Motherhood is such a loaded word.
How different mothers live into motherhood is always going to be very different, even when it's sort of the same.
How mothers become mothers is a little more similar than different. The baby has got to come out of the female body - vaginally or cesarean. Of course, where and how babies are born differ in so many ways, depending on culture, geography, socioeconomic status, preference, and many other factors, but the truth is, there are two ways for a baby to come into the world.
Most mothers I know experienced this sort of introduction to motherhood - pregnancy, labor, delivery, and infant.
A fewer number of mothers I know had a much different sort of labor and delivery.
As a mother through adoption, my delivery occurred in a parking lot of a park and ride off of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. This was the same parking lot that my husband and I had met to pick up or drop off our son from and with his foster family for several pre-adoptive visits prior to his permanent home coming. This parking lot wasn't special, it was just a simple matter of accessibility. It was about the mid-way point between us and my son's foster family, so that's where we met.
We came to know this particular parking-lot really well.
However, on December 20, 2013 there would be no trip back to trade him off once again. This time, we were picking him up to bring him home for good.
We met in our usual spot, but this time everyone piled out of the cars as we moved the few things he had into our car, took pictures, shared hugs, and said thank yous and goodbyes.
My husband sat in the backseat with our son on the way home. As I drove on the Turnpike, watching occasionally and cautiously in the rear-view mirror at my growing family, it struck me that I just became a mother.
I was a new mom and, though the labor and delivery were much different, I was definitely feeling all the feelings of a new mom:
I was overjoyed.
I was excited.
I was terrified.
And I cried as I watched my family in the backseat - joy and fear, excitement and intimidation - I cried because I had just become a mother in a parking lot.