I put on mascara before leaving for the hospital.
It was a scheduled induction, so I had time to prepare.
My thought was, "There will be lots of picture taking, so I want to look somewhat presentable."
I skipped my usual regimen of concealer, powder, blush, eyeliner and lip gloss because, hey, I was giving birth after all.
By the time the nurses were on the third IV attempt, that mascara had been smeared all over my face with tears. I should have known better.
Labor was scary and painful - there's no other way to describe it. But it was over.
There were complications at the end and her cord was wrapped around her neck, so I didn't get to hold her right away. I remember leaning back in the bed …exhausted… but not able to look away from the squirming, screaming red baby on the examination table.
She was perfect.
Looking back 4 weeks on, putting on that mascara at 6:30 a.m. was my last act of my old life. Every other action in my previous 32 years has been entirely my own, for my own benefit.
Since that moment she arrived and was placed in my arms, I forgot myself.
Every selfish thought, every worry, every jealousy or feeling of inadequacy took a backseat: I was transformed. The violent, physical act of her leaving my body was a rebirth for myself -- I was no longer just a woman, I became a mother.