Motherhood

by Kim on November 18, 2015 · 39 comments

On the day I learned I was pregnant I walked the dirt road to the beach in our little Mexican town.

It was a warm and cloudless January day. The waves were big and churning, shooting tendrils of foam towards the sky. Inside of me there was a secret. Outside of me the world had taken on a different hue. The sun had brightened into a vibrant glow. The trees had grown a deeper shade of green. The sand, I swear, was warmer underfoot.

I walked north along the coastline. The breeze off of the water was as strong and thick as honey. I lay my hand on my stomach, atop the cotton of my shirt. My body was doing the work of building a new life.

I passed a man. He smiled at me. “Hello,” he gestured towards the water. “Beautiful day,” his voice was carried off by the wind. I looked at him, old enough to be my father. I thought you are someone’s child. I smiled back. I thought it is a miracle that you are here.

For weeks afterwards I could not pass another living thing- person, pony or goat- without thinking the astounding thought that they, just like all of us, had once been a mere cluster of cells, splitting and sprouting, taking the shape that would one day sustain them.

Today, Brian and I perch over our daughter with the same sense of wonder. We talk of the infinite string of events that had to go right in order for her to be here. Life is such a gift when you think of it like that. One day earlier or one day later, one mutation, one mismatched chromosome. That’s all that stood between any of our lives and nothing at all.

When my daughter was born I was struck with a deep animal instinct to protect her and an acute understanding that she is not really mine. It was my job to bring her into the world. For the moment it is my job to feed her and bathe her, to keep her warm and safe and to lay the indestructible foundation of love that she will build the beams of her life on.

But it is also my job to one day release her. Because she is not just my daughter. She will also be someone’s friend, someone’s classmate, someone’s lover, someone’s mentor. Perhaps she will one day be someone’s mother. She belongs to the world. So do I and so do you. We belong to each other.

Becoming a mother is like going to sleep as a house cat and waking up as a tiger. There is fierceness in me that wasn’t there before. But there is new softness too. Because when I look at my daughter I am reminded that we all started out like this, naked and needy and good.

My child has not yet been scared or hurt or disappointed. She has never been betrayed. She does not know about violence or anger or hate. I wish I could protect her from those things forever. But I can’t because those things exist in the world that I have brought her in to. The only thing I know to do is to show her the other side of each coin: security, comfort and joy, honesty and peacefulness, compassion and love.

It feels like an overwhelming job. Because it means I need to be better than I am. I need to be brave when I am afraid. I need to show compassion when I am angry. She is watching.

It seems like these are scary times to be a mother. Maybe every mother at every time throughout history has had that thought? I want my child to know a world fueled by love and acceptance and peace. I want my child to go to school without the fear of getting shot. I want her to travel the world without the worry of violence or terror.

I do not think this is an impossible dream. I know the love I have for my child and I know that every child has a mother. We are everywhere. There is no amount of hate that can drown our kind of love.

Motherhood

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Suzi November 18, 2015 at 10:52 am

Yes…Love breeds more love. Thank you for sharing your light of love!

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Kim November 22, 2015 at 10:24 am

It does 🙂 I struggle sometimes to keep the love and positivity at the center of myself but I think it’s important work and a way we can each individually make the world a better place.

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Adena November 18, 2015 at 11:02 am

Yes! Roar!
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Kim November 22, 2015 at 10:24 am

Indeed!

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Mima November 18, 2015 at 11:08 am

“Becoming a mother is like going to sleep as a house cat and waking up as a tiger.” wonderfully said Kim. wonderful post. so happy for you and Brian and your precious one.
Best,
Mima

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Kim November 22, 2015 at 10:25 am

Thanks Mima. She is bringing us so much joy.

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Clare November 18, 2015 at 11:17 am

A lovely read. I love how you say there is no amount of hate that can drown out our love. I feel the same. I nodded along to so much of this. Having just passed the one year of motherhood mark, I can only say that the feelings grow even more intense. In the best possible way!
Clare recently posted..Happy Birthday Holiday Baby!

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Kim November 22, 2015 at 10:25 am

I’m sure the feelings do grow more intense and I can’t wait 🙂 So excited to see who she becomes.

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Amanda @amandaelsewhere November 18, 2015 at 11:22 am

I’m not a mother, but your words speak to me and this post breathes so much life into me, especially in light of this dark week.
Thank you.

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Kim November 22, 2015 at 10:27 am

Thank you Amanda. You don’t have to be a mother to understand, of course. I’ve just found that I care so much more (terrible that I didn’t care as much before…) now that I have this new stake in the future.

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Joanne Morton Joseph November 18, 2015 at 11:36 am

Kim, I read each word with a bit of awe, understanding and respect. You have a beautiful grasp on what matters in life; the importance of love, kindness and security. May your daughter have the life you dream for her. May she help the next generation by sharing these values.

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Kim November 22, 2015 at 10:27 am

Thanks Joanne. That is my hope too, that my daughter will have the life I dream for her. Thanks for your kind words.

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Rhonda November 18, 2015 at 11:55 am

And now I remember acutely why I have so missed your writing. You have such a gift, my friend, to evoke real emotion. Although not a mother myself, by choice, I can fully appreciate that fierceness in you. Thinking of how deeply and fiercely protective I am of Jim and our dogs, I can only imagine the depth of these instincts for someone you have actually brought into the world. Life truly is a miracle. I’m sorry you won’t be able to protect her from all of the negatives of the world but, I guess, they too are part of what makes us human.

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Kim November 22, 2015 at 10:28 am

Thanks Rhonda. And as a doggie mommy myself (RIP Bear and Macy) I can say that they are the same feelings of fierceness and love!

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Les Petits Pas de Juls November 18, 2015 at 12:16 pm

much needed words after the terrible weekend in Paris.
so glad to read you, hear you, see you, feel you there and the way you look at your child.
These thoughts are exactly what I wish everyone would have.

Thank you.
Be awesome! xoxoxox
Jul’
Les Petits Pas de Juls recently posted..Nostalgia upon Becoming an Aunty

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Kim November 22, 2015 at 10:29 am

We need more love and compassion in the world at this moment. This is just the tiny way I can offer it in my little corner of the Internet.

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Tiffiney November 18, 2015 at 1:11 pm

Yes, yes, yes!

The whole world looks different when you become a mother. I always grew so bored of women talking about their children when I was young, and then now…even thought I don’t always speak of them–my whole world view has changes. Expanded is how I would put it.

We CAN and WILL raise a generation of lovers!

Xo
Tiffiney recently posted..Exploring the Ruins of Oaxaca

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Kim November 22, 2015 at 10:31 am

Oh yes. I have been quoted as saying that babies are boring! Now I’m like, tell me everything about your child. Because I totally get it now. But I try to reserve my baby babbling only for my friends with kids (though, I’m probably not doing too good at that!).

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Andrea November 18, 2015 at 4:31 pm

Aw you a mom…I love this so much, and I am going to love it more as each year passes to hear where you are at as well. My oldest is 9 in three weeks…she amazes and inspires me daily to become a better person. They are born with total innocence and they hold on to it for so very long. Mine teach me every day, thus helping me teach others. Most days I am in awe of both of my children how they view the world, how their love teaches us. Some days I just can’t wait to see who they are going to become! Enjoy the ride!

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Kim November 22, 2015 at 10:32 am

It will be such a joy to watch her grow and to discover who she is. It’s now the thing I most look forward to. They are little teachers, aren’t they? And what a wonderful mom you are to embrace their lessons. XO

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Cheryl Dinan November 18, 2015 at 6:05 pm

Kim,

The thoughts are beautiful and so true.
Cheryl Dinan recently posted..Motherhood

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Kim November 22, 2015 at 10:33 am

Thanks mom 🙂

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allmypretty November 19, 2015 at 3:16 am

Well said! Motherhood changes you intrinsically… It had made me see the world with a new mind. You are glowing!
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Kim November 22, 2015 at 10:33 am

It is pretty crazy how motherhood rearranges things- I was ready for the change of scenery 🙂

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Kathy Dinan November 19, 2015 at 5:48 am

Beautifully said, Kim. The Places She’ll Go!

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Kim November 22, 2015 at 10:33 am

Thanks Kathy!

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Andi November 19, 2015 at 7:34 am

This is the most perfect post!
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Kim November 22, 2015 at 10:34 am

Thank you Andi. I’m sure you are enjoying your little one as much as I’m enjoying mine.

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Steve C November 19, 2015 at 7:41 am

Hi Kim, funny, I was just thinking of you guys yesterday and how I hadn’t heard from you in awhile. The reason? Motherhood! It’s all consuming. This post is going to be forwarded to my daughter, who has a one-year old. You’ve stated everything that “is” a mother.
So now I guess we’ll all see just how long it will take for your young one to become a “Traveler”. I suspect she’s already traveling in her mind, just in another dimension.
Welcome back.

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Kim November 22, 2015 at 10:36 am

Steve! So good to hear from you!! I remember vividly your remarks on parenting when we met in California. You children and grandchildren bring you such joy. I’m not sure when Juniper will become a traveler, but I can’t wait to show her our beautiful world. So much good out there despite all the scary news lately.

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Carmel November 19, 2015 at 8:30 am

This is so beautifully expressed. I still am in awe every time I touch my ever-expanding belly and think, “we made this.” You’re right though – we would like to think our kids are ours to hold on to for eternity, and we will in a way, but we have to prepare them to be let go in the not-so-distant future. What a miracle, though. Makes you have that much more respect for all of life.
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Kim November 22, 2015 at 10:39 am

When I was 10 days overdue I was walking around Target and everyone I saw I thought you were BORN… this is obviously my line of thinking when it comes to reproduction (you were MADE, you were BORN… what a miracle!). Anyway, it seemed so incredible because at that moment it felt like my own child was never, ever going to decide to be born and here were all these other human beings that had BEEN BORN. I guess my point is that it really does make you look at life in a different way. Because normally I do not think those things while wondering around Target 😉 XO

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Darcy November 19, 2015 at 10:19 am

Beautifully said, Kim. I’m so happy for your new venture into motherhood and all the changes this brings.

Much love and peace to your family,
Darcy
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Kim November 22, 2015 at 10:39 am

Thanks Darcy. Love and peace to you and your family as well.

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Gilda Baxter November 20, 2015 at 12:56 am

Both my children are at University now and I miss them badly, although we are in contact every day I miss tucking them into bed at night and in the morning when they would come running into our bedroom and jump on us laughing and playing. But you are so right, our children belong to us for a short period of time only and it is our job as parents to prepare them for the world out side. It is not an easy job, but it is very rewarding.
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Kim November 22, 2015 at 10:40 am

I’m already enjoying every minute because I know they won’t last. Juniper is so small now. She loves to sleep on my chest and snuggle in close and I just think- there will be a day when she won’t do this with me so I have to soak it up while I can.

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Kate Oatis November 23, 2015 at 4:00 pm

Enjoying following your blog. How many of us would love to quit our jobs to travel and write and how few actually do. And that little Juniper is darling!

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Patrick December 1, 2015 at 12:46 pm

Great words and great job! Jess and I are so happy for all of you!

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Simone December 8, 2015 at 12:46 pm

This was so beautifully written!

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