A Mother’s love is a reflection of God’s Love” Isaiah 66:13
When I birthed my oldest daughter Lillian, now nearly ten years old, it was probably one of the most intense experiences of my life; becoming a brand new mother for the very first time. I was young, just barely into my twenties, however, the experience of a first born child doesn’t get any easier with subsequent pregnancies.
I gave birth to my second daughter, Layla, nine years later and the intensity was the much the same and actually harder. Age and experience doesn’t define Motherhood, love does; along with a million other emotions that swirl within you. In fact, as the years have gone by since I had Lillian, I have learned that giving birth itself, doesn’t define Motherhood.
During the first few months after a baby, a mother’s mind and body are in recovery mode. Pregnancy is not the same for everyone, as we all experience a vast array of different symptoms and birth stories. When the doctor handed Lillian to me, I was blown away that I had just pushed this tiny human out of my body and she was all mine.
Mine? Meaning, I had to take care of her with my husband. We had to be her biggest support and raise her to be a strong, independent young lady, ready to face to world! The very idea of that kind of responsibility made my head spin. I even began to panic a bit, questioning who I had to be in order to accomplish raising her well. And where would I learn how to do this?
The day I took Lillian home from the hospital, I felt a deep protectiveness for her immediately, however, my mind and heart were flooded with emotions mixed with the most intense fatigue of my entire life. This made it hard to find any beauty or joy as a new Mom, never mind being able to identify what she needed. I even questioned at times, would I be able to befriend this ‘thing’ called Motherhood?
All I wanted to do was lay down and sleep for about an entire winter season like a bear in hibernation. The amount of information that I read over the nine months prior to her birth, the advice from my own mother and from the nurses in the hospital was going through my brain like a series of movie clips. I looked down at my sweet, blonde baby girl, nuzzled in my arms all cozy and began to cry. I felt her sweet love for me soak through my chest from her perfect little body.
I felt her…did she feel anything from me? I wondered.
What I did not know then and what I have come to learn now is that being a Mother is in you from the day you are born. For reasons sometimes unknown, some women have to wait to bear their children and some may not ever have children in their lifetime on earth. Yet, the loving qualities that a Mother must have within is always right there, ready to share with the world in many ways.
What I have come to understand is that women are Divinely given gifts to bring a softness through their innate ability to love a child; to a hurting and complex world. To be a Mother, is within us and even if done vicariously, we share this love to all.
When a we give birth, or adopt, whichever way Motherhood begins, we can easily see what is already inside. When we look back on our lives, we can see that it is the nurturing qualities of Motherhood that brings enlightenment to a suffering, often dark world. Our nurture spreads the seeds of Love like a honeybee spreads the flower’s essence throughout a field. Whether you mothered your dolls as a small girl, a pet, a friend who is struggling or a coworker who reaches out to you for help, the gifts of Motherhood that you are given have always been there.
We as women have the ability to Mother the earth and heal it through love.
When I first brought Lillian home, our lives were rocked to the very core yet somehow, in the blink of an eye nearly ten years has passed. I remember those first few months, when I just didn’t think I was doing anything right. Many times I just wanted to cry, trying to figure out if I was the kind of mother my daughter needed. Without shame or guilt, I can easily say I did not like this new role at first, it shocked me and turned my world upside down.
As I have grown and experienced more of life, both good and bad, I find that I can stop struggling because I see who I am inside. I realize that I am endowed with the gift of nurture and love. As a woman, I am made for this though I did not see it in the beginning.
How do I know?
I stopped judging myself and found love was there even in my most difficult moments over the years since I had Lillian. I decided to gather in all of the “mistakes” that I thought I made and allowed myself to feel the guilt that I may have carried. I confessed that the only judgment I made and the pressure I felt to be a “perfect” mother for my daughter was my own doing. So I let it go. I forgave myself and that allowed me to become intimate with the gifts of nurture and love within my higher self.
Today my gorgeous, funny, smart and kooky nine-year-old daughter comes bouncing in the door. She gives me a huge hug then manages to make me laugh until tears come out of my eyes. Even on our most challenging days, she never ceases to tell me she loves me and she never questions if I do too. Without consciously trying, I realize that the bond between us is so incredibly strong and powerful. There is no other connection like it, even if that connection takes years to mature.
I not only befriended Motherhood, but it befriended me. I let go of trying to define what it means to be a mother. Instead I simply accept that this gift is part of my existence. The truth is: it cannot be defined. It just is. Love just is. Motherhood doesn’t define us. It is who we are.