Being a mother has made me a better person. It’s as simple as that.
Ever since the moment that I held another life inside of me, and (even more so) when I held that little person in my arms for the first time, my heart suddenly burst open and I experienced levels of empathy and compassion beyond what I’d ever previously felt before. Once those floodgates had been opened, they were never to shut again.
Motherhood has shown me what selflessness truly is, as the new person in your life becomes the centre of your universe and everything else just falls away. Everything that I thought had previously defined me suddenly didn’t matter, it was like my brain and my entire being had been rewired and I had become a different person.
I began to understand other parents, friends with children, and even my own parents in new ways; my appreciation and admiration for my mother grew to new levels. I realised how disconnected I used to be with my friends with children, how I just didn’t get (couldn’t get) exactly how much parenthood changes your life; how little things become a big deal, like catching up over coffee, or having a catch up, full stop. How leaving home with a little one would require so much preparation and how achieving this (or many other things, like showering or any bit of housework) would be something to celebrate.
I began to see exactly how selfish I used to be and how unsympathetic I was towards those with children, although I (of course) didn’t see it that way. I could see how I actually thought that “giving up” your career to be a stay at home parent was just “not for me” as if it were some sort of unimaginable consolation prize. I remembered how judgmental I would be (although not outwardly) towards other people’s parenting choices, even thinking how I would do “better,” or how I wouldn’t “allow my child to have a tantrum like that”, or how my future children wouldn’t eat junk food or be exposed to too much TV or technology. Some of these thoughts even occurred during my first pregnancy, and boy was I in for a surprise! This actually reminds me of a comment that I once read somewhere, “I knew more about parenting before I became a parent” and I can totally relate to this now! I have even heard childless people comment on parenting, and on one occasion even give me advice on sleep training! I couldn’t really get too annoyed or offended because, after all, that used to be me.
Although I look back at my former self and shake my head, and even laugh out loud at times, I try not to judge myself too harshly for my old attitude and beliefs, because the transformation that I went through couldn’t have been possible without first becoming a mother. How could I have known?
My empathy for other parents has developed from a place of true knowing and feeling. This new and improved version of myself was born when I gave birth to my first child. Going through hours of contractions during labour made me look at other mothers (and the female body) with new eyes. Learning to look after and raise my two young boys is teaching me so much about myself as well as the human experience. I’m not only more empathetic and compassionate towards other parents now, but also towards children too, as I’m beginning to understand how they develop and how they communicate.
I credit all this to my children and to becoming a mother. I wouldn’t be who I am today had I not gone through this part of my journey; I believe I am a better person because of this, and I am constantly discovering new life lessons and ways to improve myself. Experience is truly our greatest teacher, and Motherhood has been my biggest lesson.
(Image from Pixabay/Typorama)