Welcome to the 16th edition of the #beingamother project. This week sees Beth, from Betty and the Bumps take the floor for this issue. I absolutely love Beth’s very poetic take on what being a mother means to her…but you don’t need to hear more on that from me – far better to read it in her very own words here…
I don’t think you can really, truly understand what it is to be a mother, until you are one yourself.
I’ve spent a lot of time, over on my own blog, trying to make sense of motherhood and trying to convey all that is good – and bad – about this new and bewildering experience. After nearly two years I have still never come close to explaining it, in my own words, but I have found that there are many others out there who can do the job for me.
I possibly use this quote, from Elizabeth Stone, too often, but I don’t think I’ve ever read anything that conveys more wholly the profundity of the parenting experience.
“Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
I have said many times that I felt that I myself was reborn when Gwenn came into the world. I’m not saying that anything that came before ceased to matter, but I have never felt as whole as a person as I do now. But the downside of this is that – as suggested by Professor Stone – whenever I am not with Gwenn, I feel as if a very important part of me is missing.
I originally studied French at university and the verb “to miss” is “manquer a”. When a French-speaking person says “I miss you” they say “Tu me manques”, which means:
“You are missing from me”.
Don’t you think that way of expressing “to miss” encapsulates what it is to truly miss someone? When I’m at work, or when Gwenn is at nursery, or Andrew and I are having a rare night at the pictures, do I miss her? Not for the whole time, no. But do I feel as if part of my very being is missing? Absolutely.
For me, part of being a mother is to accept that I am, on the one hand, whole but at the same time destined never to feel whole again. That probably makes no sense whatsoever, but after nearly 28 months of trying to get my head around being a mum, it’s still the best I can come up with! I wrote this in my Mother’s Day letter to Gwenn, which hopefully conveys my point more eloquently:
“Physically we are no longer one, but … my heart now resides in your body so how could I bear to be apart from that which keeps me alive?”
And that is what motherhood means to me.
To find out more about the #beingamother project, and how you can take part, read on here.