For all Mothers
(including soon to be Mothers)
We are sitting at lunch one day when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of “starting a family.” “We’re taking a survey,” she says half-joking. “Do you think I should have a baby?”
“It will change your life,” I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral.
“I know,” she says, “no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations.”
But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes.
I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.
I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, “What if that had been MY child?” That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her.
That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.
I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of “Mum!” will cause her to drop a soufflé or her best crystal without a moments hesitation.
I feel that I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her
baby’s sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby is all right.
I want my daughter to know that every day decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy’s desire to go to the men’s room rather than the women’s at McDonald’s will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming
children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom.
However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.
Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself.
That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give herself up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years, not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs.
I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor.
My daughter’s relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks.
I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child.
I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.
I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving.
I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike.
I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time.
I want her to taste the joy that is so real it actually hurts.
My daughter’s quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. “You’ll never regret it,” I finally say. Then I reached across the table, squeezed my daughter’s hand and offered a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings.
Please share this with a Mum that you know or all of your girlfriends who may someday be Mums. May you always have in your arms the one who is in your heart.
By Dale Hanson Bourke
‘Chicken soup for the woman’s soul’!
When I read this, it tugged so hard at my heartstrings that it left me speachless….It is so true.
It is so indescribable how becoming a mother changes you. It changes you in ways you never thought possible. It is scary and amazing all wrapped up in one.
I look at my kids and feel what they feel, good and bad. I want them to always feel joy, but that wouldn’t be life. I can wish and be hopeful though right? I find when they are faced with the reality of dissapointments, fear, or insecurities, I feel it right along with them, and just want to grab them and hug them and make it all go away.
Before I was a mother I didn’t know that listening to laughter from a baby, or child would be the most amazing sound and that little hugs and kisses could make a day so much brighter. Little do these little ones know that they could have such power.
Thats it, power, it is what these little children have over me…they have the power to make everything better by little gestures of love and affection. They have the power to make me question if I am a good mother, not by their actions or behaviors, but because I only want what is best for them, and as a woman and mother I do not want to fail them. These little ones have so much control over my thoughts and actions, it isn’t about me anymore, it is about them.
My heart aches for other mothers who lose a child, or have a sick child and they feel helpless…..I pray harder and harder each day for the health of my kids, because I could not imagine one single moment without them.
I am amazed at how nice it is to have date night with my husband, but I, well we both feel like we are missing something when we leave our kids to enjoy this simple pleasure.
It is an amazing love, the love of a child and no matter how hard it seems to be at times to gain control, or find my way out of a fog, it is worth it. Not a day goes by that I do not feel thankful for all I have.
I love you Carter, Preston, Layla and Emerson…you make my life worth living….Life is definately Complete!