We are on the verge of celebrating Mothers day . It is reason enough for me to stand still and reflect on what being a Mom and having a Mom means to me. To me motherhood also goes through seasons just like your life as quoted from the bible Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
3 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
I remember becoming a Mom at the age of 35, before 35 I was just not interested in motherhood. Really not so strange seeing all bad experiences according to me that my mother went through.
At 34 I met my spouse and was so in love that I welcomed becoming a mother. The experience of becoming a mom was very new to me although I had many examples around me. Throughout my pregnancy it felt as if my body had a mind of its own because my body responded very natural to the changes. I also got help of our firstborn with a very difficult part of motherhood in my first season, namely breastfeeding . I had no clue of what I was doing so I just laid her next to my breast and she grabbed my nipple with her mouth and started feeding on it. Just as easy as this breastfeeding experience was, just as difficult my last breastfeeding experience was with my third daughter. I really had to do my best notwithstanding the cloves I had on my breast nipples to keep offering my breast to my daughter .It was only after 2 weeks of daily trying to breastfead her and “kolven” (is Dutch for express milk ) that she started to independently feed on my nipples. So taking care of my baby was to me my first season. In this season I have learnt to trust “Nature” and the rest will follow!
Then I ended up in the season that our kids were toddlers (from 3 till 5) , wow it was definitely a hectic period but through it all there was never a doubt in my mind whether or not I made the right choice to have children. I guess that unconditional love is partly about this. My experience is that in this season of your life you should listen to advises of other mothers, your own mother and all those motherly advises around you. I saw all these advises as an enrichment of my life. Ultimately it was up to me how to act and what to do under every circumstance.
Our children started going to school( from 5 till 12) and another season started. In this season others started influencing our children’s lives. Others like teachers and friends. Thank God that we as parents had the biggest influence in their lives. I think that this season is a season of trying to keep an open mind but still playing an important part in your child’s life. Being and staying involved in your child’s life that was the challenge. Motherhood was in this season extra challenging for me as I got ill in 2008 (our kids were then 13 ,12 and 7) and was diagnosed in 2009 with a incurable progressive Motor neuron disease (PLS primary lateral sclerosis). At that time my husband filled in both his and my role for a great part as a parent. We tried to keep things going as “normal” as possible for the kids.
The next season is puberty. We are partly out of puberty. For our youngest daughter puberty has just begun. What I can say of this season is that God will never give you more than you can handle , my daughters of 18 and 17 went without any issues through puberty, so we give God all the glory.
The other seasons I can only share experiences of having a MOM and not being one myself.
Being the second of 3 girls and second of 7 children but always the oldest at home I grew up feeling the eldest and being treated as such. I remember helping my mother with the care of my younger brothers as she had to work. So after school I would help out with the care of my younger brothers. Notwithstanding a very rocky childhood I always got very high grades and so I went gloriously through my elementary, primary and secondary schooling years.
When I was 17 I finished my secondary school and started a bachelor study in business science but after the first two successful years, I still wanted to change my studies for a bachelor in Information and Business science. After getting all necessary advise I then changed my studies. As this was only given in the Netherlands, I then flew from Curacao to the Netherlands. My mother was very proud of my decision. At last she could now also say that she had a daughter studying abroad for a single -divorced parent I think it is a big deal showing your environment that notwithstanding your hardships you succeeded in having a daughter studying abroad! So I think this season ended very successful for my mother!
Then came the season that I had an official boyfriend whom I introduced to my mother and we both were finishing our studies when our relationship started. So we were both advised that it was not the right moment to start with a relationship, but stubborn as we were we then still started our relationship. Looking back our relationship boosted both our studies. Both of us finished that year our bachelors degree and started a booming career . I started working as a Information project-manager at a bank and my boyfriend as a Information systems educator for DBASE at that time. We finally got married and had a wonderful time together. Our time together ended because of lack of passion but not because of lack of friendship. Anyway through all this time motherhood was to me occasionally giving my mother an update of my life and knowing that she was doing fine. Of course the enormous distance (She living in Curacao and I in the Netherlands) we had between us did not contribute to a more closer mother and daughter relationship.
The season I myself became a mother at 35 I was then in my second marriage living again in Curacao and working as a bank manager. I was so thankful to be at that time close to my mother . She helped me very much with motherhood by just being there and listening to my complaints and my cheerful moments.
Since 2000 my mother and I are again living apart (she in Curacao and I in the Netherlands) but now with a better knowledge of each others lives and challenges. From 2007 to 2008 she was living for a short period of time with us in the Netherlands and that was also good for us because we then got to know each other in a different way. We still update each other about our lives per phone and this year we are going to spend Christmas together!
So having the chance of being a MOM is a great blessing to me and having the chance of having a MOM is surely another of my blessings!
What does motherhood mean to you?