I was 25 years old when my first child was born. Idealistic then, I planned a home birth, read the books, and attended class. Treating the endeavor like any other college course, I soon discovered the difference between academic learning and on-the-job training.
When that baby was set on my tummy, I had no idea what I was doing. Terrified of failing the most important job I’d ever do, it took a while for me to warm up to the little guy. Nuzzling into my breasts, crying, pooping, and sleeping, he knew exactly what to do. Learning to follow his lead, I eventually got the hang of mothering. As a result, my heart opened and healed in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I was never the same.
Looking at family photos from back then, I can see a change in my face. There is more soul in my eyes, and the smiles are more sincere. The chip on my shoulder, which I proudly carried for years, is gone. Vulnerable, loving, and a little apologetic my expressions are.
My children were both spirited toddlers, and I was overwhelmed for years keeping them safe and teaching them to act with something like a conscious. I was thread-bear, at times, especially when they were sick or needing some sort of special doctor’s appointment, testing, or treatment for issues I couldn’t prevent.
Nonstop caring for them was. Well-meaning relatives suggested I go back to work for my own sanity, and leave the boys in day care. I’d become irate at the suggestion. They dismissed work that was sacred to me…a job only I could do best. I stood my ground; and when I look at my older son’s well-adjusted temperament and my younger son’s straight, healthy spine, I know I did the right thing.
Listening to my instincts and following through with the care they needed may not have mattered to others, but it matters to me. In this way, I found my voice in mothering my children; while doing this work, I healed my heart and found confidence.
I love looking at old photos of other women before and after motherhood. I must interject here children do not have to come out of your body to be yours. I’ve seen the same metamorphosis happen for adoptive mothers and step-mothers….and I’ve seen women who give birth to children not have this experience.
The secret ingredient to the healing elixir or motherlove is attachment. The fierce, eternal, unbreakable bond women can have with their children is ultimately what burns away insecurity, hopelessness, and anger. It’s the deeply rooted connection between mother and child that can heal a life.
Now is a difficult chapter in my life, again, but the sight of my children fills my heart with love. When they are at their dad’s, I feel lost. Thank God for our parenting plan… I don’t have to go too long without them.
I know my boys will be grown sooner than I wish, and they’ll set out on their own adventures. If I’ve done my job right, they’ll be men of conscious, love and confidence. They’ll achieve whatever their aim is. It’d be great if they gave their dear old mom a call once in a while, though I know my part in their story will be small then.
Though my sons will be raised, the imprint they put in my spirit is eternal…and the healing they brought my heart is for a lifetime.