Wednesday, March 13, 2013


I read this post today one of my friends shared on Facebook.  When I read something that really makes me stop and think, I like to "preserve" it so that maybe I can read it in the future and remember.  The blog seems like a good spot for "saving" these treasures.  This one was just such a sweet truth about the feelings associated with motherhood that I think most if not all mothers share.  I think we can all agree that motherhood definitely "changes" us.  (Is that not the understatement of the year?)

We are sitting at lunch one day when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of “starting a family.”  “We’re taking a survey,” she says half-joking. “Do you think I should have a baby?”

“It will change your life,” I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral.

“I know,” she says, “no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations.” 

But that is not what I meant at all.  I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her.  I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes. 

I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable. 

I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, “What if that had been MY child?”  That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her. 

That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die. 

I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub.  That an urgent call of “Mom!” will cause her to drop a soufflé or her best crystal without a moments hesitation. 

I feel that I should warn her that no matter, how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood.  She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting, and she will think of her baby’s sweet smell.  She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home just to make sure her baby is alright.   

I want my daughter to know that every day decisions will no longer be routine.  That a five year old boy’s desire to go to the men’s room rather than the women’s at McDonald’s will become a major dilemma.  That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom. 

However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother. 

Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself.

That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child.  That she would give herself up in a moment to save her offspring but will also begin to hope for more years, not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs. 

I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor. 

My daughter’s relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks. 

I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child. 

I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic. 

I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving. 

I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike. 

I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time. 

I want her to taste the joy that is so real it actually hurts.

My daughter’s quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes.  “You’ll never regret it,” I finally say.  Then I reached across the table, squeezed my daughter’s hand and offered a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings. 

I am the first to admit that motherhood makes you a special kind of crazy and why we all probably remember a time in our lives when we thought our own mothers were crazy.  Ha!  I am so paranoid about my children's safety all the time.  Stories on the news will make me worry about them and if they are okay.  Letting my oldest son become more independent has definitely been a special challenge for me as I want to shelter and protect him as much as possible.  I guess I understand this mother's desire to "warn" her daughter, but in a way, I guess there is no real way to express all the feelings associated with motherhood to someone who has not yet experienced it.  If we try, we may just terrify those who haven't yet experienced it. How do you explain how so much joy can come from so much pain and how very much it is all worth it?



  1. Amen. And now I'm crying. Thanks for posting this Sherry.

    1. Yep, motherhood makes you crazy hormonal too. :-)

  2. This really touched my heart! I can remember trying to explain to my best friend (whom always said she never wanted kids) what it was like to become a mother. It is certainly something very difficult to explain to someone who hasn't had the experience. I can say that a year later she became a mother by choice! I like to take and teeny tiny amount of credit for that! lol (99.99999999999% goes to the great man above!)

    1. Haha...I think you are due that small .0000000001% credit. Motherhood is definitely an experience that is worth all the pain.

  3. One of my facebook friends posted the same thing this week - it is so sweet! It's so true!

    1. Yep, I figured it had been around, but I just thought it was worth remembering. :-)

  4. I have read this once before and it still makes me smile and get Geary eyed at the same time. but I think my favorite part of you post is acknowledging that " motherhood makes you a special kind of crazy"

  5. I read that on facebook this week too. There are actually several people I want to share it with.....mostly because they are of the insane belief that having a baby is not that big of a deal and they'll just make their kids fit into their life. I know, crazy right?

    1. They are definitely in for an awakening! Ha! People probably look at us and think "they let their kids just take over their lives." Well, guess what, they kind of just do! :-)

  6. Wow, what an amazing story. So glad you shared.



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