Mum

This Mothering Thing

I often wonder when the exact point is when a person becomes a mother. And I don’t mean the ‘having the kid’ part. I mean the internal shift to ‘mothering’. Is there a moment when you suddenly just know instinctively what to do? Do you have to learn how to mother? It’s probably different for everyone, so I can’t claim to know the answer.

What I do know is that I was that woman who never handled babies before they were at least three months old. I never changed another kid’s diaper (and I still haven’t) and I gladly gave them back to their mommies when the tears started coming (and I still do).

And then I had my own kid. I was terrified before she was born, because I had so little experience with babies. What if I couldn’t dress her, because she’d be so little? What if that I sucked at changing diapers or couldn’t bathe her? What if she cried and I couldn’t soothe her? What if I couldn’t feed her? What if she woke up in the middle of the night and I didn’t? What if, what if, what if?!?!

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