This Sunday we celebrate Mother’s Day. It’s the day when the world celebrates motherhood in all its glory; Mother’s Day cards and bouquets are flown around the globe honouring the first human being we bonded with upon entering this life. But what does it mean to be a mother? What does it take in the dawn of the third millennium to give birth, raise and nurture another human being? It seems we are more crucial to the well-being of our children than ever before… But oh, how we struggle! From the moment we find ourselves pregnant, the roller-coaster of life as a mother begins…
First comes the anxiety… “Congratulations! You’re pregnant” and within the next five minutes, your jubilation turns to trepidation. Yes, you’re happy you’re pregnant, euphoric actually, but for the next nine months fear eats away at your sub-conscious and doggedly turns your every waking hour into a mini version of anxiety hell. Will the baby be ok? Will you be a good mother? Will you cope? And then there’s the actual physical changes happening to your body to contend with.
But at last… The baby is here! It is one of the weirdest and most intense sensations you’ll ever experience in your life and setting eyes on your own child for the first time ever, you know for sure that ‘Love at first sight’ really and truly exists. Despite the excruciating pain of childbirth, the first blurred few days, nothing can ever come close to the overwhelming joy of holding your newborn baby for the first time. This little person is set to take over your life – and take over it will!
And in what seems like a blink of an eye, there’s the terrible twos phase to contend with… Yes, they are now toddling their way into this new, big, wide world that they’re just becoming aware of, but it is also at this time that your child actually thinks you’re brilliant. You are the be-all and end-all of his or her life, you are the one they hanker for to kiss their pains and fears away. Mummy is all that they aspire to… enjoy the ride, for it won’t last forever! Soon enough, as his or her world expands, you won’t always be the one they come running to when some crisis or other (real or imaginary) hits.
Soon enough the journey of discovery begins… Oh, so there are other people out there, other people besides mummy and daddy and perhaps little or big brother or sister. And then before you can say ‘Jack Robinson’, the trials and tribulations of the school years are upon you, which in themselves are a huge force to be reckoned with, for both you and your child. As children begin the journey of life, you sadly find you are slowly and surely becoming redundant; a slow and at times painful process all mothers must contend with.
Time to fly the nest… You are no longer treated to unstinting adulation. It is the natural course of life; as children grow into young adulthood, you find you can longer cajole, bribe or even threaten them into what mummy wants or wishes. The sunny child who until a few short years ago thought that mummy was the centre of the universe, morphs into a sulky teenager and mummy transforms into Cruella de Vil, whose too many rules and outdated opinions is making life ‘utterly unbearable’. Teenage angst and insecurities, the discovery of sexuality and the bid for independence do not a smooth mother and child relationship make.
But there’s always calm after the storm… On approaching adulthood, the turbulent teenage years seem like a fading nightmare; the now adult child rediscovers the bond with mummy and once again the lines of communication are opened. Ironically, after years and years of tears and tantrums, this welcome transition usually happens overnight, and the adult child reaches out to you once again.
Mothering a child despite the many stomach lurching bends and hair-raising experiences accompanying the journey, remains the most joyous, rewarding and gratifying experience life can offer… If we had to do it all again? Yes, in a heartbeat! If we’d all had the chance to do it differently? Probably! After all mothers are their own worst critics. So, to mums everywhere, whatever they or others might think of their mothering skills, mothers who have given so much for such little in return, those who have only just started on the road to motherhood and those who have reached their twilight years, those who are still with us and those who are only alive in their children’s memories… A Happy Mother’s Day on this day and always!