decision to deny our small college town its first Pride Parade had by now become national news, and the LGBT community had asked me to represent them in requesting that they overturn their ruling. I had accepted the decision not knowing that I had a little being growing inside of me. But now that I knew, it made the significance of speaking up even more important.
I knew what kind of community I wanted my child to grow up in—one that is inclusive, welcoming, and accepting. With my wife and my parents by my side, I addressed the council for ten minutes, asking for a way we could work together, bridge our differences, and consider forgiveness in moving forward. The decision was overturned, and the parade was set to happen a few weeks later. What a high! I had grown up in Starkville, and my coming-out experience had been one of total rejection. This seemed like a million steps forward.
A week later, I was in the middle of telling one of my best friends that I was pregnant when my sweet 11-year-old dog, Roxy, had a major seizure. After a visit to the vet, we discovered that she had a tumor and her time was limited. This dog was more than just a dog—she was my soul pet. So here I was, growing this amazing soul inside of me and losing an amazing soul at the same time. Motherhood was happening before my eyes…and I was pushed to soak it in, be present, and feel whatever was coming up for me.
A few weeks later, my wife had to rush off to California to be with her dad as he suddenly took a turn for the worst. He died four days later. I had to stay home because I was so sick with the pregnancy, which was really hard for me. The grief in the following weeks, while nursing a sick and dying dog, was almost unbearable.
Three weeks after my father-in-law died, Roxy died—we had to put her down. That was incredibly devastating and tough to process. I loved that dog with my entire heart.That was also the week I began to feel better with the pregnancy; it felt like Roxy had waited for me to feel better before leaving this world.
In a matter of weeks, I was learning so much about being a parent: how to let go and let life be what it is. Feel it. Be there with it. Honor it. Accept it. And remain present.
It has only been two weeks since I said goodbye to Roxy, and I am 13 weeks pregnant now. I know I have a world to learn about being a parent, but I’m feeling good about it. Already, I feel protective of this little one inside me, which somehow has allowed me to let go of all the other things more easily. I feel so connected to the people around me and the love I have for them. I care less about the little things and more about the important ones. And I have seen that even in the most stressful times, I can let go and let life be what it is. Feel it. Be there with it. Honor it. Accept it. And remain present.
Becoming a mother, so far, has been challenging—but it is the one thing that has pushed me to dive into my soul, honor my emotions, and continue to heal as life happens. Hope is certainly alive and well in everything I do.