There’s this romanticized view of motherhood usually encountered around this time of the year. Anecdotes about pregnancy jitters, diaper foul-ups, bleeps and blunders, luminous stories of awkward fathering and passionate grandparents, convert motherhood into the affair that Hallmark cards are made of and rightfully so, because they are components of the experience.
But there is also another side to this parenting act that if you’ve ever done a nightshift in the hospital asthma bay, helplessly wishing that you could breathe for your little one who is strung up to some machine, quietly borrowed money to make Christmas happen for the little ones, or had to heal personal heartbreak while wearing your game face so your young one wouldn’t know that mummy just wants to break down and cry, you’d know that Hallmark has left some bases uncovered.
Motherhood is as much a personal experience as it is a sisterhood with an initiation that reinforces the fact that who feels it, knows.
When you bring a child into this world, the annoying cries of someone else’s youth now silently become of concern to you, because the last time your daughter cried like that she had something not nice and you hope the crying child isn’t suffering. You become aware of how resilient you are when you get on the bus with children and baggage in tow and no one offers you a hand or a seat, so you sit or stand in the knowledge that you will get where you are going by the grace of God.
If you’ve never understood words like precious and miracle, they now resonate with you along with fragile and unconditional, especially if you’ve ever miscarried, God forbid more than once, and now, after a huge chunk of doctor-prescribed bed-rest and long pleading sessions with the Creator, you’ve managed to finally bring a child into this world. Societal pressures will also weigh in. Brazen well-wishers might let you know that you should have one more child because “you can’t stand on one leg”. But God forbid you’ve gone over the census-accepted 2.5 children and have five or six with another on the way, the eyebrows start to raise and the judgment comes from folks who, in other conversations, readily brag that their grandmother had twelve or that they are one of eight.
When you are a mother, you will make mistakes. You will have to make hard judgment calls and stand by your decisions. You won’t always be popular with your children, your own parents, some of the teachers, the baby daddy and/or their other baby mothers. But such is life. Such are the cards that you are dealt. Yet every minute of the day a new mother is initiated or an existing mother renews her commitments to the task and new life emerges into this world.
There will be Hallmark moments but most of the day it’s grit and duty, crap challenges, hopes, dreams and worries all spun into a portion of unconditional love that makes us mothers get up yet another day and do it and all again for these sparkling little miracles we have given life to.
Like with lotto tickets, we have no clue as to the final outcome of our children lives. Some of them will be jackpots, others duds, but we still commit to loving them deeply even though they are made from our flesh and our blood, if not our spirit. If we are wise enough, we realize that children give us the ability to explore the abyssal depths of our hearts and soar to new heights. To sample a life and a love that only they can take us to. Creating a joy that only they can make manifest as we as mothers trod through hard spaces and iffy circumstances. Inevitably, as we work to make them incredible, they wind up making us remarkable.