On becoming a mother

Sunday, 8 May 2011

While I was pregnant, I had all the time in the world to daydream about my forthcoming new role and responsibility as a mother. Any nerves were taken over by feelings of excitement, anticipation and quiet confidence - I was going to be a good mother. I could feel it.

Now that I am a new mother, there is no more time to ponder. After months of what I thought was preparation - preparing myself mentally, physically, emotionally - I found myself thrown in the deep without a paddle. Motherhood isn't something you can prepare for. It can't be learned from a book. It can only be experienced. I am still so new to this role, and I am trying to keep up on what feels like the hamster wheel that doesn't stop or offer any time out for reflection. I hope I am doing a good job. The naive confidence I had while I was pregnant doesn't live here anymore. Instead, there is anxiety and doubt. But there is also an indescribable amount of love and joy.

I suddenly have a much deeper level of respect for all of the mothers out there, especially my own. It's only now that I fully realise how much my mother loves me - not because she didn't tell me or show me every day - she did. But because I just hadn't experienced that love. That big love. The love a mother has for her child. A love that is beautiful and terrifying at the same time. An all consuming, unconditional, heart wrenching love that I feel in every fiber of my being. And this is a love that didn't need grow or develop over time. It just was. Like it had been there all along and now suddenly you had been given the key to unlock that part of your heart you hadn't even realised was there...

...I will never forget the moment my baby was placed on my chest. The words "What did you have?" echoed around me. I hadn't even asked. I didn't care. They had to remind me to check. "A girl...we had a girl. Our baby girl.." Paddy and I looked at each other, and then at our daughter, and then at each other again, both of us sobbing with total disbelief. We were experiencing something we could never have prepared for, something so profound. It was (and still is) surreal. All I could say was "She's so beautiful, she's so beautiful" over and over again. And her smell... so sweet. Intoxicating. Even now I can still smell that subtle, lingering sweetness of new skin. Her skin. The skin that we made. Her newborn scent fades more every day and I wish I could bottle it and keep it forever. I want to keep her forever. But I know that this time with her is precious, this time of complete dependence. Soon will come the day that I will have to let her be her own person. And it's like I already miss her. I have to remind myself that I didn't have a baby for me. She isn't mine or ours. We have been entrusted with this tiny person, a new soul who will walk her own path. I can only promise to guide her with all the softness, strength and love that I have, as a person and as a mother.

Happy Mothers Day not only to my own beautiful Mother and Mother in Law, but to all the mothers, motherly figures and mothers-to-be out there in the world. How lucky are we?

My mother and I.


  1. I love your blog. And what a beautiful mothers day post. You just never know the enormousness of the love in your heart until you have kids of your own do you? Hope you enjoy your day. Kellie xx
    PS sorry if slightly different versions of this have come through about three times.. Seem to be experiencing some technical problems.

  2. so very lovingly written. Nothing really fully prepares you does it?. A very kind lady said to me, see your child like they are a book you have never read and you dont know what is on the next page. Beautiful happy photos. Hope your day was filled with love.

  3. Such a gorgeous post ... just beautiful!!

  4. What a beautiful post, it's so true that nothing prepares you. I also found myself unprepared for how different each baby is.


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