First Pregnancy – Are You Already A Mother?

6wg3xV1433445393Did you feel like a mother when you were pregnant with your first child?

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?

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16 thoughts on “First Pregnancy – Are You Already A Mother?

  1. Interesting post and I had never really thought about this. For me I think the answer is yes and no. No, because nothing can ever quite prepare you for the immense and overwhelming feeling of love and responsibility when your child is born and you settle into motherhood, but then also yes, because the guilt that comes with motherhood started before my child was born. I felt guilty if I drank a sip of wine, worked too hard, forgot to take my vitamins etc etc.
    Thanks for this blog post. It is a really interesting question.

    The Single Swan recently posted…The Royal baby has re-affirmed my belief in fairy talesMy Profile

    1. Thank you for sharing this. Your comment is something that has been echoed by other women I have spoken to. They felt that guilt kick in during their pregnancies but also didn’t truly feel like mothers.

  2. This is so tough, I know someone who’s daughter had such a serious condition a birth it seemed she would not have a healthy life, or indeed any quality of life. Had the doctors picked it up at scan stage they told her they would have strongly advised on a termination. In reality after several very long operations the girl had grown up to be a normal healthy teen, with a lovable health condition. Thank goodness for the incompetence of the person that missed this. It saved that decision ever being made. A bit like fate, but like you so rightly say when face with a decision about your unborn child comes a huge responsibility as a Mum.
    Sarah Christie recently posted…Galleria Umberto, NaplesMy Profile

    1. Motherhood does bring with it huge responsibilities, wether we are fully aware of it or not. We can face tough choices as parents. I am so glad to hear that it worked out for the family you referred to. Thank you for your comment.

  3. I definitely didn’t feel like a Mom yet. I didn’t even really understand what it all meant until my baby was in my arms and it finally sunk in. Then the title just made sense.

    1. Thank you for that Julie. It is my opinion that no one understands what it is to be a mum until they are one. And nine years in I am still learning.

    1. Your feelings are reiterated by so many women. For many of us that sense of being a mother gradually builds and becomes more real with time. Thanks for your comment.

    1. That is so interesting. Just in these comments I have had such differing views. It is all down to responsibility as you suggest but maybe also the perception we have of ourselves in relation to motherhood. Thank you for your comment.

  4. This is a really interesting post. I might buck the trend here and say yes, I did feel like a mum from the second I knew I was having a baby.

    I went on a massive journey before I became pregnant for the first time though. I had a very dysfunctional childhood, left home at 15, and over the course of the decade that followed my life spiralled out of control through drinking and partying. After hitting rock bottom, I turned my life around by breaking free from negative influences and self-destructive behaviour. I found out I was pregnant just over two years later, and by the time my eldest came along I was very much a whole new and improved me. Ready to welcome what came next with open arms…
    Mummy Tries recently posted…In Pursuit of the Elusive Viral Blog PostMy Profile

    1. You are not really bucking the trend here. I have had views from both directions. I think our journey before motherhood and our sense of ourself as a mother before we have children play a big part in this feeling. Thank you so much for commenting. It is great to hear about your journey.

    1. glad this reminded you and made you think. I didn’t really think about it at the time either. It is only with hindsight that I realised it took me a while to grow into the ‘mum’ role

  5. Thinking back, I don’t think I felt like a mum when I was pregnant. I knew I was pregnant, I knew my body was doing a wonderful thing and I was responsible in my actions to protect the baby as much as I could but I don’t think I felt like mum. And yet, you are right, I do all of those things now and I am a mother, so maybe I should have felt like one in pregnancy and maybe I will feel more like it next time roung (if I am lucky enough to have another). Thanks for sharing such an insightful post with #TwinklyTuesday

    1. Hi Lisa. your response is so interesting. I don’t think there is any ‘should’ about it – we feel how we feel. I didn’t feel like a mum until I had a baby to hold and even then it took a while. I think this is a very personal thing and varies widely. Speaking of second time round, I think for me because I was a mum already, it was different. I didn’t have any identity shift going on. It will be interesting to see what it is like next time for you. Thanks for your comment.

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