There is magic in becoming. I will never forget driving home from the hospital with my daughter. Cars have “new car smell” and babies…ahhh babies….have that incredible newborn smell that peaks in its headiness right at the tippy top of their little heads. I swear I could smell her newborn smell from the front seat and suddenly it hit me like soccer ball to the stomach. I was a MOM. A mother. A living, breathing, person’s mother. I knew in that moment in the way that all life-changing things are known, that more than just my sleep schedule and Saturday afternoons were different. I was different.
There are tangible ways that we change after giving birth. If you have experienced postpartum depression or anxiety then you may have experienced the birth of an anxious you, or a sad you, or a constantly worried you, where there may not have been before. Or maybe your postpartum experience has been pretty normal but you discovered that becoming a mother made you more or less organized, more poetic, less carefree, more adept at thriving in chaos, etc. One of my girlfriends discovered that having babies gave her a life perspective that intensely mellowed her out. She experienced life to be much more enjoyable, fun, and free after her son was born. However you have or will experience a metamorphosis postpartum is good and to be embraced! It’s all a part of becoming the mother you are meant to be.
I also think that there is a significant spiritual shift that happens within a mother at the birth of each child. And I think the reason for that change is held within the person of her baby. I don’t think we can carry and birth a child without being touched by his or her soul. It’s not a quantifiable kind of change where you can look at your child and say “you’re quiet and inquisitive by nature and birthing you has made me so”. While that may have been your experience, what I’m talking about goes beyond that. (By the way, this is absolutely true for adoptive mothers as well!) What I can only put the tip of my pinky finger on because the presence of it is so elusive is that the very core of our being shifts in a primal, visceral way that marks us, scars us in a way that only those closest to us can see. We become something that can only be described as “Mother”. And even though it would seem as though that’s not really saying anything, it actually says everything. It’s the rage that bubbles up when someone threatens your baby. It’s the way that you know how your son needs to be touched in order to fall asleep, or the song to sing when your daughter is about to lose her cool. It’s the magic you hold in your scent and in the rise and fall of your chest that is enough to send your newborn babe into sweet dreams. When you become Mother you become a new you. A true and pure you. Nuanced with each birth and with each child that you welcome in as yours.
On the really hard days, this is what I go back to. When I question who I really am and what I’m doing, if I’m doing it right or if my mothering needs to take an entire 180…I return to my becoming. And I embrace the freedom that comes with knowing those two souls were chosen as mine to raise. When they became mine, I became theirs. Nothing undoes that bond. Nothing can make me not their mother. I’m writing that thought on my heart tonight while I sleep next to a teething baby boy in the midst of a growth spurt.
Take heart, dear ones. ~ Heather