It is true that you often hear parents bemoan the trials of parenthood; however, it is almost impossible to express the pleasure and gratification that having a child can bring. To me, the following experience presents one of those nearly indescribable feelings. I was swinging gently in a hammock in my backyard, my seven-month-old son snuggled sleepily to my chest as we swayed rhythmically side to side, listening to the birds, smelling the moist earth after a morning rain, when suddenly our rocking movement flipped us into the air. I arched my body instantly, maneuvering myself to land below my son rather than on top of him as gravity would have had it. He landed safely upon me. It was complete and instinctual love that enabled me to protect him with my body. In the mother/child relationship I discovered a capacity to love and defend that I had not known before. It is satisfying to care this deeply, but it is a difficult feeling to verbalized and share with others. Perhaps this is why it is more common to hear complaints about parenthood than expressions of the satisfaction that it can bring. In the days and weeks ahead, ask other parents what in their relationship with their children brings them pleasure and satisfaction.
If you are in your mid-thirties or older when you have your first baby, you bring the benefit of maturity to motherhood. Knowledge of yourself and others increases with age. Greater life experience allows you to appreciate the choice you have made to mother. You may have much more to give because you have waited. Love and bonding will deepen your commitment. Experience will be your teacher. Thinking about your reasons for becoming a mother may help you feel deeper, or renewed, certainty about your decision.
Copyright 1993 by Shadow and Light Publications. Reprinted with permission from the author and publisher. This excerpt may not be reproduced in any manner, including electronic, without prior written consent from the publisher.