When we become mothers we gain so much but we lose so much too. There are many losses and here I am not talking about some awful events but rather the natural process of being a mum to ever changing children.
The obvious gains and losses are that we have the addition of our new children but we lose the life we had before. We also learn so much but we have to forgo many of the freedoms of being independent and child free. There is, however, more to it than that.
At a deeper level, we become aware as mothers how love and loss are closely tied together. When we love, we risk loss. But it is more than that. Much more.When we love we risk loss Click To Tweet
We can never hold on to the moment. Time just ticks by and those things that we hold dear, naturally change. This is the wonderful but often difficult process of life. Nothing is ever static and this is never more obvious than with children. Whilst there is so much joy in watching them grow and develop, we can also experience a sense of loss. Loss at the rate of change. We love them so much that we want to hold onto them in that moment. For example, a baby at one month is so different from a baby at six months and sometimes that is a relief but sometimes we can feel sad about moving past each stage.
For me, when my son was nine months old I became acutely aware that the process of growth and development was happening so quickly. I had gone from feeling (in the early days) like everything was changing so slowly, to realising that he was growing out of being a baby and that I would never have that time back again. I wrote this when it was happening…
I can’t really remember him as a newborn baby and that worries me. My son is eating right now. He has stew on his chin and he is stuffing a large piece of melon in his mouth whilst bouncing backwards and forwards in his chair. There are peas and sweet corn everywhere. He is so incredibly beautiful to me that I want to believe I will never forget this. I look at him at times and my heart almost aches with love. But he is growing up so quickly and that has been brought home to me today. There is part of me that wants to slow him down but there is also a part of me that loves to see him grow and develop.
So many mothers speak of this feeling of loss, if not in so many words but in their actions and facial expressions. I mentioned to another mum at school how much her daughter was changing and her face scrunched up, as if to say ‘I know and it is happening too fast’.
Of course, there is no way of slowing the pace that our children grow and change and, in fact, we probably wouldn’t really want to. We want them to live and grow and develop into happy adults. But sometimes, just sometimes, that can feel sad too. To no longer have a baby, or a toddler, or a pre-schooler, whatever stage they have gone through that we enjoyed. Or it may be more subtle than that, for example
- Stopping breast or bottle feeding with all that wonderful eye contact.
- To no longer have those moments to cuddle them whilst carrying them from place to place.
- To no longer be able to kiss them because it is not cool anymore
- To find that they would rather read their own book than have a story read to them.
Of course we are pleased that they are moving on, walking, talking, have their own opinions and are really into a good book but….(long sigh). I guess the thing is to know that with each change there are losses but there are also gains. We are allowed to feel nostalgic and sad, but that too will pass because nothing ever stays the same.
I would love to hear your feelings on this topic. Do you find that you have mixed emotions as your children grow and change? What things do you feel the loss of the most?
So what is next?
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