What Does Motherhood Mean to Me?

Back in October, I entered an essay/photo contest, sponsored by Parenting Magazine, answering the question “What Does Motherhood Mean to Me?” The contest was in honor of the movie “Motherhood” (to be released in the spring) in which the main character (played by Uma Thurman) entered a contest answering the same question. The winner of the Parenting Magazine contest would have her 300-word essay and photo (illustrating the theme of her essay) featured in the March 2010 issue (and receive some other prizes). It turns out that the movie, which received some bad reviews, was just released on DVD; also, I didn’t win the contest. I did rent the movie, and it was so-so, but I won’t go into detail (this post is not a movie review). I just wanted to share my essay and some photos about what motherhood means to me. Note that I wrote this about 3 months ago, and if I were to write it now it would be completely different. The photos above illustrate the theme of my essay, which folllows. Please send me comments about what motherhood means to you.
What does motherhood mean to me?
Me. My Life. Now and forever.From the moment I found out I was pregnant until the moment I die, I am, have been, and will be, first and foremost, a mom. I am not first a woman, wife, daughter, sister, friend, professional, writer, student, consumer, neighbor, citizen … I am a mom. I am all of those other things too. But it’s motherhood that defines me.

Prior to pregnancy, I never imagined this would be the case. I thought, “Me, a mom?” It seemed so obscure, so matronly, so permanent. I always loved children and thought that I would have one or two (someday), but I was in no hurry. I knew that once I had a child my life would change forever.

It did change forever, which is a great thing. I changed forever, which is even a better thing. It gave me wings. It brought forth the meaning in my life. It led me to realize that I had waited for a reason, and that all of my experiences up to this point served to prepare me for my ultimate role and journey. And what an amazing yet scary, at times, journey it is.

My hesitation led me to a later start in motherhood. While it was a late start, it was also a great start. I was ready. I no longer feared things like obscurity, matronliness, or permanence. I now embraced those things (even matronly).

Motherhood is so many things – mostly good, some bad, all incredibly worth it. It’s filled with wonderful contradictions. It’s a sacrifice, yet rewarding. It’s hard work yet a lot of fun. It’s natural yet foreign (at first). It’s intuitive, educational, and unlike anything else. Motherhood is love in its truest form. It’s everything you can think of, and more. Motherhood is me, my life, now and forever.

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