Becoming a mom gives an entirely new meaning to the concept of hard work.
Sure, there’s the changing, the feeding, the washing and the hundreds of other duties that come with keeping babies healthy.
But mothers also have the responsibility of raising their sons and daughters to be happy, healthy children and successful adults.
They provide encouragement, support and guidance when their kids struggle.
That’s a big job. But it comes with rewards that far outweigh the extra work.
Three Johnson County mothers have shared the challenges and joys that come with motherhood. Their stories are unique, but all share a theme — that none of the women would trade motherhood for anything.
“It’s really cool that you have these little babies, and you get to hug them and teach them and train them to grow up to love the Lord and maybe make a difference in the world. It’s a big responsibility, but I love it,” Franklin resident Brooke Ramirez said.
The baby girl’s tiny body was dwarfed by the medical equipment keeping her alive.
Tubes ran into her nose and mouth, aiding her weak lungs to push oxygen in and carbon dioxide out. A feeding tube nourished her underdeveloped body.
Kathy Edwards remembers watching through the glass of the neonatal intensive care unit. It was one of the worst times of her life.
“We felt helpless, like there was nothing we could do,” she said.
Both of Edwards’ children were born with underdeveloped lungs, requiring treatment in the neonatal intensive care unit at Franciscan St. Francis Health-Indianapolis. She and her husband, Daniel, were unable even to hold their children for days as both struggled for survival.
Both Stormy, 6, and AJ, 4, have recovered and now run, jump and laugh just like typical children. But Edwards has learned how delicate life can be and has dedicated herself to not losing sight of the small, magical moments that being a mom brings.
“Enjoy every second. There’s times when you might not think you’re doing something right, but just enjoy what you have. You’re doing fine,” she said.
When Edwards was pregnant with Stormy in 2007, she was fearful that Stormy would be born premature. But despite her vigilance about any sign of trouble, the pregnancy seemed to be uneventful and typical.
Still, six weeks before her due date in early June, Edwards went into labor.
Stormy spent three weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit until she was strong enough to breathe on her own. The episode was traumatic, but the couple were happy that their daughter was alive.
Two years later, the nightmare played itself out again. Alfred James, or AJ, was born full term but still suffered from lungs that weren’t fully developed.
His situation was so dire that he was transferred from St. Francis to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. AJ needed to be attached to breathing machines for a full month before he could go home.
“We were afraid he was going to die on us,” she said. “I couldn’t hold him for days because he was on the machine.”
Edwards uses that memory to remind herself of how lucky her family is. She is active with the annual March for Babies fundraiser benefiting the March of Dimes. She plans to walk in the event today.
Throughout the week, she stays at home with Stormy and AJ, while her husband works as the kitchen manager at O’Charleys. They are getting used to their new home in Franklin and exploring the neighborhood.
Even with two young children and the occasional behavior explosions that 6- and 4-year-olds can have, she loves being able to take advantage of small moments that being a mom is all about.
“I get to stay home with my kids. For me, that’s the most enjoyable,” she said. “I’m lucky.”