A few weeks ago, I attended a baby shower for my dear friend’s daughter-in-law. Prior to the baby shower, she requested for the guest to write some words of wisdom for this new mom-to-be. I am no expert at parenting but still, here were my words of wisdom.
“The moment a baby is born, the mother is also born.
She never existed before.
The woman existed but the mother, never.
A mother is something absolutely new.” Rajneesh
I never planned to have children but somehow God chose me to be a mother to three wonderful children – a gift I could not have possibly imagined that would bring me so much joy, tears, love, pain, anxiety… that turned my predictable life upside down as I learnt how to be a mother and to parent those young ones entrusted to my care. I don’t know if anyone can prepare a mom-to-be for this moment when she gives birth to a new life and in a few months, you will know what I mean.
As a young mom, I tried hard to get my lifestyle before motherhood back until one day, I realized that there was nothing to go back to. My children were my life. At that moment, I decided to embrace all that motherhood dished out to me – and I can tell you, that lots of it is pleasant but some of it is not. But being a mother is a gift because you get to discover a new dimension to yourself, which you could not have possibly known about before you become a mother.
There will be days when the baby is a total bundle of joy and days when you wish so much you could have some more sleep or have just a simple quiet moment to yourself. On days like this, when you need just a moment, you need to call your best friend, your partner, your mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, neighbour, grandparents…. whoever is in your circle of love. Know always that there are good people around you to support you but you too must also give them the opportunity to be part of your child’s life.
I learnt along my journey that it is very important to keep our children grounded in real values and to expose them to the people who matter dearly to us and who are good role models for them. Apart from their accountability to us, they also need to be accountable to other people in our lives and in the society as large. I quickly learnt too that I needed to role model what I taught because even without words, their mindful eyes and ears absorb all that is going on around them. That in itself still did not prevent me from making mistakes but letting them see my own vulnerability as a person was just as important to the their growing minds. I have learnt that when blood family is absent, we need to create family around us, with good reliable people. This is how we create a community.
I learnt that the best gift I could give to my children is that of myself and what I have. Not what I do not have. My presence. My time. My love. My strengths. My weaknesses. My joys. My life lessons. My faith. As they grew up, I constantly asked myself, “What gift do I want to leave imprinted on the hearts on my children?” My answer was “The gift of faith.”
I want them to have the faith that while there is fate and destiny or faith in religion or God, having faith in themselves is above everything else. I want them to have faith that all things are possible; that they can achieve their dreams; that even in their darkest moments, they will have the faith that God is watching over them and dark moments are all part of life as equal as light moments. I want them to always know that their power house is really in their mind and their ability to overcome obstacles, without being derailed by their negative experiences of life. This caused me to make sure that they are rooted in prayer and had a strong, firm foundation of love around them as they formed their own personalities. I made sure that they saw the beauty and possibilities in life and their minds were fed with all that is positive while helping them understand that we are all vulnerable to the unfortunate circumstances in life.
I also learnt that spending time together and sharing meals bond a family more than anything else. Children do not need us to buy them expensive gifts. They need us to play with them, have conversations – just to be there whether we are washing dishes together or going to the movie theatre.
As you embark on this new journey of motherhood, I would like to wish you an amazing journey of re-discovering yourself through the eyes of your baby as you also discover him/her. May you and your partner have a lifetime of loving memories and may this baby bring much joy and happiness to your life.