Thursday, March 7, 2013

It Will Change Your Life (updated)

For all the mothers (including pregnant ones) in the world, this one is for you! 
-Author, Dale Hanson Bourke*

*Time is running out for my friend.

We are sitting at lunch when she casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of "starting a family."  What she means is that her
biological clock has begun its countdown and she is considering the prospect of motherhood.*

 "We're taking a survey," she says half-joking. "Do you think I should have a baby?" 

"It will change your life," I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral.

"I know," she says, "no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations."

But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my friend, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes.

I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.

I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, "What if that had been MY child?" That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her.

That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.

I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of "Mom!" will cause her to drop a soufflé or her best crystal without a moments hesitation.

I feel that I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her
baby's sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby is all right.

I want my friend to know that every day decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy's desire to go to the men's room rather than the women's at McDonald's will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming
children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom.

However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.

Looking at my attractive friend, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself.

That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give herself up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years, not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs.

I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor.

My friend's relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks.

I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child.

I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.

I wish my friend could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving.

I want to describe to my friend the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike.

I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time.

I want her to taste the joy that is so real it actually hurts.

My friend's quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. "You'll never regret it," I finally say. Then I reached across the table, squeezed my daughter's hand and offered a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings.
Please share this with a Mom that you know or all of your girlfriends who may someday be Moms. May you always have in your arms the one who is in your heart.

I shared this post from my sister in law on Facebook and felt that I needed to put it on the blog so I could read it again and again. Every word of this is so true that it makes me cry. Being a mother is truly what I was put on this earth to be. And the author of the article is right, the joy of having kids actually hurts. My love for my kids is so deep that it makes my breath catch and my eyes fill with tears. I do love my husband in a way that seems silly to those without kids and I would give my life to save them all. Perhaps one of the most surprising things I have discovered when I  became a mom is the realization of my mother's own love. I knew my mom loved and still loves me, but you never truly understand how much until you have the same love for your own children. It makes me appreciate her as a mother so much more. And there is a bond between mothers everywhere, no matter what your parenting styles are. So this one is for all the mothers. New, experienced, young, mature and everyone in between and all around. For the moms, the moms to be and the not yet moms. 

May you always have in your arms the ones you have in your heart. 

*I received a comment from someone saying that "This lovely story was written by Dale Hanson Bourke. It has appeared in numerous publications. You can see the original story here (it seems someone has changed the first paragraph; she wrote it about a friend, not a daughter." I updated the first paragraph and gave credit to the author. It is a beautiful story and although I do not know her, I thank her. Because this is everything I would want to say but never be able to say it like this. 


  1. This lovely story was written by Dale Hanson Bourke. It has appeared in numerous publications. You can see the original story here (it seems someone has changed the first paragraph; she wrote it about a friend, not a daughter:

    Thanks for adding the credit line.

    1. Thank you so much for writing and providing the author's name and a link with the original story! I have updated the blogpost hopefully with all of the correct information. Thanks again!

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