Tuesday, March 6, 2012
"What Is It Like Being A Mum?"
Many of my friends are mothers themselves, and when I found out Nahla was on the way, I was kind of "in the middle", meaning that roughly half of my friends had crossed over into to motherhood, and the other half had yet to take the plunge. Or meet someone they wanted to take the plunge with, for that matter.
I remember having so many questions to those of my friends who had already had babies. Mostly then about pregnancy itself. Or childbirth, which seemed like this huge big deal back then, like "will I make it or not" type stuff.
It turned out there were more important things I should have asked about. Stuff that matters beyond giving birth - which was sore, no doubt, but a piece of cake when you think about the reward.
When my yet-to-have-children friends ask me what it is really like, having a baby, being a mum, I often struggle to put this magnificent life-altering thing into words. Motherhood means so many big things. And a million little ones.
1. It means never again being able to open a newspaper, or watch a movie, or the news, and not think: "What if that was my child?" when you see images of sick, starving or injured children. Because as a mother, you now can feel what these women must feel, and it breaks your mummy-heart.
2. It means every plane-crash and house-fire and famine will tug at your heart-strings, will make you weep for those mothers who lost their babies, or children who are now motherless.
2. It makes you see the world in a new way. Suddenly spending the weekend at a blustery playground, or wet and muddy duck-pond seems like the best idea in the world. Who knew?!
3. It may mean you can cross a good night sleep of your to-do list for a long time, and yet even the earliest of Sunday mornings can not even make you regret having that baby.
4. It means being tied to another human in a way you really cannot do justice when trying to describe it with words.
5. It means you may still care about your career, or your style, or your hobbies just like you did pre motherhood, but never again will they come first. It is just the way we are designed as mothers.
6. It means, much as you love your career and your job, days will come when you will be sitting in a meeting, and suddenly start thinking about the sweet sweet smell of your baby. And it will take all your willpower not to rush out and home, just to make sure your little heart is OK.
7. It means finding yourself up in the pitch dark of the night, worrying about your sick child, wiping vomit of every surface in your house or franticly googling "red dots" and "signs of meningitis" at 3 A.M.
8. It will mean that much as you love fashion and looking immaculate and put together, there will be days when all you can manage is jeans and Converse. And you will feel OK about it.
9. It might mean that your relationship will have to sometimes take the back-seat. Romantic weekends might have to yield for sick children, or lack of babysitters, or just pure exhaustion. But you will realize if it is meant to be, it will be strong enough to survive all this - and grow better.
10. It could mean having to sacrifice that promotion. Or the ability to work those crazy hours to please your psycho boss. And that is Ok. You are needed elsewhere.
11. It means that you will, like mothers everywhere, drop everything and run when you hear their crying voice: "Mummy!"
12. It means you will have a million little decisions to make every day - and that will always make you wonder: "Am I making the right one? Is this what is best for my baby?"
13. It means you will feel like you are loosing your mind. Sometimes several times a day.
14. It means you will question your ability and your strength and your capacity. But you will grow more confident every day. And you will want to share your Mommy-wisdom with other moms.
15. It means you will fall in love with your boyfriend or husband all over again, for reasons you may pre-babies find terribly un-romantic. No-one can tell you before you have children how your knees will go weak at the sight of your partner gently cradling your baby. Or dusting powder on a freshly cleaned baby-butt. Seriously, heart-melting stuff.
16. It means you will experience loving so hard it actually hurts your heart.
17. It means your home will never again look perfectly immaculate. And yet you will grow to love the lego hiding in the carpet, and the plastic tiaras and spongy dinosaurs you find scattered across your dining room. Nothing makes a house look more like a home than the visible signs of children living there.
18. It means suddenly feeling a bond with women and mothers everywhere. Women who fight for better schools. Or health systems. Or campaign to end drink-driving. Or better school-dinners. You will want to hug them all for making the world a better place.
19. It means finding joy in tiny little things that before baby you never even put much thought to.
20. It means that for the very first time, maybe, you start fearing your own mortality. That suddenly taking a plane-ride by your self, or driving when the roads are dark and wet, will make you cold with the fear that something might happen to you. Because the thought of your children not having you around is suddenly present in your worst nightmares. Because who could love them like you? Who could make them feel as safe and loved and special and protected as their mum? You will want to grow old, not just to see your dreams come true, but to be there when theirs do.
21. It could mean needing your family in a whole new way, because baby-sitters don't grow on trees, and it feels much better for your heart leaving your precious baby with family.
22. It means you will develop multi-tasking skills of super-human capacity.
23. It could mean days where the only adult conversation you have had is with the poor lady in the shop, or guy who sells you your take-away coffee. And they WILL look at you funny when you try and strike up a conversation, not knowing that all you have said or heard all day is "goo-goo-ga-ga."
24. It means you will make new friends and may become less attached to others. Motherhood can also mean days when you will feel lonely and isolated, and you will need other Mommy-friends who understands.
25. It will mean love. Crazy, all-consuming, never-ending, heart-breaking and perfect love. Your heart will never be the same. Your body might never either - and yet you will accept this. You will cry more, laugh more, shout more, run around more and love more than you ever thought possible. And you will not regret a single second of it.