All at Once

All at once, it was real. 

It happened at my first OB appointment last week, when I heard - not the rapid hoofbeat of my daughter's prenatal heartbeat - but a slow, rhythmic thud. Like a tribal drum sounding to call forth the energy this child will need to be born. 

I knew I would hear the heartbeat on this office visit, but I had forgotten the effects of a simple Doppler and some ultrasound gel. All at once, my eyes welled up. My doctor must have noticed because his voice softened into a tone usually reserved for first-grade teachers. "Isn't it wonderful?" he said. 

Before now, the baby had been something altogether ethereal, and now… proof that our baby exists, spiritually and physically. 

I am into my second trimester, yet, all at once, I have begun to rub my belly and to carry on conversations with the little guy. I say goodnight and good morning, and I tell my daughter - over and over - what a good big sister she is bound to be. 

All at once, we are a family of four. 

These moments of epiphany, such as the moment a mother's "fetus" becomes a mother's "child," always seem to sneak up on me. These are the moments in which you understand, all at once, that nothing - not a single thing - is more important than your job as a mother to your children, born or unborn. 

The September 2000 issue of Parents Magazine features a wonderfully simple article that you'll want to tear out: "50 Reasons to Love a Baby." It's a list of gentle reminders, ranging from the everyday to the extraordinary, that helps keep everything in perspective. 

As you go through your week, be thinking of your own list. Why do you love being a mother? Why do you love your children, of any age or stage? If you send your list to, we'll post your contributions online. Let's work together to create an inspiring, interactive tool for moms everywhere.