April 15, 2012

On Being a Mother

I couldn't wait to be a mother. Last year at this time I thought I would die with anticipation. I wanted to begin my new life as a stay-at-home mom. I wanted to see and take care of my baby. Amid all the excitement and anxiousness I felt about my upcoming role, I naturally was filled with questions. "What will it really be like being a mom?" "Exactly how tiring is it going to be?" "What will contractions feel like?" And the one that weighed the most heavily, "What if I don't love my baby the way I'm supposed to?" That, above all, was my greatest fear.
It's funny what happens when that child comes out of you though. I couldn't possibly help myself from loving her. Some great, God-given change of heart occurs, and I believe that no one woman could possibly be the same after giving birth to their own child. The love you feel is miraculous.
I love being a mother. Surprisingly though, the things about motherhood I expected to love, aren't necessarily the things that fuel me each day. 
I expected to adore being at home, all day every day. While I am more of a home body than I am an adventurer, sometimes being at home all day every day is boring. On Friday I was thrilled when the opportunity came to go to the FedEx store for heavens sake. Sometimes it's frustrating to work around naps and bedtimes and to feel so tied to your home, where everything is easier for baby.
I also expected to revel in my new role as "mother", as if some sweeping metamorphosis would rush over me and I would suddenly become this glorified version of myself. That didn't happen.
What did happen though was something I couldn't have predicted since I had never had a child of my own before. The love and concern and protection I felt for this baby were overwhelming. I sank into my role as "mother" because of my love for Ellie, not because something incredible had happened to me. Motherhood, I found, has a lot more to do with your child than it has to do with you. Motherhood is wonderful because of your baby. Motherhood is a joy because of her. 
That one silly worry I had before Ellie came to me- that for some reason or another I wouldn't love her- is the furthest thing from the reality of what actually occurred. I love being a mom because of my child. I haven't become the perfect version of myself because I had a baby, but I have found that not much is greater than the love I have for Ellie. That is why motherhood is so great. That is why I'm excited to be a mother again and again and again.

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