I was one of those women who really had no clue before I had children. I wasn’t one of those woman who had strong opinions about the right and wrong ways to mother children. I just thought you have a child and then move on with your life. I wasn’t prepared for how much becoming a mother would change me. I really had no clue, which is ironic considering I ended a major relationship with a man I thought I was going to marry all because he said he didn’t want children.
My picture of motherhood was that I would have a baby and then resume my life. That I would be able to take my baby all sorts of places, much as I take my purse or backpack places. Once at my destination, I would lay my baby down and it would be there, quietly, peacefully, contentedly waiting in the background of my life.
Of course it didn’t work out like that, not a bit.
The big picture is that becoming a mother turned my world upside down and inside out. Mostly in great ways, but not all great too.
Some early surprises: I knew I would have a girl first. After all I was a women’s study major in college and had all sorts of fantasies about raising girl children into strong women. When my son arrived on the scene, it was a shock. I didn’t have any clue as to my baby’s sex before his birth. And it was a good thing I gave birth in a birth house in Vienna, Austria (another blog on that) at which the baby never leaves the mother’s side. Otherwise I was have sworn that this baby boy couldn’t have been mine, after all I was having a girl.
This child came out ready for his close-up; it turned out that he was not like a purse or a back-pack—at least not any I had ever owned. He was not willing and able to sit (or lie) contentedly in the background of my life. He needed constant holding. In fact the only time that child seemed to sleep his first five years were either in my arms, or tucked up next to me.
This child, my son, who was born on a hot summer day in Vienna Austria to a woman who had no clue, opened up my heart to a brand new adventure: me as a mother. I was clueless and while it felt all new and a bit strange (some of which was due to giving birth in a foreign country in another language) it also felt surprising familiar—as if this was what I had been waiting for, for so long.
Mothering a baby was a new activity for me. Of course I had done the requisite babysitting as a teenager and my father’s second wife had just given birth to her first child, my half-sister just a few years ago (also fodder for another blog post). I had been mothering friends and some family members before that, but it wasn’t until my son was born that I started my in-depth mothering adventure. Now, looking back 23 years later, I recognize his birth as a new beginning not only for him as a human, but also for me as a mother to him (later his sister) and even myself as a woman.
I had little real training and wasn’t prepared for how much my heart would open to this baby, who never slept or wanted to leave my side. His strong need for me, and what I offered was just what I needed: mothering by the seat of my pants, or should I say in the depth of my heart.
As a blogger, I enjoy sharing my ideas and thoughts with people, and I get a special thrill when someone leaves a comment. When you share my posts on social media sites, I jump up and down doing a happy dance. So thank you!