09 September 2010
Lying beside my little son in his bunk bed last night, gazing at his sweet small face, I felt such a wave of love I almost drowned.
He is my third child. My third baby. Precious and unique. Special. I love him with all my heart.
I remember my anxiety when I became pregnant with baby number two. Was it possible to love another child as much as I loved my first? Would I now have to split my love between the two? Would there be enough to go round?
I needn't have worried. What I didn't know then is this... Mother-love is not finite like a pie.
If mother-love was a pie, there'd be a limited supply to cut up and share between children. The more kids you had the further your limited supply would have to stretch and therefore the smaller each child's portion.
Having a child transforms you instantly, to something other than what you were before. It opens up an unknown world. It's like stepping Through the Looking Glass, Alice.
As Morpheus said in The Matrix: "The Red pill or the Blue pill? You take the Red Pill and go through the Looking Glass... and find out how deep the Rabbit Hole goes..."
We mothers have taken the Red Pill. For us everything changed in that instant our child entered the world. In the second that double blue line showed up on the stick (or however it is that we came to be mothers) we are changed forever.
As my friend Sammy puts it so eloquently: "A baby is born and a piece of my heart starts living and breathing outside my body ..."
Isn't it amazing what mothers can do? We may be sick ourselves, but we still manage to care for our children, as my lovely friend Kristy recently commented: "I remember vomiting while at the same time holding a bowl for a not-yet-two year old to vomit into. Crazy..."
Or some kid picks on our little guy, and we turn into a fierce Lioness going into bat for our kid and making sure a bully is stopped, like my friend Alicia did recently.
Mothering changes the way we see the world. Through the other side of the Looking Glass we are alert to dangers we never knew were there, sensitised to the loss and pain of others, horrified and uncomprehending how anyone could ever hurt a child. The TV News becomes almost too painful to watch.
Mothering links us together with others who share our experiences. Our pain and struggles become our passports to empathy. Our fears for our childrens well-being, our anxiety over how well we are doing and our guilt at our percieved failings are shared with women the world over.
There is no Rule Book, no Instruction Manual, no Owners Guide handed out with a newborn baby. We are all fumbling in the dark, trying our best and hoping our best is good enough.
Our job description is immense and varied. I found this here:
In the past week I have not left my house once, as I spent every waking minute caring for my sick vomit-stricken children. And I would have gone crazy were it not for you, my online community of fellow-mothers. As the walls closed in on me, between pukes, I could escape here. And not feel isolated or alone. I had your messages of encouragement and the outlet of writing about it all, to stop me from going completely nuts.
We need each other.
We all do things differently, come up with different things that work for us. Some are BabyWise, others swear by the Baby Whisperer. SuperNanny vs. The Toddler Tamer. Baby wearing, breast-feeding, cloth-diapering eco-mums vs. disposable nappy formula feeding Phil & Ted-pushing yummy mummies.
But in the end we are our babies' mamas, ready to become lionesses at the first sign of danger, scoping out the area for trouble. And needing each other for support, for encouragement, for sisterhood and community.
So thankyou, my bloggy friends. The vomiting has not ended yet, but I know it has to sometime. And in the meantime I can visit you here, even if I don't get to leave my house, or put on makeup or wash my hair...
At least I have you. My Mother Sisters.
P.S. Check out this great article in a Post by Dee. So True. So Funny. (So the one I was looking for but didn't find it til I saw it on Dee's blog)
* The Well and the Pie is not my own analogy. I borrowed it from a preacher. He was using it to explain something else, but I think it fits here too.