The Breaking and The Blessing of Motherhood

Friday, November 13, 2015 - 5:40am
The New Better Off

The Breaking and The Blessing of Motherhood

"If you were wise enough to know that this life would consist mostly of letting go of things you wanted, then why not get good at the letting go, rather than the trying to have? These exotic revelations bubbled up involuntarily and I began to understand that the sleeplessness and vigilance and constant feedings were a form of brainwashing, a process by which my old self was being molded, slowly but with a steady force, into a new shape: a mother. It hurt. I tried to be conscious while it happened, like watching my own surgery. I hoped to retain a tiny corner of the old me, just enough to warn other women with. But I knew this was unlikely; when the process was complete I wouldn’t have anything left to complain with, it wouldn’t hurt anymore, I wouldn’t remember."
Miranda July

My Maya is two-years-old today, which is to say, not a baby any longer.

I am no longer who I was either. It’s not that I feel like I’ve fully evolved into the label mother. It still doesn’t slip off my tongue. There is still a small part of me that is waiting for the real maternal authority to show up and tell us that we did an okay, though certainly not excellent, job these 24 sleepless, poop-filled, miraculous months. Maybe a B or, at best, a B+.

The fact that we didn’t realize we were supposed to brush her teeth as soon as they arrived definitely brings down our average. As does the fact that I could only think of depressing Tracy Chapman songs or the theme song from Fresh Prince of Bel Air to sing to her so many nights. We were brave, taking her on airplanes all over the country. We mostly managed not to sweat the small stuff. I think I only muttered, “I feel like I’m going to die,” once or twice in the dark. At least out loud.

I still don’t feel like an authority, but I do feel like someone new. It’s hard to wrap words around it. I feel transformed at a cellular level.

In part, that transformation is love — carnal, physical, visceral love. I love her more purely and fiercely than I have ever loved anyone. I cuddle her in bed and smell her hair and it is, as advertised, the most satisfying sensory experience I’ve ever had. Just wrapping my hand around one of her little dirty feet is enough to make me feel like all that I dread in the world is insignificant in comparison. When she was tiny and less willful, I used to lay her in my lap and press her heels into my closed eyes when I got migraine headaches. I felt healed.

The author holds her newborn baby Maya in her arms.

(John Cary)

In part, that transformation is discovery. The world has been made entirely new by her presence in it. I had forgotten how stunning and strange peacocks are. I am as surprised as she is every time we go riffling through the little garden bed in the back and find a few ripe, red, exquisitely shaped strawberries. We get to eat them! And more show up in just a matter of days! It’s beyond imagination that we should be so lucky as to eat these little strawberries and spot airplanes flying through the sky and shovel dirt in and out of containers. And sometimes, when we are very lucky, a ladybug even lands on one of our hands. The world is insanely, incomprehensively, intricately awesome when you are being directed by a two-year-old.

In part, and this is the part that is messier, much harder to articulate: that transformation is about responsibility. I have been broken down by motherhood in a profound, sometimes dark and lonely way. I have had to confront my own physical and emotional limits. I have had to reckon with the reality that I am her mother, her only mother, and I will do anything it takes to make sure she is okay in the world.

There are times when she’s a little bit not okay in the world, and these desperate moments give me some small taste of what it would feel like would she ever really, truly not be okay in the world. That’s as daunting a realization as I have ever had in all my days.

Before she was born, I used to worry: What if she was in the other room crying and I just didn’t want to go get her? But what I didn’t understand then (and how could I have?) is that what compels you to comfort your child is not in the same country as choice, which is also why post-partum depression is not about a lack of motivation. The maternal instinct, at least as I experience it, is not even rightly called an instinct. It’s as fundamental as breathing. I think I breathe twice as much every day now that I’ve become a mother.

My psychic, physical, spiritual boundaries got obliterated, and now that I’ve mostly reconstituted myself, I’ve made a sort of amends with the obliteration. I mourn the old life… what I would give to wake up at 10 am on a Saturday and wander to some brunch spot in my neighborhood in a cute boy’s flannel. On occasion, I even resent the intrusion (this often happens when she won’t even let me pee alone or when I feel inspired to write and there’s just no logistical way it’s going to happen).

The author films her daughter Maya being serenaded by a boy band with their VW camper van.

(John Cary)

But one of the gifts of obliteration is that I just don’t hold on as tightly to my own agenda. I don’t measure as many of my days by to-do lists. Productivity and social status have lost their glean almost entirely. I’m humbled. I just to want to express some small part of who I am in the world, to love people well, to spend time with those who don’t have time for any other bullshit. So motherhood narrowed me, but it’s also focused me. It’s made me as clear as I’ve ever been about what matters — and what doesn’t. I spend so many more of my moments on what does. I let go. I let go. I let go.

Some days, I feel stronger and wiser than I’ve ever been. Some days, I feel like I’m stretched so thin I might break. But, because I’m so attached to her, I’m less attached to everything else — including my own ego, my own singular capability even. When I consider the possibility of breaking, I pretty quickly convince myself that there are good people all around who will help me glue myself back together should that be necessary.

Breaking apart, in general, seems less scary. I’ve learned it’s the beginning of permanent transformation. I did it two years ago to the day and it’s led to the most extraordinary blessing I’ve ever known.

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Courtney E. Martin

is a columnist for On Being. Her column appears every Friday.

She is currently working on a book titled The New Better Off, exploring how people are redefining the American dream (think more fulfillment, community, and fun, less debt, status, and stuff). Courtney is the co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network and a strategist for the TED Prize. She is also co-founder and partner at Valenti Martin Media and FRESH Speakers Bureau, and editor emeritus at Feministing.com.

Courtney has authored/edited five books, including Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists, and Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: How the Quest for Perfection is Harming Young Women. Her work appears frequently in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Courtney has appeared on the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, MSNBC, and The O’Reilly Factor, and speaks widely at conferences and colleges. She is the recipient of the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics and a residency from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Centre. She lives with her partner in life and work, John Cary, in Oakland, and their baby girl Maya. Read more about her work at www.courtneyemartin.com.

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Reflections

Thank you, Courtney, for evoking so many memories of what the first few years of motherhood can be. I guess I felt like I had suddenly joined the human race in a really big way. The learning is always there for the having. I tell my Maya I learned a lot last year in seventh grade and am learning even more this year in eighth. And, I confess, I still love to sniff both my girls' hair...

as time goes on the passion inside and out grows ...we walk parenting as we walk our own development and hope we give the growth to our children

What an astounding article. I am watching my daughter go through this described transition and I am savoring every moment. She has a 5 month old girl who came into the world with a few challenges. Charlie has had a surgical repair, ok now, but my daughter's fierce experience is detailed in your words. Like all mother's. This post brought me back. This very daughter was born 6 weeks early and I remember all these feelings. Over 28 years they have become polished like a beautiful patina. My life has been enriched immeasurably . Thanks for such an inspirational article.

Beautifully and thoughtful piece. My daughter is twelve and I still treasure the moments when she lets me take her in my arms and I bury my nose in her preteen hair. There is a level of "parent paranoia" I discovered when my first child was born that blossomed and I had to work hard to manage. Paranoia about the safety of my children and if I was being a good mom. It doesn't go away. It ebbs and flows as life goes on, but you get used to that sword of Damocles hanging over your head because you love your children so much. Now I understand my mother and her worries at a deeper level. I am in my 50's and she is in her 70's, she still worries about me, and I will worry about my children in the same way. It's just part of being a mother and being human. Enjoy your daughter and the world she will help you see.

Dear Courtney, thank you so much for sharing this beautiful truth from your heart and soul. It resonates within my own spirit as a woman and a mother, and I can identify with so much of the challenge and joy that you described. My daughter is three and I have grown as much (or more) as she has in my pursuit of creating and sustaining a parallel of independence and connection. It's an adventure that will last a lifetime... and boy, are we blessed. Thank you again for sharing!

Courtney;
Wonderful insight! As an aging mother of five who wrote numerous articles while trying to make sense of all the gifts that appeared in my life, I have to agree with you that mothering is one of the most complicated yet fulfilling roles one can undertake. I am now in those twilight years, several generations removed from toddlers, but can say that you are definitely .paving the way for a rewarding, peaceful future.

Motherhood--which began 24 years ago for me--shaped me in much the same way. It is a gift to the world way beyond the wonderful children we bring in the world and shape the best we can. It changes us in fundamental ways. Wendy Wright calls this gift "stretching our hearts" and I have held that idea in my heart for many years.

I don't know, I want to like this column because I love motherhood and all the blessings it brings, but it feels somehow like... Too much. Not sure how. I loved the author's earlier works on feminism, where she called out perfectionism. But now it feels like she's just become exactly that: Perfect. No! Motherhood isn't hard or full of self-doubts, it's transformative blissful and so much more amazing than ever! I have a perfect husband who supports me in everything I do! My friends are incredible! They are brilliant and we never compete! No one is ever mean! The strawberries are always delicious! I don't want to be a dick to Courtney, who is obviously a lovely person just making her way in the world... And very blessed (privileged?) in ways others aren't. I love it she's so excited about everything, but I'm no longer connecting with her brand of feminism. It's too... Perfect. It's instagrammed feminism.

Hi Ria, thanks for being so honest. I certainly don't mean to make my life look perfect. In fact I strive to mine the messy parts for insight and stay humble, so I'm especially struck by this. For me, there's a lot of imperfection in this column, not to mention past columns like these:

I wish I knew why that wasn't translating for you. In any case, thanks for the critique.

I agree with Ria that this type of writing is different than previous writing. Although there is difference in the writing I am not sure it is because one form of critical and thoughtful feminism was left for another gushy optimistic replacement.

I think that part of the "lost in translation" lay in a few different dimensions--probably more than can fit a comment section but here is a couple.

First, context is important. "Mother" and "mothering" are loaded contexts, as are the domains of "feminism", "hope", "vulnerability" and "transformation". to name a few related to the article. The author could have talked about many different aspects of mothering and as this is done certain frames are triggered in us as readers. This makes conveying a message complex and challenging at the best of times.

Second, this is a reflective piece centred around the authors two year old birthday. It is introspective, reflective, vulnerable, and embodied. Sure the author could have spent time talking about how predatory and misogynist our economy is, especially to mothers and young girls. Instead, the author focused on her own changes through the ups and downs of motherhood.

Where to now... I think these reflective, introspective, and "optimistic" pieces are as important as the strong comprehensive critiques. Both are integral to parts to the human experience and enable a healthier engagement with the worlds we live within, the worlds in which we find charged with glory and the worlds which are stark and in need of liberation.

Wow, ladies, will you please listen to yourself?
Do you really have nothing better to do than write a full on 'literary critique' on a sweet heartfelt article on motherhood? Gosh go for a walk or smell a flower!

Your words are such a wonderful reflection of the process of "becoming mother." I have felt, and continue to feel, this ebb and flow in my own unfolding. Thank you for articulating the bitter-sweet of it all so well.

I love this post almost as much as I love you. About your B+ (which I suspect is actually an A- when you factor in the curve in this challenging course called motherhood) -- I went back to graduate school when my first-bron was 18 months old and learned forgiveness from Winnicot. All I need to be is a 'good enough mother' who creates and maintains an 'average expatcable environment' . My failures are a blessing that teach my children to tolerate frustration, to self-soothe, to build muscles of tolerance and stamina. What a perfect pattern built of imperfection.

Thank you for this. It's so difficult to articulate the transformation of motherhood and I really appreciate how honest you are in this piece. Writing is a wonderful way to "think out loud" and in this post I feel I joined you in trying to figure out what it means to be a mother. I especially resonated with the idea of being transformed on a cellular level. It feels that way to me. That my self-centered pre-children self has been physically shed by the endless sleepless nights and all that they entail. Thanks again

Thank-you so much for the truth and beauty of your words. On my best days I feel like I can let go of who I was once. On my worst days I hold on so tightly I can't breathe, and all this after 12 years as a "mother". It is a true obliteration of the self made into something new. Again, thank-you.

This is, hands down, the most spot-on reflection of motherhood I have read. It is exhausting, glorious, mind-blowing, awesome, and terrifying. And, yes, it is all about becoming more unattached to everything else while growing closer to your child. In fact, as my daughter gets older (3 yrs old right now) and asserts her independence more, I have to detach from my expectations (wear these pants and not those pants, pee in the potty more often, eat your rice). She is becoming her own person and all I can do is nurture her. A dear friend told me when she was born that her self-esteem was mine to build up or destroy. I knew I had to take care of her in a way that only gave her love and confidence in that her mother had her back when she needed it. And it is exhausting.

Amen! Mothering as a divorcee has been doubly humbling & transformative. I am more my authentic self than I ever even knew possible ~ "I am the me I never knew I was!" Deep gratitude for the life I get to share with my daughter. Thank you for your beautiful story.

Although I'm not a parent, your piece was every bit of validation (in addition to several others this week), as to why I made the life-changing "career" jump that I did nearly 15 years ago. I use quotes around the word career, because I don't see what I've done from 8am - 4pm each day as a preschool/special needs teacher as a job, but more so as a "calling."

The calling to not only be there every moment to facilitate, empower, witness, connect and of course comfort the lives of 15 three-year-olds over the course of a school year -- but equally receive, assist, balance, model, and ultimately transform the lives of each and every parent that has entrusted me with their precious gift.

Congrats to you and Maya ---It's a beautiful world, isn't it?

Courtney ...this is beautiful..your outpouring is so pure...so true..I see you ..I hear you ...thank you ...thank you ..yes yes yes ...love you sister xxx

This is one of the most beautiful, inspiring and truthful things I've ever read. You captured my feelings as a mother perfectly, only I couldn't have every expressed it so well. Thank you for these words. I hope to never lose them.

Courtney, I love this post so much. I love all of your posts, but as the mother of a nine-month old, I find those about motherhood especially resonant. Thank you for writing about your experience so honestly and articulately. I feel like your words empower me to live with more intention, patience, and compassion. Maya is so lucky to have you as her mother.

Powerful and poignantly said -- thank you!

My youngest child, and 2nd daughter, will give birth to her first child within 9 weeks. I am far from an articulate essayist, so am very grateful that Courtney is. Becoming a mother, being a mother, is a primal and wondrous experience. It is sacrifice and wonder, pain and growth, and so much more joy than could be imagined when starting down the road. Love every moment, even the hard ones (they pass quickly in retrospect).

Thank you for your very profound reflections and conclusions about motherhood. As the mother of three now fully-grown adults, I was glad to be taken back to such early days in each child's life. We were blessed when we brought home our first adopted child as a 3-day-old baby. We had been married 10 years, and had lost our first child at birth. You can imagine the elation we felt!

Please know that as your child grows and matures, your life as a mother will become not so all-encompassing, that there will be times for you again, when you can write or clean the house or have a cup of coffee quite alone! And there will also be times when you are totally amazed at the way your child can move and shake you. I will always remember the scene when our Jennie was 3 or 4 years old, in the dappled sunshine, running to catch the swirling autumn leaves.

Enjoy your motherhood! It is the best and worst job in the world, but really the most rewarding!!

Yes to so much of your essay! I was also shocked by the feeling of how much FUN it was when she was little. The garden discoveries and the dirt, yes, but also by how I was suddenly "allowed" to draw and to paint and to be artistically creative again. Never in a million years would I have picked up oil pastels as a childless 35 year old, but, with her, I have gone through boxes and boxes of art supplies. Through parenthood, I did not just rediscover parts of myself that I'd forgotten about, I forged into uncharted territory inside myself. And, it's still going on! This is what I don't know if we can really make those who have not had this experience understand - you let go and you gain, and you let go and gain some more. It really does change you at a cellular level.

Dear Courtney, this is a lovely description of literally falling in love with your child. And having done that twice in the last 26 years I know how intoxicating it is. Enjoy every minute. I would only suggest one idea for you to consider. The first line in the opening quote about letting go may actually apply more to the lesson of learning to let go of your daughter rather than yourself. See the world through her eyes but beware of blurring the boundaries. I don't want to spoil the ending but she will grow up and move away. Love her with all your heart but hang on tight to you.

This is beautifully written Courtney, and much of what you say rings true to me as well. It sounds like you are doing a great job and really, you probably deserve an A. One thing: I think it is normal to sometimes resent our children, even if we know it's not rational. They take over our lives so entirely, especially at this young age, and a longing for the unrestrained old life definitely comes flooding back on occasion. It should not make us feel guilty or like bad mothers.

There's so much writing out there on motherhood and parenthood that seems to promote judgment and competition, so thank you for adding an honest and frank voice to the conversation.

I feel like I've won the lottery when I read this. The eloquence. The ringing true. My son will be two on Feb 18th 2016. : )
I reflect and I feel. Many times a day. And when I read this, I feel so beautiful to be Me and so grateful for the energy that connected Beautiful Mamas around the world. What a glorioius Universe!

"I have had to confront my own physical and emotional limits. I have had to reckon with the reality that I am her mother, her only mother, and I will do anything it takes to make sure she is okay in the world."

Another point to remember is: sometimes it's important to not do anything in order to make sure she is okay in the world.

As Brene Brown has pointed out, we come into the world as infants hard-wired for suffering and struggle. Parents who do not let those aspects of their children be experienced, are doing them a grave disservice. Children must be taught to cope with failure and gently shown that they are one fish in a very large pond.

I have also found that it's important for my children to see that I have a life beyond them. I have dreams and goals that I have formed and that my parents struggled to ensure I had the possibility for achieving. My children need to understand that sometimes they are set aside so that their parents can strive for their dreams. It's humbling, but that is a virtue. The opposite of being humble, self-importance, is not a virtue and there's far too much of it in the world as it is.

Ah.......the challenges of being a mother never end. Thirty -four years later I know this. But did I know it when I "signed on" for the job? Alas.......

My daughters are now 23 and 29. When the first was really tiny I used to wish "for just one hour"of pre-mother time, because the memory was fresh enough to desire it. And the new responsibility heavy enough to need it. Eventually, I too was obliterated in the very best stunning ways. I am so proud of my relationships now with my daughters. I worked ( and still work) hard and consciously to hold on and let go, teach and expose. I realized they are on their own journeys right from the get go. They are their own creatures. I am protector, and guide, and cheerleader, and at times mother confessor. I practiced throwing them out of the nest in many different ways. I still "put them to bed" when they come home, and "chitter chatter" in the dark.

What a beautiful honest piece. It is true. I barely remember the person I was before my children came along. I often wondered why it was so hard, so relentless the constant tugging, the demands...sometimes my only guide to keeping going was coming from the DNA and nothing else, because every other part of me was burnt out. Thinking back though, I accept that I needed to be broken down to that level, in order to be a tired but grateful mum that I am learning to be today. I really appreciated your writing. Made me think. Made me appreciate my experience, the resilience I have found in myself through the experience of becoming a mum The influence of this discovery extends far far beyond motherhood.

Absolutely beautiful. Thankyou x

Captured it very well. Each child challenges us to grow whether we want to or not, and it continues throughout your lifetime.

WOW, I am so moved by all these comments. Thank you everyone. I was really straining to articulate what I feel, so this piece felt--not so much half-baked, as very vulnerable, very new and tender. Thank you for taking the time to affirm that instinct to put myself out there and know that it would connect with some people. You, beautiful people. I feel like we're all sitting in a room marveling at the journey together!

We ARE in a room marveling at the journey together. My sweet boy turned 2 Oct. 29, and I appreciate your essay because it perfectly captures how I feel. I'm not who I was, but I don't care, because I am his mama now. Happy 2nd birthday to Maya, and Happy Birth Day to you!

So beautifully written. So true on all levels.

Such a beautiful piece of writing. Thank you for sharing it Courtney.

Lovely to read your words. I have several children - the oldest is now 23. I don't really have (except when it is convenient for everyone in the family...) any kind of maternal authority - not the kind that I imagined there was. Not the voice that knows - no one knows. It's the hardest thing to accept about being a parent; realizing parents are just people, and in an emergency, they pray along with all of us for things to work out, and do the best they can, which is sometimes more ok than other times.

I also want to say, having walked with my dad through a very long and "breaking" illness, that this is the human condition - to be broken, to hit - hard and humiliating - our limits. Just that it tends to happen to mothers at an earlier age. When the very first time this hits you is in your late 60s, it's very, very hard to cope with. I feel that being a mother has prepared me - innoculated me with a tiny bit of the taste of breakdown. I don't know what will happen to me in the future, how I will or will not "break down" in other ways. But the taste (ok, sometimes a huge helping!) is important not just for my own future and present, but for how I relate to others who are in some way broken or breaking down. Suddenly you know - it can happen to anyone, at any time. When I can't hold them in my arms, I can hold them in my heart, knowing a taste of what it feels like to have that kind of thing hit you.

mothering

This captures so much of what I have been struggling to say about becoming a mother - the transformation, the dark and lonely, the mourning of the old life. And the feeling, in this piece and in my own experience, that these darker feelings are also in conversation with the overwhelming joy, attachment, wonder of mothering this particular child. Thank you for crafting the words for this so beautifully here.

Thank you for this beautiful article that so perfectly articulates my own transformation from woman to mother. I too was scared I wouldn't have the energy for a baby's demands, but serving my son has become serving myself - he is the center of my universe. They say being a parent is like wearing your heart outside of your body. I have never simultaneously had so much joy and so much vulnerability.

Beautifully put, I too was broken apart and reformed by Motherhood. . . .sometimes i feel like playdough, being constantly reshaped, with each baby, with each milestone, some days minute by minute. . . .but more ME more of my esscence shows now than i ever thought possible. Thank you for sharing!!

Perfectly said. I have been a mother five times over and a grandmother now fourteen times over..... motherhood is the most rewarding job I have ever had (and it is a job!) and grandmotherhood is its equal, but without such a detailed job description. I don't know most of our grandchildren as well as I have known their parents (has to do with geography!) but my caring and love and unending concern for their well being is exactly the same..... God blessed me when he allowed motherhood and grandmotherhood to be my life.

Describes the transformation beautifully.

So beautiful, so true! Thanks for sharing! I love the idea of having no time for bs.. I stopped (almost completely) emails and screen time, despite working, since my little one transformed my world, now 5 months ago. High five from one mother to the another!

Dear Courtney,

Welcome to the wonderful and creative land of breaking apart and letting go. Expect many transformations, as you watch the transformation of your children over the years. Each one is a precious gift, and each one brings more and more. It never stops...and Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, and I are about the same age. And on and on it goes!

Motherhood has heightened my larger existential issues and basically gotten me even more obsessed with thoughts about epistemology (theory of knowledge - what can we know??), cosmology, evolution. It's like being an undergraduate again, only without the exciting nights out. Anyone else have this response to motherhood and its constant stream of letting-gos?

I'd love to hear more conversations about this subject, or at least from an explicitly mom-centric point of view, on the OnBeing radio program. Ya know. Something that a breastfeeding mother or exhausted sick lady in a bathful of Epsom salts can listen to, unlike perusing a blog.

Thank you so much for this. I am new mom to a 3 month old. You described a transition I did not even realize I was in. I now understand the contradictory feelings I have had since his birth (and pregnancy). Please continue to write more about this. I feel like not enough mothers (parents) are truly honest about the rite of passage in being a parent.

Mothering

From the deck
I watch you wrapping your daughter
in her swaddle of
plush hooded towel
after she had been dipped
up and down repeatedly
in the shallows of the wide lake.

You held her small nude body high
in the gentle rolling wake
like a treasure offered to the water gods,
her cherub legs twirling
like the tail of the fish she has once been
and she will be again
one summer day
when she'll hear you
clapping happiness
as she swims away
from the lake shore,
the call of the loons
the sound of your heart breaking.

This is the best mommy article, ever.

"I have had to confront my own physical and emotional limits." This single statement captures the experience so precisely. It includes the fear of moving towards one's perceived limits and moving past them, as well as coming up against one's true limits, sometimes in hard ways. What a lovely tribute to your experience and your daughter. Were you to write one each year, what a lovely and raw memoir it would be.

this is absolutely beautiful. my daughter is about to turn 2 and i, too, feel transformed at a cellular level. xo

I love this article, but the article on depression it links to doesn't seem relevant to the point it links from?

You express things I feel and can't find the words to say articulately. I was a bit dismayed at the negative comment overanalysing what you wrote. It's a rollercoaster and my daughter is 14 months now. She has unlocked some emotional box in me or created it is probably more accurate. I see people and I see life in hues and colours I never knew existed before. My life isn't my own. I have finally stopped referring to how I used to be and relaxing into how it is now (great mostly!) and I'm slowly starting to feel at peace again.

This is profound. The most accurate compilation of thoughts and feelings of a new mom.

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences on motherhood, Courtney. My daughter is just a few months older than yours (she was born in July 2013), so your poignant observations are resonating so beautifully with me.

Exquisitely written and with such truth and insight. Being a new mum to an (almost) 5 month old daughter challenges and changes me emotionally to the core every day - but only because of the love that runs so deep for her. Thank you for putting into words such a complex reality.

I am her mother, her only mother... best lines and no one can change that. A wonderful read Courtney. My son is 12 and till date, each day has been a great learning experience. Your article helped me accept that it is okay to have misgivings about raising your child the right way. There is no correct way...
About sniffing, it is my son who does that and I learnt that it does offer a lot of comfort. Thank you...

I was a mother for exactly three months an about 16 days. In the summer of 2013. To a foster child who turned age ten to eleven. And I am graciously accepting and often reflective of that one moment in time experience. Growth happened exponentially. Motherhood changed me, because I decided daily I was in am emotional and sensitive space was not aware even existed. I felt vulnerable all the time. And i was so mesmerized with her energy and tenacity at life and living sometimes I didn't know what to do with it all. Overall, found myself that much wiser, and even more sensitive to the minds and thoughts of all human beings and even more aware that my life was majorly significant for God to bring a child to me and be impacted for three moths of her life, and then leave. We are but a handprint n her life, and she will ever haveour experiences etched in her mind. And hers, in ours.