On motherhood

May 4, 2014

Motherhood is never something that I dreamed of for myself. I went through life as a teenager promising my parents that I would never have children and this even continued into adulthood. Unlike most of my friends, I never dreamed or even thought of having a child of my own. I had little contact with children and didn’t go out of my way to have any more. And then I hit the age of 30. I had a boyfriend at the time who did want to have children but I thought about my future life with him at home with children. I did not find it at all attractive and I got out of the relationship. Then I found myself a few years later actually thinking about children. I guess this is what people call the biological clock. I was amazed at myself. What is happening to me, I thought. And then the years went on and I met someone as this biological need had set itself inside of me and then voilah I was pregnant. This pregnancy took hold of me in a way that I could not understand in anyway. For something I had no interest in, for it to suddenly take over my life was completely incomprehensbile to me. Everything changed. I became avidly interested (obsessed??) in natural birth, so much so that I learnt a method of natural birthing called HypnoBirthing (The Mongan method) and then gave birth with this method and went onto train so as to be able to teach other mums how to give birth using this technique. Natural birth (alongside all things natural, including aromatherapy) became one of the greatest passions in my life. And then other things began to change. As my daughter grew a little, I became disinterested in teaching at a prestigious university and left to teach at a preschool and to have time to teach more HypnoBirthing classes and do more prenatal massages. I can’t imagine what my previous self would have thought about this, having a child and then going so far as to working with children! But I was a changed person, I had gone through the transformation of giving birth and nurturing that baby into childhood.

It is truly amazing how childbirth and raising a child transforms a woman. I also found myself wanting to move out of the city and move to a more rural place, which was also something I promised myself I would never do as I was raised on a farm in a rural setting. But how does this transformation take place? Is it biological? All those hormones which start coursing through your veins with the beginning of pregnancy? Is it genetic? Is it just psychological?

Motherhood and mothers are very powerful, symbolically and in reality. They are able to give birth, give life to babies and raise those babies into adulthood. They are the creators of the future. Mothers are the main parents, breastfeeding the baby day and night, norishing and protecting them, still staying home from work when the child is ill, going into school when there is a problem, listening to the problems, and despite the feminist revolution, in our modern world, this has not changed so much, according to research.

Images and stereotypes abound about the mother, the good mother, the all forsaking mother, the evil stepmother. Throughout all eras images of mothers have been central to culture. In greek mythology, look at the protrayal of Electra the mother. But we also have the good pure mother in Mary. Then we have the mother as the instiller of all morality in her children, such as in the Victorian period. After that comes Freud and his ideas on mothers. In more contemporary times we have supermums. Mums can do everything, keep a spotless home, have a career, raise children and be happy. If you think about it there is a whole range of damaging images. Look at some proverbs, which say “God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.”
― David C. Gross, Dictionary of 1000 Jewish Proverbs
What sort of portrayal is this of women, what sort of responsibilities?

So back again to my story, apart from changing me completely in the direction of my life, my thoughts and so on, motherhood was probably path that I had to go on to learn so many things. Probably this is the universe’s intention in making us mothers, that we have things to learn (so does that mean that those who don’t reproduce are already close to enlightenment?). What have I learnt, or started learning, since becoming a mother? This might include many things, but definitely learning to become selfless in my actions, becoming empathetic, learning to communicate in so many ways, and definitely learning to surrender control. There are probably more things but these are the ones that come to mind now. Motherhood has taught me probably more than I have learnt in the rest of my life! And all of it has been great, albeit quite challenging and gruelling but worth every moment. Thank you to my mother and her mother and every mother before them.

Next Sunday is Mother’s day. This day has to be one of the most important days for the recognition of people whose work goes mostly underappreciated and under-recognised. A job which is definitely much harder than any other; always on call, always challenged by new issues, always having to seek new solutions, although always loved and always giving unconditional love. What will you do for your mother this mother’s day? Breakfast in bed? Send a card, message or ring to say that you love her? A foot or hand massage? A thoughtful present? Or just spend some time with her?

We are born of love; Love is our mother.

Rumi

via Mother Quotes – BrainyQuote.

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