I can’t believe I’m the mom of a 17-year-old!

I contracted Lyme Disease around the start of puberty, and back in the 80s, the medical community wasn’t very familiar with Lyme. It took a couple of years of being sick and seeing 20+ doctors before I finally received the accurate diagnosis of Lyme and, long story short, getting Lyme during puberty meant I could not have kids.

Fast forward to my late 20s. I had a dream my great-grandmother Concetta was walking towards me, and behind her were my Mommom Bessie and Mommom June. My Mommoms were kinda facing forward and kinda facing each other, and they were holding both sets of hands between their bosoms. Nobody said a word, but I could feel their excitement in the air. Grandmom Concetta walked up to me and rested her hand on my stomach for a moment, and then she turned back to my mommoms and nodded her head a few times, which made them squeal and giggle like little girls. Grandmom Concetta, her hand still on my stomach, then turned and looked me in the eye, and with a soft smile on her face, nodded a few times.

I woke up with a start and was sitting up in bed before I realized it. It felt so real. No one said a word and I knew what they were there to tell me. I turned to Mike and woke him up and told him I needed him to walk up to the store and get me a pregnancy test ASAP. He looked out the window. It was December, and we were having a bad snowstorm. There was already a foot of snow on the ground and it was still coming down like it wasn’t stopping anytime soon. He asked if this needed to happen right now or if it could wait until we had a ride or the snow melted, and I said it couldn’t wait. He would have preferred to stay in that warm bed under the covers, but he pulled his boots and coat on and went out and brought that test home for me. And when I took it, two blue lines showed up almost immediately. I was almost afraid to believe it was true, but I didn’t think the matriarchs of my family would set me up for heartbreak like that. Against the odds, I had a baby in my belly.

I walked out and showed your dad the positive test, and told him I wanted to name you Concetta. He asked what if you’re a boy, and I said you’re not. I always wanted a little girl, and my grandmothers came to tell me I’m pregnant, so I just know this was my little girl. Your dad looked up what the name Concetta meant, and one meaning is “miracle baby.” We both thought that was perfect. We chose BellaRosa for your middle name, which means beautiful rose in Italian, after my great Aunt Rose, who is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met.

They categorized my pregnancy with you as high-risk, but that was because of my health issues and not because of anything that was happening with you or the pregnancy itself. I often told people my pregnancy with you was boring, and that was a good thing! Your cravings were easy: rice crispy treats, white chocolate peanut butter cups, and grape juice. And oddly enough, I couldn’t stand the smell of meat when I was pregnant with you, not even eggs.

You were born via planned c-section, and my obgyn made sure she had the best professionals the hospital had to offer in there with her, i.e. the head of anesthesia. There were no complications, and I got a glimpse of you before you and I went in opposite directions for vitals and recovery.

About two hours went by before you were brought to me in my hospital room. Your father, my father, my sister, and your maternal grandmother were all in there waiting to meet you and hold you. Your father got to hold you for a couple of minutes in the operating room, but he wanted more time with you, obviously! It seemed like we waited an eternity, but soon enough the nurse wheeled your isolet into my hospital room, checked both of our tags, and then lifted you out of the isolet and placed you into my arms. This was it! And I felt…


I looked at you and smiled. I wasn’t sure what to think or do. Sure, you were cute and all, but I wasn’t feeling anything at all towards you. I felt so disconnected. Inside, I wondered if my family was looking at me and could tell I was failing as a mom from the first minute. I held you for a couple of minutes and then started passing you around the room. Everyone else was so full of emotion holding you and talking to you. What the hell was wrong with me?

I opted to sleep with your isolet in my room. I don’t know how long I was asleep, but your cry woke me up out of a sound sleep with a feeling of dread coming over me. My abdomen was weak and tender from my fresh c-section wounds, so I cried out but kept moving forward and upward until I could reach you in your isolet and pull you out and toward me. We were about face to face and your crying stopped, and I just held you there for a few seconds and looked at you. My body reminded me it was uncomfortable and in pain, so I settled back in my bed and held you close. You did the tongue thing that I recognized as you wanting to nurse, so I latched you on. It amazed me you went from crying to content simply by me picking you up, that just my presence had a soothing effect on you. You were so soft and made the sweetest little coos. I took your hat off and rubbed my fingers through all your black hair. I took one of your hands out of the newborn sleeve mitt it was tucked in and counted each of your little fingers on that hand and did the same with your other hand and both your feet. These huge thoughts started going through my mind, like through you I’m now immortal, and part of my heart and soul now lives outside my body, and I wouldn’t just die for you, I would kill for you. I knew you were the baby who grew inside me. I held you close and quietly said, “Hi Concetta, I’m Mommy.” A few tears of happiness wet my cheeks, and I knew we were going to be ok. I told you stories about our family and sang you the song my mom always sang to me when I was a little girl, “I told every little start just how sweet I think you are…” Some time in the middle of the night in the quiet of our hospital room, we cemented our mother-child bond, and I fell in love with you all over again.

When you found out at age 3 that you were going to be a big sister, you were so excited! When you saw how good it felt for me to have cocoa butter rubbed on my tummy, you made that part of our evening routine. When the baby was big enough to kick you through my tummy, you would laugh hysterically. When the baby was born, you loved being a big sister! You didn’t have an ounce of jealousy in you and wanted to do anything you could to help with the baby.

You were always different from the other kids your age. You marched to the beat of your own drum and you didn’t care what anyone else thought. You were stronger and braver than any little kid should ever have to be.

At age 5, you decided you didn’t want to eat anything that had a face or could be your friend. We didn’t have any friends or family that were vegetarians or vegans, and your teacher said you didn’t have any classmates that were. This was a concept that you thought of and decided on, and 12 years later, you’re still a vegetarian. You have so much compassion.

For several years now, when asked what you want for your birthday or for Christmas, you say you have everything you need, and ask that people adopt an animal on your behalf. If they give you a certificate, you hang it on the wall by your bed so you can look at it every day. You’re what some people would call an old soul. I’m the parent in this relationship, and there are times I take a step back and learn from you.

When you were little, you used to tell me that, before you were born, the angels would show you all the mommies who wanted a baby, and you got to pick who you wanted to be your mommy. I don’t know why you chose me, but I’m so happy and blessed you did. You fundamentally changed my life. I wasn’t sure what my life’s purpose was. I had no career to build, no marriage or family to build. You literally changed all of that for me. You will forever be my masterpiece.

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