As some of you may know, underneath my heart-of-stone, gin-swilling exterior, I have decidedly hippyish, earth-mother type tendencies. I hardly ever make Belle have a bath and I breastfed her until she was two and a half! I know, shocking isn’t it? An ongoing supply of free nutrition that helps protect against infection, obesity and can raise your IQ? Whatever will nature think up next.
I’m currently reading ‘Musing on Motherhood – About Pregnancy, Birth and Breastfeeding: An Anthology of Art, Poetry and Prose’ – edited by Teika Bellamy – and it is absolutely fabulous. As it says on the tin, it’s a collection of writing and art from real mothers, talking about what it’s really like to be a mother – not just the practicalities of never being able to go to the toilet alone, but the emotions and feelings that swell up in you at the most unexpected of times and the amazing bond you form with your baby, even though they’re basically just a helpless ball of mess and screams.
Some of the poetry I had to sort of pretend to read, but that’s just because I’m a bit thick and don’t really understand poetry. Any mum though I’m sure could relate to this one by Marija Smits:
The Cold Cup of Tea
An already-cold cup of builder’s strength tea
Is sat by the sink, and saying to me:
‘I’m delicious, delightful, so drink me up do!’
But I’m knee-deep in nappies, and children, and poo;
So call me again when I’ve sorted this mess
And have time to relax, and unwind and de-stress…
Later, much later, when the kids are asleep,
In my nightie and slippers I quietly creep
To the kitchen, and there is that cold cup of tea,
Still delicious, still delightful, and still waiting for me…
What I love about Musings on Motherhood is that it gives you the opportunity to take a bit of time out from actually being a mother, and think about what it means – what is it that defines us as mothers, what are the shared experiences and emotions we all go through?
For me, it’s hard to pin down exactly what being a mother is all about. I became pregnant for the first time when I was 16, so hadn’t even really started to figure out what it meant to be a person, let alone a mother. My identity as a parent is so integral to who I am as an adult woman then, that I can’t even begin to separate out what it means. I have never been a grown-up and not been a mother, it is just who I am.
What does being a mother mean to you?