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A Mother's Reflection
I never wanted to be a mother. I was always so sure that I never wanted children. To me, children were these little beings that I was happy to engage with for a few minutes and then hand them back to their parents as soon as they started to become remotely difficult. Never ask me to help wipe the saliva from a child's face because I would hold the tissue by its corner in between the tips of my thumb and first finger. And just forget about asking me to change a diaper - if I can't even bear to wipe saliva from a child's face, how could I possibly wipe poop off a baby's bottom?
And then I got pregnant. It was an accident. I was so sure I didn't want the baby. If I was going to be forced to keep the baby, you could certain I was going to be one of those absent mothers who are always too busy to be around. Having a baby meant turning my world upside-down. I loved my carefree, responsibility-free world where I could do anything I wanted, when I wanted and not worry about the consequences. My time was my own and I could be as selfish as I wanted with it. Having a baby was going to change all that and I didn't like it one bit.
It seemed certain that the baby and I were not cut out to be together - until I saw the little black dot on the ultrasound. Something inside me started to change. It began so imperceptibly that I didn't even know it was happening at the time. The black dot grew into a little teddy bear. Suddenly I was a bag of emotions. Anything about children would bring tears to my eyes. I was changing and I couldn't stop it. No matter how much I wanted to harden my heart to this new little person in my life, I just couldn't. He crept into my life so surreptitiously that I was completely disarmed of all my hostility towards the idea of having children before I was even aware of what was happening.
Suddenly, I was reading books to learn how to look after a baby, and researching what were the best things to do to facilitate a child's development. All my plans to pan my baby off to someone else to care for went out the door. I became intensely jealous of anyone who held my baby for too long. I wanted to be the one to do everything for my baby and I wanted it all to be "just right". I nursed my baby and carried him everywhere. I got annoyed with anyone who suggested I should let him cry-it-out or bottle feed him with formula. I even had my arms elbow-deep in bath water filled with poop and I wasn't phased by it.
Gone were the days where I would spend the entire weekend rock climbing. Gone were the days when all that mattered to me was climbing that corporate ladder. Gone were the days when my life was all about me. I couldn't imagine being apart from my son for more than a day. Just a couple of hours away from him and I would miss him as if I hadn't seen him in weeks.
I look at myself now and I realise I have turned into someone completely different. Not only has my whole life changed but my priorities have changed. When I look at the person I was before, I see someone who was reckless, selfish, self-absorbed and irresponsible. I strongly feel that becoming a mother has made me a better person. And when I look at my life now, I cannot imagine that once upon a time, I didn't want children.