On Motherhood

There is no greater joy.

There is no greater responsibility.

There is no greater fear.

There is no greater pride.

Motherhood is hard. Done right, it takes everything out of you.

It changes you, pushes and pulls you in to a shape that feels familiar and alien all at the same time.

Having watched my mom and my mother-in-law in action, however, I realize that each mother gets to make the role their own. So despite the fact that I regularly have no idea what the hell I’m doing, I’ve embraced it and done my best.

That said, I don’t always recognize myself as a mother. Sometimes I’m shocked to realize that these young people living in my house look at me that way.

I’m often delighted to discover that, even as adults, they still want me to hold them, pamper them and give them silly little encouragements that I know they don’t *really* need.

But I’m so very happy to do it. Always and forever.

I regularly talk about my mom and mother-in-law online, but I don’t often discuss my own adventures in motherhood or my relationship with my children. It feels too precious for public display.

But I want to make it clear that my children are the single most important thing that has happened in my life. I love them more than I love myself — or anything else, really.

Nevertheless, I’m acutely aware (and have been since the very beginning) that my kids aren’t *mine*. I don’t own them — no matter how much time, energy and money I have invested in their care. I’ve had the enormous privilege of bearing them and nursing them and supporting their growth; but these two are their own people — and they have been since they popped out of my irreparably stretched-out belly.

The choice to become a mother is a sacred, inalienable right that every person capable of bearing a child deserves to exercise when, where, and how is best for them and the child.

The work is great, the load is heavy; it alters you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Each child comes to the world with their own set of needs and demands, requiring us as mothers (still the overwhelming majority of primary caretakers of infants and young children) to educate ourselves and adapt quickly — regardless of who we are and how qualified we feel.

Motherhood is not a choice anyone else can make for you.

It is a sacred decision to allow one or more other humans to use your body, mind and heart for the rest of your life; as needed, often without warning.

I love being a mother.

I love that I was able to choose motherhood when I was in the best position to give my kids what they needed to thrive.

I love that I’m able to know and understand myself better through the rigors of motherhood.

I love that my children surprise me daily with their awesomeness in every stage of their growth and development.

I love that I learn more about how to love and appreciate my own mother through my children.

Please understand, I’m not using words like “sacred” and “choice” in any hyperbolic sense.

What I am saying is this:

The government of the United States of America doesn’t factor into any of this.

The Motherfucking End.

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