• Melissa Gombola


My birthday is one week away. January 23rd. My oldest daughter's birthday is the day before mine. January 22nd.

I still remember going into labor in the wee hours, a Friday, and thinking she might share my birthday. She was, and still is, my most very favorite birthday gift.

When she arrived, my whole life changed. She made me a Mama. She showed me a love I didn't even know existed.

Jon & I were elated. Our love, created even more LOVE.

It absolutely shattered me.

My water broke at 4:00 am. She was five days late. The contractions came in fast & strong. I woke Jon up, and we jumped in the car.

(Okay, full disclosure, sorry Jon, but well, he actually hadn't packed a bag yet & so while I had towels between my legs to catch the amniotic fluid, he was packing his boxers in his duffel....)

Then, we rushed to the hospital. The contractions continued, family arrived, and at 3:30 pm, the doctors alerted us that we would need to go for a c-section, as baby needed to come out.

Now, I had read every. single. book. on pregnancy. And skipped every. single. chapter. on cesarean deliveries. I just knew I would not need one.

Well, I guess best laid plans, blah blah blah. All in all, it was all a big rush of terror & excitement, and at 4:01 pm, my sweet baby was born.

She was pink with dark hair & let out only one single cry. Then, she started looking around the room with the most beautiful big, brown eyes. She was taking it all in. The bright lights, the doctors, the nurses, her Daddy, and then finally, she settled her eyes on me.

She was beyond perfect. I couldn't stop shaking or crying.

The moment they laid her tiny body on my chest, I knew my life would never be the same. I didn't ever want to be away from her.

Every fiber of my very being needed to be with her, protect her, love her forever.

Everyone told us she looked so much like me. And as she's grown, we're finding out that she sure acts a lot like me, too.

I have struggled with body insecurities most of my life. I've worked hard to instill strong body awareness & positive self-esteem for all of my children.

We are so much more than just the way we look. Our bodies are built to move. To be enjoyed. And to be celebrated in all their forms.

As she gets older, through all the eventual changes of her body, I pray that she has the confidence to feel good about herself.

That she stands up for herself, always.

And I pray that she shows kindness not only to others, but to herself as well. This may be the hardest of all.

She'll be eight years old this year. My first baby. The one who made me a Mama. My darling Alexandra Marie.

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