Motherhood, A Nurse's Perspective
Mothering, an awesome experience
I have been a mother now since 1979. Have I changed through my mothering? I think so. At least I think I have become a more patient and giving person. Becoming a mother is truly learning to " live with your heart outside your body". I don't think anyone can only understand that feeling from carry a child, feel it grow within you, kick you in the kidney, commune with you in the early hours of the morning, and finally give birth to him or her or both as some of us may have done. I have fostered children and felt that same close bond as I fell in love with the children. When it came time for them to go to their permanent home, depending on how long I had mothered them my heart was broken for a time. I still have yearnings or fears that I should have fought for custody or not listened to people that told me not to adopt because I was too sick. I worry are those little ones that were once mine okay now.
Once that little warm bundle is placed in your arms something within you changes in an instant be it through adoption, fostering or biological. It's as if God were standing over you and suddenly you are covered in a veil of overwhelming joy, love, happiness and fear. I am confident adoptive mother's are given this gift or maybe burden also.
It is the single most life changing moment of my life so far. Have you ever heard the saying "a mother is only as happy as her saddest child?" I would have to say this describes me in every since of the word be it right or wrong , good or bad. I can't change that little thought in my head that is constantly asking me; Are the kids OK? Are they happy? What can I do to make today better for them? How can I pray for them today? Was I attentive enough the last time we were together or talked to them on the phone?
It sometimes makes me turn into a crazy person when I have suddenly upset one of my brood and I replay whatever unknowingly went wrong over and over in my mind and then proceed to drive them crazy trying to make everything OK again.
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The wierd guilt we carry.
There is also a deep need to be fair to each of my offspring. I will over think things I have done, what I have given each one, be it Christmas or birthdays or just for no reason at all and I wonder have I truly been fair with each of them. Sharing an equal amount of myself, of my love, of gifts. It can drive my husband to instant insanity as I play these conversations over in my mind and then to him.
I know some of this comes from being a middle child and having a deep need to be fair and to hold the peace at all cost. This is not always a good thing. Children need to learn that the world is not always fair and that God may walk them down roads they don't want to travel but in the end if they let Him and if their mother lets Him they will be all the wiser for it.
Where does this other, heart outside the body, jump in front of a bus for them, complete insanity come from? Is it God given or instinctive?
I have such a deep longing now that I am a mother of adult children to continue to grow my relationship with each of my three children in real and awesome ways. And I know sometimes they wish they were born motherless, hopefully only for a short time!
I find myself overcompensating by talking too much on the phone to let them know how engaged I am in there lives when really all they want is me to be still and listen. Yes after all these years I still don't have it right.
Sometimes I will try so hard to please that I allow exhaustion to set in and get the best of me. When this happens I find I am pleasing no one and hurting myself.
I find myself staying up too late at night to finish little projects for them especially over the holidays. Don't even get me started on Christmas morning! Somehow i have this very real need to make it a magical moment for each of them no matter what the costs. And then when something goes wrong my poor hubby helps me realize it does not have to be perfect for them to feel it is magical.
Guilt often gets in the way of my mothering . It even started before my first born way delivered. Was the noise in the stadium too loud for her developing ears, yes even in the womb? Was she born 3 weeks early because I had a piece of cake and a glass of milk the night before she was born instead of a real meal? Why did I have a deep need to have a natural childbirth? Did I not have enough milk for my twins because I did not drink enough water or rest enough. And then the guilt of letting my 2 year old cry at nap time because my very pregnant body, carrying twins at the time, could no longer function after one in the afternoon. Sometimes we would both end up in tears.
When I developed lupus and I found myself no longer being super mom but bedridden mom did they loose there self esteem along the way as Dad stepped in so many times. Did they resent me even though on an adult level they now understand why I was so tired and sick.
Did they grow into the person they wanted to be when i could not be right there by there side cheering them on all through middle school or maybe just maybe they are stronger because of my illness. I guess only God knows the answer to all these questions and for now I need to teach them to rest in His arms as should I.
What is it about a women that keeps our minds rolling deep into the night thinking about these awesome people God has created and entrusted into our care temporarily. Yes I am a mother ,maybe a little paranoid but a mother none the less. Maybe you other mother's can share with me how crazy I am! My mother -in -law seems to handle this with such ease after giving birth to 8 children. I have to wonder was it her birth order, mid western upbringing or simply a difference in personality. Maybe she hides it from us all well.I wonder if my own mother felt these feelings?
For now I will continue to pray and be there for them and try to be a little less neurotic about my fears and a little easier on myself with my guilt as I continue to watch them grow into Godly young men and women.
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