I stared at her – that person in front of me. She looks similar but in many ways, she seems different. Her hair has few strands of grey. Her eyes mirror a sense of wisdom but also a tinge of worry and cautiousness. Look closer you’ll see, her eyes reflects the people that she loves the most – her husband and two little boys. The skin below her eyes have darkened from the sleepless nights caring for her young boys who sometimes would cry at night when they don’t feel well or when they need milk. Her face seems rounder than the memory of the woman who looks like her. Her body packed more cushioned fats especially in the mid-section with traces of vertical white stripes decorating her belly like a permanent tattoo. I tried to touch the large keloid scar just 2 inches below her navel stretching up until her pubic bone. It looks like an ugly big distorted brown zipper that was purposely placed vertically across her lower belly. But in spite of its gruesome aesthetics, I find it beautiful like a mark of a beautiful story. I looked at her face again and I smiled, she smiled back. This woman is tired but I can feel that her heart is full of love and contentment. Her happiness encompasses all the struggles she is facing because she found meaning in her life. For the first time, she knows one of the reason for her existence. She knows her purpose, her vocation. Her vocation is motherhood. She smiled even widely which turned into an uncontrollable laughter when she saw a glimpse of her two wacky active boys, age 3 and 1, looking from behind her while she is staring at the mirror. Yes, that woman is me.
I never knew I wanted to be a mother. I wasn’t one of those young girls who cradle their dolls, lying down the hammock, singing a lullabye and pretend to be their mother. I may be the eldest of 4 siblings but that nurturing part of me never emerged when we were growing up. Even when I was in the age of marriage, I was dreaming of having a wonderful husband to share my life with and I worry at the thought of being a parent, if I have the capabilities of one. I know that motherhood is the hardest job in the whole world. I wasn’t sure if I am up for that role.
My husband and I got married at May of 2013. We did wanted to have kids right away. My husband was the most excited. He already have a name for him- a name that resembles his name spelled backward. (Yes, he was a lucky guesser because our eldest was indeed a boy.) When I took the pregnancy test on one night of Aug of 2013, I cried when I saw that I wasn’t still pregnant. I realised that I am ready. Something inside my yearns to be a mother. So by September of 2013, I took a home pregnancy test on the day I expected my period to arrive. The pregnancy test stick showed this bold (+) sign indicating that I was pregnant! I was so excited but I was still not sure. After my husband and I said our dinner prayer before we ate the crab dish he cooked, I placed a white envelope containing the pregnancy test stick. I said, “Look at this.” He opened it and stared at me in disbelief and pure happiness. He said, “Is this real?”. I said, ” I don’t know” with a mix of excitement and confusion. He then bought another pregnancy test kit after our dinner to be sure. And yes, it was really positive, I was pregnant.
The next 9 months was wonderful time for me, counting out the first few weeks of pregnancy when I was so unexplainably tired and the last few weeks before my pregnancy when I was really swollen, super heavy and suffering from PUPP. I love feeling my growing my belly, knowing I will be meeting someone special soon. I was glowing with so much love inside of me. I would talk and sing to my unborn baby and I cherished the moments when I feel him stir and kick. The time when Naj was born was very eventful night. I almost thought I would lose him. When I talked about it, it still bring tears to my eyes. Just the thought that I would have never met Naj breaks my heart. That night, when doctors told me that my baby’s heart beat dropped and they need to perform an emergency caesarean section. I was scared but I am willingly to do anything of my son. When the doctors have trouble in performing a spinal anaesthesia so they can start the caesarean operation, I was so scared and I was continuously praying. I said, “Lord, if you will take away Naj please bring me with you. Because I couldn’t bear to wake up knowing that I lost him.” When I woke up from the general anaesthesia, I was assured that my son was fine. I got to hold him 3 days after my delivery and it was the most beautiful feeling.
How Motherhood Changed Me
Motherhood changed you into someone who would surprised you. Never in a million years I would have ever though I would have the strength, the patience, the endurance, the capacity to love so much until I become a mother. My body, my mind , heart had transformed in many ways that allowed me to love so much. Motherhood is hard I have to admit but it is, oh so, worth it. My husband and I are grateful that we were given a chance to experience the joys of motherhood and fatherhood. Our lives maybe chaotic, crazy and noisy but it is also filled with laughter, little kisses, warm hugs and lots of Disney sing-along nights. I think of my sons every minute of every day. They are my reason for living. They are my present and my future. I make sure that I give them my undivided attention and be present all the time. This is something that I have been struggling with and not allow digital distraction to veer away my attention and my presence towards my kids. I think of my kids when I make decisions today and think of how it may affect their future. I work hard to give them a brighter future. Every day , I leave our place to head to work before the sun rises and I try my best to go home before the sun sets. One of the best time of the day is when I arrived home and I open the door, my two sons would run towards me with so much glee, shouting, “Mommy!” It is the best feeling ever!
Motherhood made me appreciate simplicity and slow-living. I love the simple life now. I prefer a life that is devoid of chasing the unnecessary, and keeping up with the Joneses, a life that is filled with what truly matters like quality time with loved-ones, contentment, unconditional love and loads of laughter. We don’t need much to be happy. Family days can be spent at home, cuddling in bed while we watch our kids’ favourite cartoons. We don’t even need to spend much.
Motherhood made me physical strong. I didn’t know I can carry two kids at the same time. My boys are very clingy and I am an advocate of attachment parenting. Thanks to trusty baby-carriers, I would carry both of my boys before (when they were a little younger) at home while doing chores or exercising. Their weight helped me in my exercise too, hehe. Motherhood not only made my muscles strong, I was surprised I endured excruciating pain from early stage of breastfeeding, sleepless nights and being wrestled & tackled by my two active boys who like typical boys, finds rough playing fun.
Motherhood made me love breastfeeding. I never thought I would be an advocate of breastfeeding but I truly advice mothers to try to breastfeed. I cannot explain the special bond you would feel when you breastfeed your kids. I love that I am able to nourish them. I am happy I get to comfort them and provide them their needs. Breastfeeding can be a struggle but I am glad I forged through the struggles and managed to breastfeed Naj for 7 months and Fynn until 1 year. I did mixed my two kids with milk formula but I am glad I incorporated breastmilk as well.
Motherhood made me love travelling. Travelling with kids can be challenging but I enjoy the memories we create when we travel with our kids. And I can’t wait to create more memories with them.
Motherhood made me appreciate my own mother. I never knew the struggles and joy of being a mother until I become a mother. It made me think of my mom and how much she try to do everything for us. Motherhood is not about perfection but it is a journey of self-discovery – a discovery of who you truly are, your strengths , your core values and what truly matters. It made me salute all the mothers in the world. We are all trying our very best and we don’t have all the answers. I don’t think there is a specific module how to be a good mother because every child is different and the needs are different. If there is another thing, I learned about motherhood is that we should cut other mothers some slack not impose our own preconceived notion of what a good mother should be. Can we just mind our own business? If that mother give her child, that milk bottle, don’t judge. If that mother allowed her daughter to scream bloody-murder in the mall and exhibit her tantrum drama for everyone to see, don’t judge. If that mother gave her child a piece of big chunk of chocolate during dinner time, don’t judge. I would like to believe that motherhood is a beautiful harmonious community, helping each other not a snarly mean-girls club with rules to follow.
Motherhood made me see time in a different way. Time is precious. Time is for loved-ones and the important things in life. I didn’t have to obsess about growing my Instagram following so I put my phone down when I am at home & hold off doing Instagram liking and commenting to increase my Instagram engagement with people I barely know. I don’t have the desire to work overtime at work to impress my boss. I didn’t have to say ‘Yes‘ all the time to everything & everyone and spread myself thin.
Motherhood is beautiful poetry in life that I have the good opportunity to participate. I fell blessed to be experience this in my lifetime. I thank God gave this wonderful gift to me a mom to Naj and Fynn. I know I may not be the best mom and I may be made a lot of mistakes along the way but I am doing my very best.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to experience this motherhood journey with my kids. This post is part of the ‘How Motherhood has changed me?’ Blog Train hosted by Mums&Babies. Click on the photo to read the motherhood stories shared by 41 moms from Singapore, India and USA on this blog train.
Next up, we have Sharvi of Start Moms Blog. She is a mom to a 22 month toddler, a girl named Ovi. She is an engineer, a former hotelier and trainer for Hyatt chain of hotels, worked for Hyatt’s in India and Singapore, currently managing an interior design business and part time blogger. She love creative arts, have been trained in music and love anything stationery or planner related. She would love to write a book someday.