The Moment


This was the evening. The evening when, a thousand miles from home, all my soul hung poised in breathless anticipation. As I met a dozen new people, fellow musicians and composers at the retreat center, and declined the glass of wine…just in case.

This was the moment of glory, a fresh, crystal-clear morning, the Feast of the Assumption, when I walked out of the retreat center for church, knowing. Knowing. My heart too full, and unable to share the news–surely everyone could see the light spilling out of the cracks–my whole being reverberating with awe and incredulity.

And this was the next morning, when I woke hours ahead of my fellow retreat-goers, my blood a-tingle with the knowledge of life nestled within my womb.

This was the end of three years of waiting. Three years of prayers and pain and tears and fists shaken at God and asking why? and wanting to claw the eyes out of half the women I met. Three years of hopes dashed to pieces one month at a time. Three Three years of paperwork and dreams of tiny children in a distant place called Nizhny-Novgorod.

This was the moment hope was reborn. The moment pain became transfigured, and my soul took wings.

This was the moment I became a mother.


Critiques welcome!

13 thoughts on “The Moment

    • Lest we start a rumor, these pictures were taken in 2004, and the little life incubating is now eating eggs and zucchini bread at the table and hollering, “Mommy, what is Nicholas playing with?”


  1. greenmomintheburbs

    Kate–I love this!

    Mine is actually sort of funny. It was one of those insane crazy afternoons when I had no time and was running like a crazy person–you know, when you have your whole day scheduled down to the minute and then one activity in early afternoon gets bogged down and you’re suddenly 20 minutes behind schedule and everything starts going downhill.

    I’m afraid I was one of those alarmingly fertile little bunnies you would have wanted to claw. I’d been married less than a month, and we had figured we’d have a little more time to learn to be married before we had to learn to be parents. But that day I zoomed into the house knowing I now had 5 minutes instead of the half-hour or so I’d planned to have time to grab a bite for dinner before running out to the other side of the city. I was stressed and frantic and not thinking rationally at all. And I had no idea what to eat, because nothing sounded good. And I was thirsty.

    I walked into the pantry and picked up an unopened half-gallon of carrot-orange juice. I unscrewed the lid and drank from the bottle. I drank about 2/3 of the bottle in two swigs. Two. Stopped and looked at the deeply drained bottle, and knew. It was another week and a half before I could pee on the stick, but I didn’t really need it.

    I’m afraid for me the moment wasn’t one of peace and deep joy (although the joy was there in the midst of all the other emotions), it was more one of bewilderment and “what now?” Because I knew then instinctively, as I know now more concretely, that becoming a parent would mean dying to most of the hopes and dreams and aspirations I had for myself, and taking on a set of new ones. I have no regrets, and my children are the delight of my life…but at the time, the dying part had to come first before the new birth could happen, so for me the pregnancy and early years of motherhood were full of conflicting and confusing feelings and emotions.

    And now I’m realizing that those dreams maybe didn’t actually die, they just went to sleep for a while, and they are waking up again. And my joy is even greater now.

    But I tell you–I can’t drink carrot-orange juice now without thinking of that moment. And smiling. Because, truly, it was one of the greatest moments of my life. It just took a few years perspective to really realize it.

  2. Molly

    My first “I am really a mother” moment happened when I was early in my first trimester with Josie. I was away at a Walk to Emmaus spiritual retreat weekend. I was sick, I wasn’t eating, I had no energy… it was difficult to hide what was going on. We had confided my pregnancy to one of the pastors there — just in case anything were to happen. At the end of the weekend, I was blessed to have that same pastor serve me communion. As she said her word of blessing, she added a special blessing for our child. And then and there, I realized I am a mother. And more than simply feeding and clothing this child, I am responsible for tending her soul and leading her towards that soul-food. It caused me great pause, but filled me with such peace, purpose, and love. It was an incredible moment that I will never forget.

    Thanks for sharing your words, Kate. As always, they stir much within me.

  3. I love the majesty of the trees in your photos. I am sure they were large, but they way the picture was taken makes them even appear larger. And your story of knowing when you were first a mommy, loved it!

  4. I remember that feeling…that little tickle of joy inside, the light escaping the beams, as you put it.

    I like the visceral, oh-so-real details…I, too wanted to tear out the eyes of all those smug, pregnant faces. I too, shook my fist at the sky.

    I think the repetition of This….works for me. However, if you want to experiment with some sentence variety, it might might take the piece in surprising new directions.

  5. If nothing else, these comments are a testimony to the amazing ability you have to weave a story. We connected, and we posted our own experiences to prove it. Well done!

    I am not a mother, I never wanted to be. (Probably stems from the irrational fear I had when my mother said things like ‘just wait until you have kids of your own’ as she shook a spatula my direction.) After reading about your experience, I almost regret that decision. Almost.

    I do have a concrit: “As I met a dozen new people, fellow musicians and composers at the retreat center, and declined the glass of wine…just in case.”

    This was a hiccup in the flow of the piece for me, as it was a little difficult to read through. The thought seemed incomplete.

    That’s it. All I got. This piece was entirely too lovely and perfect! Again, well done!

  6. “My heart too full, and unable to share the news–surely everyone could see the light spilling out of the cracks–my whole being reverberating with awe and incredulity.” I love this so much. Perfection.

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