I was a late bloomer. And as much as I love and respect my own mother, I did not want to be the kind of mother that she was. But that is a story for another time. I did not feel a biological urge towards motherhood until I was in my early 30s. A friend's wife had a baby at the hospital where we worked. It was convenient so I paid a visit and held the newborn. A tiny seed was planted. The urge grew stronger. Several months later I was on a medical mission trip in Ecuador, and one of our patients was the most beautiful brown skinned toddler with shiny black hair and black eyes. Again it was the heart to heart connection that I felt when I held this child that allowed that seed of desire to grow. Several years later, I fell in love with the man who became my life partner and the father of our only child.
For me, motherhood is both the most precious gift and the most demanding challenge I have been given. The gift is obvious. The challenge has to do with the importance of getting it right. More than anything, I did not want to mess up this precious being placed as a miracle in my care. As Devon began to grow and develop personality, I realized that he mirrored the best and the worst of me. This was such an unexpected opportunity for personal growth. It has been and continues to be an amazing spiritual journey. My son is 24 years old now. Independent. Thoughtful. Loving. Enjoying life. Providing love and care to his 6 month old giant puppy.
In honor of all mothers everywhere, I offer up this poem which for me articulates the ineffable process of becoming a mother.
I pushed With every fiber of my being And when I pushed past What I had mistaken For my limit Two were born.
That which is no longer Capable of sustaining life Was readily discarded; My previous existence And all that was familiar Has vanished.
For better than a year, I sat cross-legged On the steps of the temple, But now – the doors Of my heart burst open – I am permitted entrance; I begin and intensive Journey in love, nourished By an ineffable elixir.
My teacher has arrived And all that preceded Was preparation; Here, at the center of life My true practice begins.
by Susan Allen-Meyer