It wasn't until I became a mother myself that I truly understood the sacrifices mothers make to raise their children and for that I honour them. Below we share with you a beautiful piece from a gorgeous mummy who like most of us have never been forced to be so selfless.
A letter to my one-year-old & an ode to new mothers
You were only just over 2kg when you were born, one year ago today. You simultaneously blew my world apart and put it back together again, with a greater colour and vibrancy than before. Life before you had been two-dimensional and two-toned, although I didn’t know it at the time. You arrived and the world became infinitely more full of meaning and purpose and potential.
You were so vulnerable, and yet strong. Born early and tiny, you needed me more than anyone had ever needed me before; my breasts and energy and sleep and thoughts were yours by necessity, because you needed your mummy to live. I was literally your life line.
After you, who did I become? Who was I after I became a mother? My identity - my very heart, body and soul - seemed to belong to you, was indeed bound to you. Never had I borne the weight of such responsibility, or such honour. Never had I been forced to be selfless. Never had another’s life depended on my own so profoundly.
Growing up, all the world was open to me. I was told that I could be anyone, do anything; as a woman of the 21st century, no door was closed to me. I was unprepared for motherhood. Yes, becoming pregnant was unexpected, but I would have been unprepared even if I had been waiting for you.
I was used to marching to the beat of my own drum. Following my dreams, making plans and executing them without much thought to others, because no one depended on me; becoming a mummy of a tiny baby even going to the bathroom and feeding myself were “rights” that had been taken away. Your needs came first. Every time. I loved you with a fiery passion; your delicate little features and sweet expressions.
My iPhone became full of pictures of you - I took at least 50 a day. Yet I remember wondering "how the hell did my mother have four" and confiding in my best friend "I hate this". I remember going for long walks and weeping as I thought of all the pain in the world (thanks hormones).
I remember holding you as you had reflux and I didn't know how to help you, so I just walked around the house as you cried in pain, tiny sharp finger nails clawing at my face and chest. I remember the guilt I felt - "I'm a bad mother because I'm sick of you crying", or "I'm a bad mother because I leave you to cry".
It has been the hardest and best year of my life. You are the apple of my eye. You have brought healing to my life. Deep joy and fullness. Your precious father and I have learnt so much. We wouldn't change anything! We love to play peek a boo with you, to watch you sleep, to cuddle and kiss you, to watch you explore our back yard. You are our darling.
But I want to share that the first year of motherhood hasn't been easy. All mothers have unique experiences; some find it easier than others. But whether we have a smooth birth, or a traumatic one, whether our baby has colic or eczema or allergies, or is perfectly healthy, whether we endure Post Natal Depression or not - the adjustment is the most significant one a woman will ever face.
Happy Birthday darling daughter. And happy one year anniversary of being a mother to me.
Emma Batts is the clever creator of Heartfelt Kitchen a place where she shares her recipes, tips and stories from the heart of the home. Her recipes, food styling and photography is just divine! Check it out for yourself.