Happy Birthday, Justin
33 years ago today, at Chatham Family Birth Center in Siler City, NC, I gave birth to my son, Justin Anthony Carter. My finest production. Back then, ultrasounds were only done when there were high risk concerns and, thankfully, I didn’t have any. I didn’t know my baby’s gender but I was pretty sure it was a girl, and her name was going to be Deborah Grace. After a long labor with no analgesia, I delivered an 8 pound 11 ounce boy. I remember when the midwife said, “It’s a boy!”, I feigned excitement. “A boy!”, I wearily exclaimed followed by the unrehearsed words, “Does he have all his fingers and toes?”. He did. When they handed me my new little Gumby-headed bundle with whom I was to nurse bond I was disappointed that I wasn’t immediately flooded with rapturous motherly love.
It didn’t take long for my motherly instincts to kick in and I found myself head over heels obsessed and in love. I had never ever felt such compelling love and attachment and belonging. Even anchoring. I couldn’t stop staring at him. Even when he slept, I would gaze in awe at this little being. As time past and he grew, he was always a delight. Easy to care for with a ready smile, a strong will, and a boatload of charm I considered myself blessed beyond measure to be the mother of this precious, and probably old, soul.
I came to the role of mother without a role model. Having lost my mother at such an early age and then being mothered by an ill-prepared step-mother there were many deficits in my bag of mothering skills. The one thing I was always clear about was that I would consciously parent in a way that made my son feel loved and supported and believed in. And to love him like there was no tomorrow. And I still do. We have had our ups and downs, but love has prevailed and I know that it always will.
That day, 33 years ago, was monumental and defining. Justin, I’m proud to be your mother. Happy Birthday, my sweet.