Tuesday, August 3, 2010

An Open Heart

Since this is something new for me I think it's important to clarify that this blog isn't meant to be a whinge about motherhood, but a celebration of it too. My first post was a bit negative and I feel the need to back it up with something a little more positive. So here's how I feel about being a Mum. I never had much direction in my twenties and had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. All I knew is that I wanted to be a mother, and now that I've realised that dream my ambition is to be good at it. Motherhood is everything I imagined it would be and more, and for the first time in my life I feel like I'm doing something that I was meant to do.

A family member once told me that motherhood is a "heart opener" and I can't think of a better description for it. There are times when I hold my son and look into his beautiful eyes that I feel a love I never thought possible. I want to take those moments and freeze them for days when I'm cleaning pureed carrot out of my favourite white t-shirt, and other times when I might forget for a moment how lucky I am. I feel a primal sense of protectiveness towards my son and know instinctively that I would do anything for him. This new love has made me more empathic and compassionate and, I think, a better person. I now find joy and excitement in the simplest things. Like the grin on his face when he first sees me in the morning or the sense of pride I feel when he reaches each milestone. One day last week we were eating lunch and J said "Mama" for the first time. I know he doesn't know what it means but they have to be the sweetest 2 syllables ever uttered. He has now worked out what makes us laugh and repeats things through the day and waits for a response. Our junior comedian is so cute we can't help but laugh. Yes, my heart is definitely so open and full of love I feel it might burst some days. Like tonight when I discovered the meaning of unconditional love. J had just finished his dinner and was 3/4 of the way through his bedtime bottle when it all came back up, projectile style. Shocked, I tried to catch it and ended up wearing most of it. This has never happened before so I was torn between revulsion ("yuck I'm covered in vomit") and distress ("what's wrong with my little boy?"). J was unaffected and so excited by the prospect of a second bath in the space of an hour that we wondered if he'd done it on purpose. After cleaning myself up and establishing that J was fine, I sat with him on the sofa and attempted the bottle again. I had already planned to write this post and was thinking I was going to have to dig pretty deep at the moment to find the positives when I looked down at J and noticed that he was gazing up at me adoringly. His huge grin made me feel as if I'd passed a secret test; the "proof of unconditional love test". In that moment the drenching I copped was forgotten. I just hope I don't have to take that test again...

On the flip side, this newfound and often overwhelming love and openness has made me worry more and feel hurt more deeply. There are times when I've been left searching for an inner strength I never knew I had. Like in the early days of colic and reflux, when we were left feeling completely helpless as our son screamed day and night for no apparent reason. When tragedy struck close to home recently I remember talking to my husband about the days when the biggest things we had to worry about was whether or not we could afford a holiday, or what movie we should see on a Friday night. I couldn't believe how silly we were to worry about the things we worried about. We had it good back then, if only we knew it. You've probably worked out by now that I am, by nature, a worrier. It runs in my family, and my grandmother assures me that I'll still be worrying about my children when I'm 85 and incontinent. The worrying might keep me awake at night but it means I appreciate and value what I have all the more. So bear this in mind when I'm complaining about sleep deprivation, jackhammers and projectile vomit, and I promise to write about the good times as well.

1 comment:

  1. I am new to blogs and new to motherhood. I have laughed, cried, felt jealous, exhausted and empathetic all in one read. J is so so lucky to have you as his Mum. And you are so so fab to have the gift of the gab and express all of the emotions of motherdom so well. As far as I am concerned all mothers in a foreign land are saints and need a stiff drink at any time of the day they feel fit....I await your next installment and hope young J calls it quit on his projectile vom voms.