It’s no surprise by now, that I’m a planner. I always have been. So, to say that my first son arriving three and a half weeks before his due date was not part of my schedule is an understatement.
He also came so fast (I know, don’t hate), that when the nurse put him on my chest, my first thought was, “what just happened.”
Hours earlier in the day I had been a pregnant-with-her-first-child woman who still had to wash the baby clothes, pack the hospital bags and tour the hospital. And now, all of a sudden, I was a mother.
In many ways I could relate to Kate Hopper in her beautiful new memoir, Ready For Air, a touching and real account of her journey through the birth of her daughter at 32 weeks and the struggles of their first year together.
Kate’s writing will pull you in, you forget you are reading someone else’s story and are instantly inside the story yourself.
I was incredibly touched by the part in the book where Kate describes seeing her 2- day-old preemie, really for the first time, in the NICU. She writes;
“This cannot be my baby, this is not how it was supposed to happen.”
She recalls the videos from her birthing classes with the babies covered in the ‘white slime of birth’ on their mother’s chests and yet her tiny baby hooked up to monitors and she is only able to touch her tiny foot and she thinks;
“Nothing is as it should be.”
This line really struck me; first of all, I counted my blessing that I was able to have my slime-covered babies on my chest right after birth (see above photo.) But this line also made me think about how really, in our own ways, we go into motherhood with a set of ideals, with visions on how things will go and we quickly learn that things don’t always go as we had planned in our heads. This realization, for a planner like me, has been hard part of motherhood to come to terms with.
We create these ‘shoulds’ in our minds and we think every other mother has it figured out or has it easier. We think we are the only one who struggled with breastfeeding, or post partum depression, or watching a too small baby hooked up to wires, or even the loss of a child.
When asked what Kate hoped her readers would take away from her book, she replied she hoped readers would be inspired to write their own stories and think about how sharing them might bring hope to another person.
Kate talks about how when the ‘gritty, the heartbreaking, and the gorgeous and breathtaking parts of being a mother are given a voice and a space, we can begin to chip away at the myths that surround motherhood.’
I am so honored to share Kate’s work with you here and I encourage you to pick up a copy of your own, so that we can all start to see motherhood for the whole, completely amazing and crazy journey that it is…for all of us.
Kate is dedicated to helping other families know they are not alone as they navigate the unknown of the NICU. She is donating 15 copies or her book to NICUs across the country and you can nominate your favorite here.
And YOU can win a copy of her book as well, leave comment in the comment section below and a winner will be randomly choose next Wednesday.
* I received a copy of the book from the publishers for my review, but my thoughts and opinions are my own.