Technically speaking we are mothers as soon as we become pregnant for the first time. We are carrying a baby within us and we are responsible for that baby. However, I asked over thirty mothers, if they felt like a mum in their first pregnancy and the answer came back as a resounding (but not universal) ‘NO’. It seems that for a lot of us when we are pregnant, although we know we are carrying a baby, it feels as if we are not in control. Our bodies are working away, but we have no conscious impact on what is happening except by taking care of ourselves. We can eat well, rest and make sure we do nothing harmful but overall our bodies are doing the care-taking for us.
Motherhood and responsibility go hand-in-hand
The feeling of responsibility often comes when we are aware of our own impact on someone or something else. We instinctively know that motherhood and responsibility go hand-in-hand. We know we are a mother when we feel responsible for a new life. So for many of my mums, the sense was that their bodies were in charge until they had their first baby and had to actually take care of them.
However, there were notable exceptions. The mothers that answered my question with an emphatic “YES”, were those that throughout their pregnancies were made acutely aware of the responsibility they bore to their yet unborn offspring. These women needed to make decisions about their babies whilst they were pregnant. They were faced with choices about having invasive medical tests or possible terminations because of health issues spotted from a scan or test. This brought the responsibility they had for the life within them into sharp focus. These women were forced into making decisions about their babies life long before most of us are thinking about much more than our need to eat healthily.
From this simple question to all my mums, it seems clear that motherhood and responsibility are one in the same thing. Even if we haven’t thought of it in that way, we seem to know, even before we have our babies, that being the the one in charge is ‘motherhood’. The sooner that we are truly aware of our responsibility the sooner we feel like a mother.
I would love to know if this was your own experience or you found it different? When did motherhood start for you?
So what is next?
If you liked this article then you may also like:
- The Emotional First Weeks With A Newborn
- Milestones – Letting Go Of Our Children
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