Friday, January 8, 2010

The Things They Don't Tell You About Motherhood...

Motherhood is one of life's greatest adventures.  It changes you.  It challenges you.  It completely breaks you down.  It makes you stronger.  It will simutaneously make you lose your sense of self...and yet complete you.  It is not for the weak...yet you will not realize how strong you really are until you look back on it.

Starting in pregnancy, your body becomes alien to you.  It is no longer your own.  You marvel and wonder about the little life growing inside.  Once the baby is out...although you have been waiting to have your body back, the realization will never really be your's again.  Not in the same way.  Learning to accept and love this new body is difficult.  Is it worth it?  Of course.  Do you ever really feel the same?  No.  And while this stretches you....pains you....overwhelms you...and utilizes so much of your strength and endurance for a good part of a still does not earn you the right to be called a "mom."  This was something I learned back when I still had my body.  My body was mine...but my heart belonged to the two children that came into my life unexpectedly.   

You come to find out that the trials and tribulations, the joy and the amazement...the growth and the change that consume your life thereafter...these are the things that begin to define you.  Or you choose to react and respond to the events in your life...this is truly what makes you a "mom."  And you will know the moment...when it hits you.  It could be a simple as a little girl looking into your eyes and for the first time calling you "mom"...even though you only came into her life a short time ago.  It could be the first time your baby gets hurt...and your heart drops as you clutch him tight.  Or it could be in the moment that you feel like you have failed...when you are so frustrated that you feel like giving up, but realize you never could.  That as angry as you are, as upset and heartbroken as you know that it is only because you love them so much it tears you up inside.  These are the moments that you feel helpless...and then later realize you were stronger than you thought. 

They don't tell you that sometimes you become restless.  Your prior hopes and dreams have been put on hold, and you begin to wonder, as you slowly lose your old sense of self...will they ever come true?  Or are they things that you must put away, like the doll your aunt made for you, and your 7th grade diary...memories of your past?  Just as your body is no longer the same...your goals have changed, too.  Sometimes...this makes you sad.  Mostly it makes you realize how you have matured...and that the things that are important now are not things.  But, you still have those moments of driving to the store (late at night so that you can actually go without children) and finding yourself singing the lyrics to "What's Going On" by the 4 Non Blondes and wondering what kind of life you would live if it wasn't completely consumed by children.  And then you wonder how sad and lonely you will be when they have all moved out.

I'm not happy with my body; I'm not sure I will ever come to terms with that.  I don't regret it for one moment, though.  Even when my 3-year-old sees a commercial for tummy-flattening pants and tells me she wants some...for me.  I'm not sure how motherhood is defining me...I still have many years to change and grow.  I just hope that I will be the definition of someone who has lived and loved...and made a difference.  I hope I am not defined by my my muffin-top, or gray hair...but by the moments of strength...the laughter...and the love that I hope they know and feel.  Especially because the muffin-top isn't going anywhere anytime soon, and my hair will probably be completely gray before my twins turn two.  I will cry many more times as the older children make it through their teen years, wondering if I will make it through them myself. 

Children have a funny way of draining the life out of you....and then making you feel alive.  I heard a quote once, and I feel it pretty much sums up motherhood: "Kids are like sponges. They suck the life and energy out of you, but squeeze them and you get it back".  Just don't ever forget to squeeze them....and squeeze them often.


  1. Mo, this is perfect - so true! You brought tears to my eyes.

  2. This is the most profound look at motherhood I have ever read. It leaves me in awe. So incredibly true. Never stop writing, Maureen.

  3. Thank you, I appreciate your comments! :)