I never really imagined myself a mother, or not as I once imagined mothers to be. While compassionate and sensitive to others’ needs, I wasn’t much of a nurturer. And, seeing children didn’t really inspire that thing, that feminine desire to mother, that I thought (and was told) “real” women should have within them.
This truth puzzled me.
To make sense of things, I convinced myself that perhaps by having my own children, things would be different. I would, I imagined, in birthing a child, my own child, have that feeling. I’d become the mother I’d imagined, the “real” woman I imagined.
However, with the birth of my daughter, and two days out of the hospital, I looked in her eyes and still didn’t feel it or that feeling that I thought (and was told) all should feel. I felt something but not what I imagined I should have felt in seeing my own child. And, what I did feel felt forced and superficial. I felt guilty then, but, and by necessity, I continued on acting in the role of mother to my child.
I sang to her. I fed her. I rocked her to sleep. I protected her. I gave her myself in spite of myself. I sacrificed. I did things that didn’t make much sense (at the time) in her best interest.
And, in the process of going through the motions of being a mother, I became a real mother. I loved her freely. I cried for her. I felt her pain. I gave freely because I wanted her to have more of me. I gave without any expectation of something else in return.
It was my experience of becoming, with time, a mother to my daughter that taught me much about what it really means to be a mother.
A mother is made of a woman through her sacrifices made on the behalf of others, her love, her desire to watch and nurture growth in others, her desire to give and expect nothing else tangible in return.
It is not the biological connection that makes one a mother, or the capacity to give birth.
There are, after all, and I believe this as truth, many women who are denied the ability to birth children who are still mothers.
There are also women, women like my paternal grandmother whose children have died before there time who still continue on this earth as mothers, loving, feeding, protecting, and sacrificing for the sake of others.
There are also women, women like my maternal grandmother, who have died and their children lived on who remain mothers, watching and protecting their children from above.
As a mother, I stand united with all these women and all other women on this day for Mothers. I stand with my head bowed, praying that if nothing else, they feel appreciated and loved on this day.
I pray that they know today that their life’s work is not vain but for a greater purpose, soon to be revealed.
I pray that they realize that they are the pillars upon which our society rests.
I pray that they have a blessed Mother’s Day.