What is this love that a mother has for a child? I cannot fathom it; even if I stretch my imagination to its limits or wreck my rational mind to try and make sense of it, I just can’t comprehend the heart of a mother. The word ‘love’ doesn’t even fully justify this feeling we have for our offspring. I love many people deeply, and when I say deeply I mean people who my life would not be the same without – not like chocolate and sushi kind of love (although my life would not be the same without these things, but it wouldn’t break my heart). People like my husband, my parents, my siblings… I love them deeply and fully. But I can’t say that I love them unconditionally? If my husband annoys me, or does something that particularly upsets me, I know I love him less – for that time, than I do when we are on good terms. But with my children, even though I love them less at times, in that very same instant of not loving them a lot, I would still lay down my life for them without even thinking about it. I heard something interesting this week about David Livingstone who’s heart is buried under a Mpundu tree in Africa, while the rest of his remains are buried in Westminster Abbey – because although he was Scottish, his heart was always in Africa. And this really got me thinking about my heart.
My husband complains that I am all consumed with my children, that I don’t have a life outside of them and that it is not normal for a person to cease to exist outside of her children and their lives. And perhaps I do, but that’s because they ARE my life! There will come a time when they will grow and won’t need me as much, they will lead their own lives and the apron strings will stretch longer, already I notice in small ways that they are no longer as needy, but at this stage in our lives, I am not ashamed to say I live for my children – for their well being and for their happiness. So back to my heart… there must be something that happens to the heart of a woman when she becomes a mother. There is no way that you cannot be changed after becoming a mom. Let’s think about this rationally… how could you possibly still feel endeared towards a little baby who brings you very little physical joy in the first few years of its life? Let’s face it, being kept awake at night, dealing with long stretches of crying, being vomited and defecated on, being physically and emotionally drained, having no time to yourself EVER, sacrificing your life for the life of this small needy bundle – how is that rewarding, how is that something a rational person would sign up for? How do we still want another one, after experiencing the complete turmoil that one creates? There is no doubt that a mother’s heart morphs into something quite amazing when her baby is born! It is able to withhold and withstand the most testing of situations, it is able to love, unconditionally, even when that love is not always returned, it is able to sacrifice its own happiness for the sake of a baby.
Liam and Hannah are my heart. I am amazed that my heart hasn’t yet leapt out of my chest because there is no more room for it to grow within my ribcage. I would never have believed that I could love two little bodies like I do these two. I can be so angry with them for doing the insanely silly things that toddlers do, and in the same breath I can be moved to tears from a simple look that says they are sorry. There are days when I wish they hadn’t been born (yes you read that right) and there are nights when I go into their rooms at least five times just to make sure they are alive and breathing and really mine. Sometimes I want to run away from all the noise and the crying and the whining, and I can’t wait for the work week to start on a Sunday night, but I can’t wait to get home at the end of every day for kisses, hugs and laughing foolishly at gaseous bodily emissions. My heart swells when I see them hugging each other when no one is watching, or when they kiss each other’s booboos better or wipe away each other’s tears. They make me so mad that I sometimes smack their bottoms harder than they deserve or I am way too harsh – INTENTIONALLY. But my mother-heart immediately starts pumping love-blood that makes me want to cry and tell them how sorry I am. It’s that mother-heart that allows me to instantly accept an apology for being kicked in the shins, or embarrassed in a shopping mall. It’s my mother-heart that lets them have jelly babies before breakfast and slurp the last sip of coffee – just because I want to see them giggle. I can’t believe that I, with all my faults and idiosyncrasies, with all my hang ups and quirky dislikes, can love these two beauties without a question. That can only be my mother-heart, surely?
I don’t think you lose your mother-heart, even if you lose a child, or they grow away. You will always and forever love your babies, reciprocated or not, because a mother’s love stretches on for all eternity, neither time nor space can confine or obstruct it. I want the “big” Liam and Hannah to know, as they read this, that I love them so very much, that my world revolves around them and I wouldn’t want it any other way. That my complete adoration for the two of you was born out of my mother-heart that will continue to love and cherish you, wherever you go and whatever you do.