Motherhood…now that’s a heavy topic. As mothers we are to know all, do all, and be all. Of all the female roles, I have loved motherhood the best. Even if I wasn’t the best mother, I just loved being a mother. As a little girl I didn’t dream about when I would have my own children as other little girls do. I don’t know that I gave it much thought but it has impacted me more than anything else that has happened in my life.
I can remember when my daughter was put in my arms for the first time. I won’t say that I remember it like yesterday, but I remember all the details quite vividly. I had delivered her in the late evening. In those days, babies were swept off to the nursery and they were brought to you at feeding times only. Since I had lost a baby before she was born, I was anxious and apprehensive to hold her. I didn’t believe it would be real until I could hold her in my arms. The nurse told me if I was awake for the 5:00 a.m. feeding, I could have her at that time. I’m sure she thought I would be too tired after having been in labor for so long. But, I stayed awake all night so I wouldn’t miss that opportunity.
When she was placed in my arms, it truly was a magical moment. I stared at this little face that looked like me. I unwrapped her and examined every finger and toe. I did the same thing several years later when my son was born. I know it sounds trite, but babies are miraculous. I pretty much thought that most women felt that way when given their child for the first time…even if they adopted their children.
However, reality star and singer, Tamar Braxton, recently announced that she didn’t connect with her son when he was first born. It wasn’t as if she was depressed…she said she just felt unattached to him. That did change once her baby finally got the knack of breast feeding and they eventually bonded. But, the ‘being a mother’ didn’t come to her immediately. Mental health experts like psychologist Stacy Kaiser say Braxton’s experience is common. “The research says that 20 to 30 percent of moms feel this way. And I actually think it’s higher. It’s just that most moms are too embarrassed to admit it,” Kaiser said. TWENTY TO THIRTY PERCENT? Who knew?
How sad is this that mothers feel isolated and ashamed to discuss their feelings…even though they are apparently not that unique. We have become more aware of those mothers who suffer from postpartum depression, but how many of us have ever heard of a mother who just didn’t immediate connect with her child? This just reminds me that we all struggle with motherhood and feeling that we are never adequate. I saw the following cartoon on Pinterest and it made me laugh.
Something tells me that these moms who are doing everything, are actually barely hanging on. And, they are probably stressing out about dropping all the balls they are juggling.
As much as I loved being a mom, that doesn’t mean I was without my moments of complete maternal failure. I’m ashamed to admit that I was a ‘screamer. I wasn’t the mom who calmly expressed my displeasure when my children didn’t do what I wanted then to do. I just yelled.
In addition, after her father and I divorced, my daughter repeatedly told me that she wanted to go live with him…usually when I didn’t give her what she wanted. However, when she reached those difficult teen years, I confess I was waiting for her to express that desire because I was going to help her pack! As much as I loved her, i was ready to throw up my hands in despair and send her on her way. She must have sensed that…because she never made that request again.
I’m sure most moms (and dads) have had it with their children at one time or another. We may love our children, but sometimes we just don’t like them much. That is a hard realization when you aren’t liking your child. Of course, it usually doesn’t last long. And luckily, it probably isn’t as often as your child doesn’t like you. That doesn’t last long either. When my daughter had her first child, she told me that she finally ‘got me’. It took her becoming a mother to really understand me being a mother.
I am a Christian woman and there is a Bible verse I remind myself when I’m feeling too sanctimonious or judgmental. Romans 3:23 says ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’. As Christians, we aren’t perfect, not do we (usually) think we are. We are just forgiven. There are no perfect mothers. I think this verse could be tweaked slightly if we start looking down our nose if someone isn’t mothering up to our standards. How about, “for all have failed and fall short of the perfection of motherhood”?