13 April 2012

Thinking of Motherhood...

For 8 years, I have wanted to become a mother.  But, because so many years have passed by, I have learned to become truly content in my very full day-to-day life & sometimes I go for days or weeks without really thinking that much about being a mother.  But when it happens, I embrace it.  And I am thankful for those few slivers that I do have when my mind wanders fully to the vision of me as a mother.  In fact, because I do live such a mother-less lifestyle, lately I have tried to purposefully make more time to practice envisioning myself as a mother...just so I don't have to squint so much to actually see it.  These photos helped me one day - a bunch - to bring some of those thoughts into my mind.....
When I saw these photos, I was overcome with thinking about what it might be like to feed a child.  I tried hard to envision myself breastfeeding, staring at a breathing baby on my chest who needed nourishment.  I tried hard to envision ME carrying a baby on my hip, having one fall asleep warmly in my arms, hearing a wee cry in the night and waking to attend to a little one (and actually wanting to), smelling my own child, letting it's little hands hold my fingers during a feeding, changing diaper after diaper and not being bothered, just feeling so motherly as I care for a new, young life.

 I hope by making time in my day to have this vision that it will help motherhood to feel less & less foreign, despite the time that goes by.  I know this may sound crazy, but I hope when it happens, that it will feel real and natural and that it will really feel like me, and that I will, indeed, feel like a mother....

And what about for you?  Was it/is it hard for you to envision yourself as a mother?  And, for you mothers....did you FEEL like a mother right away?  If not, did it eventually kick in??  I think about this stuff all the time.  So curious.


[These photos (more here) are of our amazing wedding photographer and her baby.  I believe she was first pregnant about the time of our wedding in Boston.  :) :)  I just like thinking that it was a new, exciting chapter for both of us.  Btw, Rachel will be in NYC for shoots the second week of May in case you need any portraits or commercial work done.]


  1. Miss Mara, there is no question that when the time comes you will be an AMAZING mother—I already look up to your mothering skills in fact. Can't wait. xx

  2. New reader here, I really love your blog and your message! Before I became a mom, I used to do the same thing. It's just as wonderful as you imagine it being, and even more so, to be a mom. It's just as peaceful and natural as you think it'll be. There are also moments of absolute PANIC, where you really do wonder, "What was I thinking?!" but those are overshadowed by the awesomeness. I'm so excited for you and your husband to experience it. I just had my second baby. My first is a girl, and I've just loved being her mom. I was a little nervous to have a boy (excited, but a little nervous), but as soon as he latched on the first time, I fell completely in love with him.

  3. I ADORE those pictures. Love pictures of breastfeeding women. I find it sad that our society is so uncomfortable with how women feed their babies. I'm not one to whip out my boob in public, but I think breastfeeding women are beautiful. I was shocked at how much I loved breastfeeding. I always knew I would do it, but it really is so incredibly bonding, and it makes you feel SO MOTHERLY! It takes work at first, but so worth it! Mara, I picture you being a mother too! Good things are to come!

    1. I agree people shouldn't be so squemish about women breastfeeding. That said, I was very discreet during the 9 plus yrs. (collectively) I was blessed to nurse my 5 kids.

      I miss it seeing these beautiful photos. But, my time was over.

  4. Those pictures are so lovely. My journey to motherhood was not the usual and well worn path. My husband and I took the less beaten path as well. I got pregnant through IVF in 2003 but miscarried at about 10 weeks. I had been persuing pregnancy for so long and finally achieved it but it did not result in a baby. I read a quote from a woman about shifting gears from persuing pregnancy to persuing motherhood. We put our adoption papers in within a few months of that miscarriage. For us we just KNEW that adoption was our path. Our daughter arrived in 2004 and our son in 2006 (today is my sons 6th birthday actually!) We wanted more children and had our adoption papers in with NO contacts for a long time so we revisited the idea of IVF. Last spring I was getting ready to start the IVF process when we discovered that I was 2 months pregnant (take that doctors and stubborn body!) Our second son was born this past December. I can truly say that although I didn't give birth until I was well into my 30's I became a mother the day my daughter was placed in my arms in 2003. This is certainly not what I thought my path to motherhood would look like when I started but Oh how thankful I am that this was my path. No matter how we get there or don't I think living and embracing our path is essential to joy. For what it is worth I can totally picture you with a babe on your hip. :)

    1. Ratch, that's a beautiful story. I really admire people who adopt. And it seems that pregnancy happens after people adopt!

    2. Thanks Sage! I love my cute grafted family and even though people would comment to me all the time about pregnancy after adoption I was as shocked as everyone else when it happened.

  5. Yay I commented after Bri! I love her!!!

  6. I don't think you have anything to worry about. You've got the maternal instinct and it will come naturally. This is coming from a woman who wanted nothing to do with children and after 13 years of marriage had a beautiful little girl. Four and a half years later and I have no idea why we waited so long. You'll be great :)

  7. Ratch, I didn't know you read this blog!!! I LOVE YOU TOO!

  8. These are the most beautiful pictures and capture the intimate feelings of mothering in the early days. Oh, my. I am a young mother and often felt (and feel, a lot!!) inadequate. But I'm also surprised, all the time, at how natural it is. Just today I was looking at my boy, thinking, "I am his mom. Me. I had him. I made him. He came out of me." Totally amazing and weird and wonderful all at once! When you become a mom, it will be so natural. I can tell. :) ha! Because we're best friends, of course! No, really, just from reading about you and Danny, you'll be the best parents ever. You're going to love it.

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  10. Mara you will be a wonderful mother some day. I can't even imagine myself in your shoes, not being able to have children. What a great example of a courageous woman you are. Motherhood came very naturally to me. Maybe because I'm the oldest of nine children, maybe because I've daydreamed about being a mother since I was a very young girl. I don't know why, but it has. And I know it doesn't come easily for everyone but I've loved every minute of it. It's funny how much easier it is to change your own baby's diaper than anyone elses child. I've gotten so used to smelling like milk and spit up and having snot on my shoulder and it doesn't bother me ha. Being a mom is wonderful and I know that someday and somehow you will be able to have a child of your own and it will be more wonderful than you can ever imagine :)

  11. These pictures are beautiful. For me becoming a mother was more real after we left the hospital. In the hospital there are all the nurses and doctors who constantly check on you and it kind of feels like you and your baby are being babysat. Afterwards, when at home, and the responsibility of your child falls completely on you, I definitely felt more like a mom. The maternal instinct kicks in and you don't even think about it, you are just mom all of a sudden. Motherhood is really easy if you let it become you. If you fight for your old life, it'll be really hard. And anyway why would you want your old life when you have a new life with a child? When you get there you'll love it.

  12. I actually had fertility issues for a couple years when I was first married. I had imagined being a mom since I was little. Being the 6th of 8 kids, I had the opportunity to babysit my 3 mo old nephew when I was about 12 and was often around babies. I remember imagining what it would be like to be pregnant when I was 14 and my sister-in-law was expecting. I wanted to be pregnant too.

    Then, when we were ready after just 6 mos. of marriage (I was 23), nothing happened. I felt broken. I struggled to sit through church seeing all the other mothers. After over a year of trying, Clomid worked and I had my first son. It was a challenge being a mother, but a wonderful one.

    I think I couldn't say I honestly enjoyed getting up in the night or changing diapers until my 4th and 5th came along unexpecedly after never not trying six years after our 3rd. My first three are 3 1/2 years apart (always wondered when we'd get pregnant again). The only thing that worked after the Clomid was to move. We have only used birth control for 6 mo. in 21 years and have only gotten pregnant when we move (or are planning to move!)

    So, there's my life story! I pray you will get the chance to be parents and have your souls shaped even more like our Heavenly parents. What an experience!

  13. I'm so glad you posted on this Mara!

    I just posted on my blog TODAY a beautiful story of motherhood and love.... a story about a woman who was diagnosed with ACUTE MYELOID LEUKEMIA as she was delivering her first baby.... this is my boyfriends sister. Her story is one of faith, hope, and courage and so much more! I'd love for you to check it out! Seriously, she is such an inspiration and her story will touch your heart (although, I haven't posted it entirely... it'll be a series).

    Here's the link if you're interested.


    I've been crying the last two days as I've been writing her story. It was 18 months ago. I can't imagine the feelings she must have felt that day, and throughout her journey... Such a beautiful story of life and love.

    As for me, I was terrified to be a mom. Pregnancy was beautiful, delivery was smooth and easy but breast feeding was NOT! Inverted nipples and an overproduction of milk were not the greatest of combos. I was forced to stop nursing and I felt like the worlds worst mom EVER. Guilt flooded me for weeks and weeks and I felt like I was such a failure. But as soon as I realized that my body was doing the best it knew how and was able to let go of the guilt, it was then that I was able to focus more on the many amazing things I was doing for my son :)

    Like Amy mentioned above, the maternal instinct will kick in and you'll be a pro :) it might not be exactly how you envision it, but you'll adapt! Great things are in store for you, Mara! You'll be a wonderful, wonderful mom!


  14. I always wanted to be a mother and the calling was so strong I was thrilled when my husband and I decided to try. Getting pregnant was easy but the pregnancy was the hard part. At my 20 week ultrasound I was sent immediately to the hospital and put on strict bedrest. As hard as it was to be home alone like a prisoner in my own home with trips to the doctor as my only outings; I would have stood on my head 24 hours a day if it meant getting my healthy, sweet son. There are so many variables in every pregnancy that can make it scary, trying and euphoric at the same time. The thing is it isn't just pregnancy and childbirth that brings these feelings it's motherhood. It's like the world's best club.

  15. I was always afraid to be a mother. Although I have an amazing Mom, my husband's was very, very terrible (and still is) and we have been dealing with his emotional and physical abuse for most of our marriage. I spent my pregnancy having panic attacks that I would do the same thing to our soon-to-be son and that I would never be good enough. Once I held him in my arms and looked in his sweet eyes, I realized that I am not her. Not even close to being her and I would never be able to treat my son that way. You always hear about the love of a mother and it is truly amazing and so different from any love you may feel. I feel that seeing how a neglectful, hurtful, selfish mother can hurt an innocent little boy has made both my husband and I so much more grateful that we can start over and we can raise our son in the home that every little baby deserves to be raised in. It makes being a mother that much more sweet. My little guy is a little over a year and he just makes it all worth it. I believe that every woman who wants to be a mother will have her turn. Just maybe not when she expects it all the time.

  16. Hi Mara, i loved those pictures. I LOVED nursing our children, it was an amazing experience. Before my mastectomy 3 weeks ago, I added up all the months of breastfeeding i was able to do and it was over 5 1/2 years total! So, i felt OK to say goodbye to that part of me, they did their job :) As far as feeling like a mom, for me it was instant. I had been thinking about it since I was about 10 years old, and just have loved it to pieces. You will be amazing! The instant you have that baby in your arms, you'll know he/she was meant for you and you will be a natural. The feeling of love and nurturing will pour out of your heart! And it just keeps coming. I feel like my heart grew each time to accommodate the next child instead of squeezing space out from someone else. You just enlarge your heart and mind and life and it's incredible, even though it's not perfect. Best wishes to you that you can experience this soon! love you!

  17. I was just referred to your blog by a friend. I loved this post and it was just what I needed to hear after my recent blog post. I am now a new follower and look forward to reading more of your posts!



  18. Go you for moving on with your life and living your life. I am on year 3 of infertility and in the process of IVF (I just had retreival today so I am laid out on the sofa today). It totally consumes your life and I am hoping that once this is over, if it doesn't work, I can finally get my life back too! Be happy and proud that you have overcome this challange and are in a great place in your life. Thats all we can aim to do!

  19. This is a great post and yes Mara, you will be a great mother! However for many women it's not always "instant" or automatically natural to become a Mother the minute you deliver a baby/adopt a baby. For many it takes a long time to get comfortable in your new role as a mother. I think its important to also define motherly instinct as this too doesn't come naturally to many women. I had a traumatic labor experience, horrible adjustment learning to breastfeed/chronic infections, recovering from c section major surgery, post partum depression for 5 months, a colicky baby for 3 months, and my husband lost his job during this time so many of the "beauties" of becoming a first time mom after longing for the day were kind of shot to hell the minute my labor began. Did I love my baby during all of this? Yes absolutely. But the romantic ideas I had of gazing sweetly into my infants eyes while breastfeeding or holding her while she napped peacefully every day were never a reality. What I have learned so far is that motherhood is incredibly difficult and has a steep learning curve,and requires complete surrendering of ones self to love and care for a baby. Like everything else in life, some people make the transitions easier than others and some are just given harder/more complications to work through. I wish I heard more about the "other" side of becoming a mother before I became one so that I would have been a little more prepared.

  20. Mara, this post brought me to tears.
    I have 4 children living and 1 in heaven. My youngest is 10 months old and we have reached the place where we are thinking about having more, or not.
    We are a single income family, we live in a house with one bathroom, and our 3 big kids share a room.
    I homeschool and all the kids are with me all the time.
    Sometimes I wonder if I have enough to give to another child.
    And yet.
    The moment my oldest was born I was awash in the deepest and most intoxicating love I have ever known.
    And when I had my second, I wondered could I feel that much love for another child.
    I did.
    And have with each one.
    Some people consider lots of children a burden.
    But they are just so amazing.
    Looking at these photos and remembering my newborn babes, I am overwhelmed by the gift of these babies.
    And I am overwhelmed with a sense of the longing you must feel for a baby of your own.
    I am sure this post was not easy to write.
    But I thank you for sharing it with us.
    Mara, I will pray for you and your babies.
    May God bless you with them.
    Love from,

  21. I wrote a long post, and then deleted it all, and now I will write a shorter one! (Just kidding, it still ended up being long.)

    It took us 4 years to get pregnant, this was after 5 years of waiting for the timing to be perfect (finished with school, both had jobs, traveled, a home.) We didn't realize it wouldn't work for us, like it had all friends and family. Eventually IVF was the answer to our unexplained infertility. I sometimes had a hard time accepting I was really pregnant, when it eventually happened. I didn't write in a pregnancy journal, we put off decorating the baby's room, but the moment my Lucy was born, was the moment I was changed forever. I was a mother instantly. I felt such a connection with her. I kept thinking, this perfectly formed being was just waiting for me to meet her. I didn't know all these months that she had a thick, thick head of jet black hair or my husbands serious expression. There were hard times and hardly any sleep, but I was so overwhelmed with the beautiful gift of her, and being her mother changed my soul. I'm now 33 and pregnant with IVF baby #2 and we are so grateful. Our journey hasn't been easy, but it has been blessed. My friend told me about your blog several months ago, and I'm a big fan. You write with such hope and happiness. Your future babies are so lucky to have you.

  22. I got married to my husband two weeks after I turned 18 and six months later we found out we were expecting our first, VERY much to our surprise! After working in daycares and preschools for years, I was excited and terrified, especially since I was so young. But the moment I held her in my arms and looked at this little person (who looked nothing like me but instead as if I had shipped her straight from China) I knew that I could never imagine my life without her. Two years later I still can't believe that I made her, every time I look at her I fall a little more in love. In a couple years we hope to have another baby but right now my husband and I are just basking in our beautiful daughter's love. Parenthood is the greatest blessing, be it through pregnancy or adoption.
    Someday you'll be an incredible mother and even more so because of what you're going through now.

  23. I've never been a "baby person." Babies frighten me. But when they're mine, they are MINE. I worried that I wouldn't feel a connection to them, since most babies don't really do a ton for me. But the connection was instant. Motherhood is pretty incredible like that.

    I think another thing that helped a lot was seeing my husband as a father. He's the cutest father ever. Seeing his eyes twinkle, looking at his newborn child. It's amazing.

    I love your perspective, Mara. I love that you don't ever make me feel bad for being a mother, even though you've not yet been able to have children. You're awesome.

  24. I'm with Tamra - watching my husband be a father is amazing. I fall in love with that man more and more as I watch them interact.

    We hit our 5th anniversary 1 month after our son was born. Up until then, I would sometimes stare at my husband in amazement that we were MARRIED. I picked him, he picked me. Wow! I don't do that (as often) any more.

    Now I have a 7 month old son and I stare at him in amazement. We have a BABY.

    I get nervous if I think too far ahead (crawling! walking! cub scouts! boy scouts! reading! math! high school! mission! dating! drugs! sex! teach him to be independent! teach him to be generous and kind! teach him to be brave!.........). So I have to remember that God teaches us many things "line upon line" in small bits. And He will help us to raise our son.

  25. Your post resonated so much with me because for many years, I vividly felt those feelings. I never thought I could know what it would be like... carrying a baby inside me, feeling it kick, hearing it's heartbeat, giving birth, breastfeeding. Such a profoundly moving experience... I couldn't possibly dream to be so fortunate. But it happened, and it happens all the time. Every one of those moments are as amazing as I'd imagined they would be, and you WILL know that one day. Never give up hope.

  26. I'm trying hard to envision the moment when my youngest leaves for college and I am free! (Sort of) It's a vision that keeps me going!

  27. A great post with so many good comments to read. Looking back on 5 pregnancies, 2 very complicated, 1 loss.... it's hard to remember what I thought it would be before. I do remember, because I'd been a babysitter and nanny and teacher, that I thought motherhood would be something that would come naturally. It didn't. I remember that someone told me when my oldest was 6 weeks old "The first 3 months are just hell and then it gets better." It was the single most helpful thing anyone said to me, and I wished someone had said it sooner. Breastfeeding is fantastic. And so is Similac. Postpartum depression is the worst. And on the other side: I continue to be amazed at the drive I feel to get these babies here. How hard I'm willing to fight for them. How insanely beautiful a baby's eyes are at 4:00 in the morning when no one else is around. How protective and completely smack in love I would feel with each one. It is so worth it. Will keep praying that this is your year...

  28. These photographs are very touching and heartwarming. I’m not a mother yet, but my husband and I are expecting. I’m three months pregnant and am very excited. Our pregnancy did come as a surprise, but we’re both very happy. I’m not sure I’m used to the idea of being a mother. Our plan now is that I’m going to take a few years off from working. That’s something I couldn’t fathom a few years ago. It puts my career on hold, but something about the decision felt right. My husband is scrambling to find extra income (since it’ll be just him bringing in the income) but neither one of us seems scared. We’re really excited about the adventurous years that lie ahead. But I wonder if I’m still looking at it through a distant lens. Do I really feel I’m mother material? Do I feel like a mother yet?
    Common Marriage Issues

  29. I know you wrote this awhile ago but I've just discovered your blog and am catching up:)I'm glad so many mothers feel natural as such, but I hope those who don't, don't feel like less of a mother. I was 28 when I married and we knew we wanted a large family so we haven't paused (expecting #6 1 week after our oldest turns 8) and I still feel like I'm fumbling through. Every day there are unforeseen challenges and, more importantly, joys and miracles(such as the days the people who find your children wandering through the store next to the one you're in bring them back to you). Yes, it's natural to love them when they're peacefully nursing or playing together or when they start reading the stories back to you, and it's just as natural to throw up your hands when they track mud across your in-laws' white carpet or pull the towel rack off the wall while "mountain climbing" or pee their pants for the 4th time in one day. You're right on when you say motherhood has to be for the children, not you. All those frustrating moments can drive away the joy when seen through self: "I'M going to have to clean that up, I'M going to have to pay for that, I'M going to have to stop doing what I'M doing to clean you up and start a wash load of pee-clothes." Sometimes I'm still surprised to see where I am, married and mother of 5 1/2. I couldn't imagine being married before it happened and now I can't imagine doing anything else with my life and nothing else seems more attractive. I think joy comes from what you've so beautifully done, living the life we have at the moment, the best we know how, whether or not it feels natural or fits our expectations. When each of my children were born I instantly felt overwhelming joy, love and wonderment at this new life being added to mine, not unlike the day a wonderful man's life was joined to mine. And others in our lives can elicit those same feelings. So whether they come through my womb, are small or grown, or are part of my nuclear family, I think that's what it is to feel like a mother.


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