Lately, it seems the thing to do to make sure people know that while a woman might be a mother, first of all, and most importantly she’s a woman. I know why this has come about, and to a degree I understand. We all want to be the ones to determine our worth, and for that worth to be more than what society has assigned to us. We want to be the ones to call our own shots.
I definitely always took the view that I was more than just my womb. I never wanted kids until I turned 33, and always held a fairly feminist view of myself before that. But then I decided that I wanted a kid, and then I actually had one, at which point my womb became pretty important and valuable to me. Because of this, I went through a pretty radical shift in my beliefs and my identity, and when I came out the other side as a mom I wasn’t anything like the person I’d been before.
This is a sticky subject, but one I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. A womb, a woman, a mother, all linked together. I had a womb and was a woman before I had a child, and a woman doesn’t have to have a womb to retain her gender. A woman can become a mother without a womb through adoption, and a woman can still be a woman without ever becoming a mother.
There are lots of avenues to go down, but this one’s mine: I’m a woman with a womb who became a mother, and through that experience became more than each of these individual parts alone. In fact, I’ve become more of who I am than I ever could have before having a kid. Motherhood has given me a missing part of myself that I never realized was gone.
Because of this, I gladly take the role of Mother as my prime identity. To me, the term “Mother” is a giant umbrella, encompassing many different things at once. It means being a good and loving partner so that my daughter has a stable home and can see what a healthy relationship looks like. It means not walking away from a fight and working things out over and over again.
It means being compassionate and forgiving so that she will learn those skills as well. It means catching myself before I lose my patience, with her and with my partner. It means slowing down so that she can relax and just be a kid. It means being honest so that she can trust me completely. It means loving wholeheartedly so she can do the same. It means being generous, and kind because those are things I want her to practice too.
It means being wise, thoughtful, and understanding. It means being a good and caring daughter myself to my own mother because I can’t expect anything more from her than I do myself. It means reaching out and being a part of my community so that she will have a place in the world beyond our home, and so that she will learn strong social skills and be a friend to all. It means pushing myself beyond my comfort level to pursue my dreams so that she will know that it’s possible for her to do the same. It means that I become the self I never would have if I had never become a mother in the first place.
Motherhood stretches me and requires me to do uncomfortable things, the right things, the things I feel too tired to do but that need to be done anyways. I was still a good person before I had R, but I wasn’t my best. Now that I’m a mom, best is what I have to be. Being a mother has made me whole, and that’s why first, I’m a mother before anything else. I know my truth isn’t everyone’s, and that a lot of women are whole without ever having kids. That’s just not my story. And maybe it isn’t yours either.
If that’s the case, it’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it? Tell me your thoughts on this in the comments below :)