Being a mother is a pain.

I am not sure when it happens, but there is a moment after birth when everything changes. As we look into our tiny newborns face, and scan their little body, we are bewitched. As we hold them in our arms for the first time we feel them seep through our pores into our soul. We are now as one. They are a part of us, taking up a place in our hearts forever, regardless how long their lives may be.

In those early days we hear them cry and it hurts. Life becomes  a never ending cycle of feeding, changing and comforting, all in an effort to make sure they do not cry, to ensure they are happy, and so it continues for many years.photo credit: Jack Fussell via photopin cc

And then the day comes when they are older and we can no longer protect them from hurt or sadness.

Nothing can prepare you for that day when you first see your child hurt by another. It may be at playschool, when you witness another child slap or push your child, or maybe in the playground. You feel a massive wave of protectiveness and an irrational reaction to your child’s pain or dismay. Over time you become accustomed to, and a little less upset by such happenings, but somewhere deep within you, you continue to feel it every time.

Last weekend I was coach to thirty young swimmers in a gala. We began the day with the usual great expectations. There was much excitement accompanied by fraught nerves, not to mention the parents feelings. As can always be predicted at such events, there are highs and lows. Throughout the day there was much to celebrate with so many happy smiling children. However just like in life, not everything went well for everyone. As some young swimmers finished their swims they could not hide their disappointment. With tears overflowing they came to us coaches for a few words of comfort and encouragement. We did our best, but for some the arms of their mothers was the only cure.  Parents oblivious to how wet their child was, opened their arms and held their young swimmer. Eventually it was their parents gentle push which allowed them to move away, dry their tears and head off to swim another race. Only in a couple of cases to be once again heartbroken, and so the cycle continued.photo credit: Martin Gommel via photopin c

As our children get older, we continue to share life’s disappointments with them. Eventually there comes a time when waiting arms no longer cure all. Mothers are left watching from a distance as their children hurt, feeling their pain as strong as always, but unable to lessen it.

Over many years I have stood by my children’s sides unable to help. I have watched as they struggled in school, when friendships crumbled and when illness and bereavement hit hard. As a mother I have felt every sadness, and hurt. I have stayed awake at night worrying, and cried silent tears on their behalf. I have held them in my arms and I have softly kissed them.

For as a mother their hurt and pain are part of me. Would I wish to feel it a little less? Certainly not, for equally their joy and happiness are also mine. I think if we weigh it all up in general the life of a mother is a lot less of a pain than it is a pleasure, and I for one would never chose to change a bar of it.

For in truth, although it may not be the modern thing to say, but I have found being a mother brings me more joy than anything I have ever achieved in my own life.

photo credit: Jack Fussell via photopin cc

photo credit: Martin Gommel via photopin c

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26 thoughts on “Being a mother is a pain.

  1. What a lovely post. It’s true about the irrational protectiveness. My 5 yr old had minor falling out with her best friend which resulted in both me and my husband ranting to each other (post-bedtime) about the evilness of said friend and her unworthiness of our daughters’ friendship. I can only imagine the pain to come- I did it to my mum so I guess I deserve it!

    1. Yes I remember that first row. I’ve learned over the years to mostly sit back, as my children usually sort out the trouble faster and better than two ‘hurt’ mothers.
      It’s true we only see our mothers once we become mothers.

  2. A lovely post , so true ,so true and when the grand children come along it is just as ferocious this feeling their pains and their joys and wishing with all our souls that we could feel the pains instead of them , it brings me great joy to spoil my grand children a little when they are poorly or need a little more TLC, my lovely mom used to provide that shelter for mine on many occasions bless her and now it is my turn I am so grateful to be able to do this. Great post, happy days from Kathy.

    1. Thank you. I’ll share what you said with a great friend of mine who is about to become a grandmother for the first time. I’ve plenty to look forward to so. 🙂

  3. I don’t feel any distance between me and my children’s hurts or successes. The intensity seems to grow!!! I’ve signed up for your club Tric, any parenting that thinks it is less than what you’ve described is not what I would sign up for.

    1. I agree, but hadn’t actually thought about it, there is no distance between me and my children’s hurts or successes.
      Thanks fellow mum.

  4. Reblogged this on Myths of the Mirror and commented:
    The posts that I most enjoy as a reader are those that make me feel, regardless of whether I laugh or cry, ball my fists in shared outrage, or long to reach across the netways and offer a hug. They’re the ones that strike a common chord with my own quirky view of the world or remind me, with tender poignancy, that our human journeys aren’t so different.

    Tric’s post BEING A MOTHER IS A PAIN describes beautifully the universal experience of watching our children grow and wishing we could protect them forever against the hurts of life. I could relate.

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