Sunday, 10 March 2013

Motherhood and Choices

“Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else's happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you're not sure what the right thing is...and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.”
Donna Ball, At Home on Ladybug Farm 

I always have mixed feelings on Mother's Day. Joseph was born 3 days before Australian Mother's Day, the second Sunday in May. To me that is true Mother's Day, for all that this one is more traditional. I loved that my Aussie friends sent me little messages on Facebook wishing me happiness on my first Mother's Day with a baby that I could not hold. But he was here, and finally I could call myself a mother.

For so many people Mother's Day is a very tough day for many reasons. Perhaps their own mothers are no longer with them. Perhaps they are estranged from their mothers, or past hurts have interrupted that bond and the day brings painful reminders, and reinforces the relationship they would have like to have had but do not.

There are mothers like Jennie at Edspire who face Mother's Day with a heavy heart, as they mourn a child. And also celebrate with the children that are still living.

There are those who have had babies who could not stay. Who to me are mothers, but the rest of the world appear childless. Those who have had miscarriages and stillbirth, rounds of IVF and other procedures. To me, the desire to be one, makes you a mother.

I was reminded today of this post by my sister Penni who writes at Eglantine's Cake. I am so grateful for my son Joseph, but even today I still feel sad at the choices that we had to make, the choice that chose us, to have just one child. When my sister first wrote this I had mixed feelings, my emotions still so raw. Now I see it differently. Sometimes life is about choice, about decision making, and sometimes it isn't, it's fate, or chance, or God's hand at work, whatever you like to believe. But sometimes, the path we tread isn't of our choosing.

Today has been a lovely one, relaxing, just the three of us. Homemade cards, flowers, chocolate and a book. But the greatest gift for me, is finally being a mum. I lost two babies on the way, had Joseph at 27 weeks gestation, and have had to say goodbye to my dream of being a mum of more than one child. But I am a mother. And I am happy.

I didn't choose to give birth prematurely. I chose to make the biggest bottle of lemonade I could from the lemons I felt I had been given. I have a new life and a new purpose. The birth of Joseph gave me a whole new set of choices.

As you reflect on your own journey today, as a mother, whether your children are with you, or not, or waiting to be born, or allocated to you, or a mother who mourns, I hope you can find peace in this day.


  1. A beautiful piece of writing x

  2. This is a beautiful post!

    I spent most of my pregnancy and the first year of Oscar's life trying to come to terms with the fact that though I have always been extremely maternal and wanted a large(ish) family, we couldn't go through another pregnancy. Health plays a huge factor, risks during pregnancy and the length of time it took (is taking) for me to recover. It breaks my heart, but I am finally reaching a place where I can begin to make that lemonade instead of grimacing at the lemons!!

    I can't help but think of all those who must be struggling today with so many mixed emotions and my heart goes out to them. At the end of the day, this isn't the path I would have chosen by any stretch of the imagination... but I am still a mother to a healthy little boy and that is the greatest blessing I could have asked for. Days like today I really appreciate that, especially when reading about others who have had it far harder than us.

    Thanks for writing such a beautiful post.

  3. Kylie, such a beautiful post, brought a tear to my eye x

  4. Beautiful, wonderful, positive post. I too thought of all the many kinds of Mummy today, those with aching arms, those who are adopting, those who are alone with no-one to give them time off. The widows, those who cannot conceive. I give thanks for what I have and thank my children for making me the mummy I am x

  5. So beautiful Kylie, thank you.