My Path to Motherhood: An Open Letter



Motherhood. If joy, then pain.

Visions of walking the path to motherhood and of the perfect birth plan dance in most of our heads the moment we learn we’re expecting. Our water will break right around our due date, we’ll grab our already packed hospital bag and head out, or perhaps call our midwife to come over, because “it’s time!” For some, it’ll play out as we imagined. But for others, like me, it absolutely will not.

I wrote the following letter to attempt to close the gap between how we become a parent – whether we adopt, require in vitro, birth at home, labor in a hospital or deliver prematurely, like me. First, at 31 weeks to boy/girl twins, Reese and Riley, then at 25 weeks to a 1lb micro preemie who we call, the mighty River.

We are all beginning the hardest job we’ll ever love, the same bittersweet journey. And it’s not how long or even if we carried our children at all. It’s how we walk down that path and how we carry them in the years to come.

Dear Fellow Mommy,

From the shadows of the hospital halls, we see you in our mind’s eye long after we cross paths. Wrapped in your joy. The smiles we project towards you are real, for even in our situation, we are genuinely happy for you. The beauty of a new baby, new life.

We don’t know your whole story. Whether you tried for years to get pregnant or whether it came easy for you to begin the process of building a family. Whether your pregnancy was textbook or full of mountains to climb. Whether you were in labor for 60 hours or 2. We know that every new life is nothing short of a miracle, no matter the circumstances.

We are glad you are not experiencing what we’ve been faced with, but please understand that our cups still runneth over.

If we happen to speak in the hallway, when you tell me your new baby was 9lbs, 4oz and 22 inches long, try not to look painfully shocked or say “I’m sorry” when I tell you mine was only 1lb, 2.8oz and 10 inches long. I know it’s shocking, I probably made the same face you just did when I learned of his size. I know you mean well.

My son, River at birth. 1lb, 2.8 oz, 10in long.
My son, River at birth. 1lb, 2.8 oz, 10in long.

The celebration of my new baby is different than yours, but realize it’s still a celebration to me. Your celebration involves the “regular” nursery, immediate breast or bottle feeding, perhaps a short hospital stay, the same healing {body-wise} as me, the same fears and hopes of becoming a guardian of this new life. Parenthood is full of fear and joy.

When you go home, your baby will go too. I don’t know what your future holds but right now, as we are face to face, heart to heart, what I need is sudden normalcy, just two mothers, celebrating a child. My celebration is different than yours. It involves the NICU, beautiful nurses who will be the only ones allowed to touch my child, long before it’s safe for me to touch him. Intubation, monitors, apnea, bradycardia, my baby is often floppy and blue instead of pink and chubby. Incubators, nasal cannulas, feeding tubes, re-intubation, this is how I’m introduced to parenthood. This is the world I know. But know in the future, I will say that I wouldn’t change anything about my story. It built me. It tested me and brought me to my knees harder than I expected.

One day, we will cross paths again. Perhaps in a busy shopping mall. You won’t recognize me but I will you. Maybe both our boys will be trying to elude us in the crowd, maybe we will nod at each other in understanding. It won’t be any different than when we met in that hallway. We are still two parents, celebrating the milestones of a child.


A Preemie Mommy

Kara Riojas

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Kara lives in Odem on a five acre mini farm and has been married to Robert for almost six years. Together, they have three children. Reese and Riley, b/g twins {7}, and River {4}. She is part owner in the family business, a ghost writer and active in animal rescue. She was introduced to parenthood in a whirlwind because both of her pregnancies ended with premature births. River was a micro preemie. She feels that those experiences caused her to take more of a laid back approach to life and parenting and taught her that the small things are usually the big things! Kara looks forward to writing for Corpus Christi Moms Blog and sharing her experiences and findings with you all!


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