Sunday, 22 November 2009

Making a mother

The last few weeks have been pretty rough. Ella is waking between 4 and 6 times each night and it is taking its toll. I have struggled to work out how far I am prepared to go to get her to sleep for longer at night. And last night we had a dash to A and E cause she wouldn't feed. These experiences and my chats with other Mums have led to some pretty real reflection on being a mother and all it involves. I was talking with my coffee group and we all agreed that if we had really know what motherhood was like most of us wouldn't have wanted to get pregnant. But the tricky thing is that once you are there is no going back so no-one tells you how it really is and even if they did I wouldn't have listened as my desire for a child was so strong.

And that is the big difference. Now my desire is not for a 'child' or a 'baby'. Now being a mother is about a relationship, it is about loving and caring for Ella. No longer is she a faceless and nameless baby who invokes much cluckiness. Now she is my daugher, my unique and precious gift who I love watching for ours and want to do all I can to comfort and encourage and get to know.

My husband and I have a had a rough start to parenthood but we would never want to give Ella up. But we are both once bitten, twice shy of pregnancy, birth and parenthood. It is the hardest thing we have both ever done, the biggest change, the most challenging situation for our marriage and the most consuming part of our lives.

So I was not immediately a mother just because Ella was born. I am becoming a mother as I realise what caring for Ella really means and I am being stretched and grown in ways I never thought I would. As I paced the lounge last night and sat up to sleep as that was the only way I could settle Ella I thought "Why am I not going completely mad?" The answer being I am Ella's Mum. There is no-one else, this is my job and no-one else can do this. But I have to admit if I have to do that tonight I might be tempted to put an ad in the paper for a replacement...