It’s been almost a year. Almost a year since our world turned upside down. Almost a year since my world shattered into pieces and I became that most misunderstood of creatures. Almost a year since I became a mother, a mummy, a mum. I read this quote on the excellent Adele’s blog this week and it’s been haunting me ever since.
Dominique Sakoilsky writes:
“But, within motherhood we will have the delight of exploring a new aspect of ourselves, and we cannot fathom what that might feel like until we are there, and even then it will continue to change and evolve. The only thing we can do, therefore, is to ready ourselves as best we can to be able to embrace these changes and allow ourselves the space and freedom to find ourselves where we enter motherhood with this child. Every child is unique and each can teach us new things about ourselves as women, as mothers, as parents.”
What confuses me most is the positive nature of this quote, putting the word ‘delight’ together with motherhood is a whole new world to think about. I’ve realised my only thoughts about this landscape so far have been ones that equate it with bombs going off, shattered pieces to be put together and it’s been fairly doom and gloom. Whilst that doesn’t surprise me, given my propensity to gloom, it does sadden me a bit. Yes a bomb did go off a year ago, yes my world shattered but there is more to the picture than that. I think this quote helps me think that the new landscape created isn’t one of post apocalyptic grimness. Bombs generally leave shattered grey shards all over the place. This bomb has done something quite different.
This quote challenges me to see this new landscape as one of colour and beauty. This quote challenges me to think about the new aspects of myself that have been grown this year. This quote forces me to see that through the shattered pieces of my life there is new healthy growth. There are flowers growing here, there is new grass and lush meadows of wild flowers to be explored. The forest (to borrow my ongoing analogy) isn’t full of broken trees but full of fresh spring growth, the streams are flowing, the sun shines through them. Yes this isn’t a land of ease, it isn’t a land of no pain, the trees might be still gnarled and knotted, there are lands of twisted undergrowth but there is beauty shining through.
I have a beautiful son, he astounds me more and more each day, as he learns to clap, totter about and point at things. He snuggles into my shoulder and pats my back in a way that feels so utterly natural and unsurprising. I’ve struggled this year to fully own becoming a mother, in part because I know it’s not my full identity, I am aware that I have a deeper identity and that it is just a new part of a bigger picture. I also know others would dearly love this title and all the crazy mess it brings, I struggle to know how to rejoice and delight in something I have and be grateful for it without coming across as a smug married mum. I know that it’s not my place to control others reactions to what I have but I do want to be sensitive and kind.
As I reflect on this past year (beware there are a couple of other posts coming up this week on the same theme) reading this quote has opened up the door to me declaring that I do love being sonface’s Mum, I am not an abstract mother, I am a mother to my lovely boy. I can’t explain the weird connection, the way he feels part of me, the strange bonds that tie us together and the oddness that comes when we are apart for a while. I can’t explain the tie that makes me get up when I hear him cry in the middle of the night, I can’t explain what makes me do it time and time again. I can’t explain the random bursts of love, the way I can’t stop looking at his face, the delight at his weirdness, the joy of watching him grow.
There have been times when I have wondered what on earth we were thinking when we had him, times of overwhelming confusion and fear, times of worry and doubt. The transition has not come easy but I am deeply glad, a year in, that we have embraced this path through life. I am a mother, I am learning afresh what that means each day and I’m enjoying that. That feels like a pretty good place to be in.
Your correspondent, slightly weirded out by writing such a positive thought about her life…