Birth control and myself have never gotten along. I was only nineteen when the Glediator and I got "engagged," as my mother would say. The pill made me so sick to my stomach. "You'll get used to it," Dr. Savage reassured. While the nausea faded somewhat, I began to discover a few months into my marriage that taking the pill would guarantee on onslaught of tears and thoughts of doom and gloom about twenty minutes after consumption. I was relieved to find that all the depression was from the pill and not from being married to Mr. Hot Stuff. I tossed them into the garbage nervously, but concluded that nothing could be as bad as taking the pill - not even pregnancy. Sometimes I am really smart. Sometimes I am really not.
Soon after (like 48 hours), a little Gledhill was conceived. More nausea. More tears. More doom and gloom. What was I thinking? I wasn't. I was only a teenager!
When Jackson was born, everything I did from then on out was guess work. My mom lived in a foreign country and I was the eighth of nine kids, so I didn't have any knowledge of what to do with a baby. I was frightened and awkward at first with a case of the Postpartum Blues I wouldn't wish on anyone. We didn't own a rocking chair, so I just sat on the edge of the bed and nursed. Ouch. My back was never so sore in my life. We didn't have a crib or a bassinet. Jackson slept in his car seat next to our bed. Of course my love for the little guy welled up in my heart like a flood - never wanting anyone to touch him, checking on him every five minutes as he slept to make sure he was breathing. He needed me and I needed him to teach me how to be a mother.
Jackson is witty and very intelligent. When he was three, I remember this one day from toddler hell when he was pulling things off of shelves, breaking the family heirlooms and destroying anything that dared cross his path. He even chucked a billiard ball at my face after I dozed off on the living room floor. After nearly a full day of such behavior he dumped a bag of sugar and a bag of flour on the kitchen counter and floor, topping it off with a few cups of water. Where was I? Probably passed out on the living room floor. When I came downstairs to see what was going on I had HAD IT! "Jackson!" I cried. "Why do you keep doing these things?!" I got down to his eye level and firmly gripped his shoulders. "WHY, WHY, WHY, WHY, WHY?!!!!!!" I started into a fit of rage when Jackson peered up at me under his shaggy bangs and pled:
"Mom! I choose LIFE!"
Then I began to laugh. Hard.
Then he began to laugh. Harder.
I picked up my little man, drew him close in my arms and told him I was sorry I got so mad.
When I think about how growing into motherhood was a difficult process for me, I now see from a different perspective that maybe the nurturing and matriarchal aspects of it that I have lacked have allowed me to be more of a close friend to Jackson. I try to see him as a fellow passenger on this journey through life. I'm definitely not the perfect candidate, but I'm here to help him through it the best I can. I want him to know that I choose life too. Life with him, messes and all.