With Mother’s Day in mind we celebrated Mum’s in lots of different ways this month. Here is a reflection I wrote on my journey.
Motherhood has taken me by complete surprise. I distinctly remember conversations prior to becoming a mother where I felt that once I had children, I would certainly enjoy them and guide them but my career would remain my main focus. That I would plan to have lots of help and options to outsource the dull, mundane sides of parenting and domestics. Don’t you love reflecting on how you saw the world prior to becoming a parent? I was also one of those young upstarts who had a mental list of what she would and wouldn’t let HER children do.
You see, what I didn’t anticipate (which I know sounds so cliché and still astounds me) is how I fell, heart and soul, in love with my children. I fell so hard that I hated the thought of someone else raising them. Hated not being with them. I went back to work a few times and then mustered up the courage to listen to my heart and trust that I could make things work in another way for my career, if I honoured my heart.
Not once did I imagine that I would love them so fiercely. To this day, I have to still hold myself back and let my boys handle their own conflicts, when instead I’m ready to take on their frenemies or a surly adult in a dark alley for them. It’s a love that I am yet to fully understand and one that has enabled me to willingly wipe some else’s bottom or snotty nose. To deal with someone else’s vomit and bodily fluids. It’s a love that makes me effortlessly suspend my own needs, even if I’m bone tired, to ensure they know they are loved and supported. It’s unfathomable.
I do often lose my cool about the constant mess they make and the abuse they incessantly inflict on my fridge, pantry and wallet. Yes, I grow weary when they argue with each other or they argue with me. Sure, I need time out for some exercise, meditation and work or I tend to go crazy. I do indeed however, love being with them. I genuinely enjoy their banter, their humour and their perspective on life.
Motherhood has taught me to appreciate the mundane side of life, to look for humour and to be a better communicator.
Birthing a baby who you know has passed and then holding them in your arms forever changes you. It creates a longing in your heart and leaves you desperate to hold them again. Yet even before we lost Abe, I realised that even though I adored my brood, a key part to finding motherhood fulfilling meant that I had to fuel my own sense of purpose. I had to identify that my desire for my children to be happy could only be met as a ripple effect of my own personal fulfillment. This meant that I had to make time to fulfill my ambitions and from there, together, we could all find a buoyant, somewhat crazy but nurturing, loving nest.
Motherhood continues to surprise me. Including that feeling like a ‘Great Mum’ didn’t mean I had to sacrifice everything. For me, motherhood has transformed how I show up in the wider world – with my purpose and ambitions – and has amplified life in every way imaginable. I hope that this is also part of your reality, or forms part of the path ahead if you are starting a family.
Dr Jen xx
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