March 9th, 2010
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The Motherhood ExperienceI recently had a conversation with a good friend, someone I respect and appreciate very much. The long and short of it is that our conversation centered on motherhood–by means of either biology or adoption. While she’s always been completely open to adoption and doesn’t personally view it as “the absolute last resort”, she did state that it is her belief that the true motherhood experience begins at conception.

I disagreed, stomped my foot, and pouted.

But a few hours later, I realized she was so right on.

While pregnant with Bear, I felt every kick, every nudge, every stretch. I felt horrid for the first three months; I cried out of misery almost every night for two weeks prior to his birth. He was very much a part of my life before he was even physically in my arms. My motherhood experience began at conception.

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So what about Beauty? And Bella? Naturally, I feel the same maternal instinct toward my daughters as I do my son; I don’t feel less of a mother to my girls in any way, shape, or form. So when did my motherhood experience begin? When I received Beauty’s referral? When she arrived home? When I first learned of Bella’s very existence? The day we so gladly and gratefully welcomed her into our family–and into my arms?

Maybe. Maybe this was the beginning, but I’m inclined to say it probably wasn’t. In fact, I know it wasn’t. The motherhood experience for me began long before I met my daughters (at nine months and almost four months of age respectively). In fact, it might have began prior to their conceptions, if you’re looking at it through a mathematical lens.

Motherhood is an amazing, beautiful thing. It opens you to this world of love so intense you never thought possible. I believe that my personal motherhood experience began the moment I understood I needed to find a way in which to realize my dream. While it started a bit more traditionally with Bear–a positive pregnancy test sent me spiraling through so many emotions and ending with joy and love–my motherhood experience with Beauty and Bella hasn’t lacked any of the luster, believe me. It’s a different kind of “start”; perhaps one that began prior to conception, prior to the moment I realized that somewhere across the distance (both near and far), there was a beautiful baby girl who would one day fill our family and my heart. There’s that old adage that’s scrawled upon so many different adoption keepsakes “never forget for a single moment that while you didn’t grow under my heart, you did grow in it”. That might be a loose paraphrase, but the concept very much remains the same.

My motherhood experience, in my opinion, started with a dream built upon love–for all three of my children who have found me in three different but no-less-amazing ways. Motherhood transcends biology, transcends adoption, and builds its foundation firmly upon love. And so say The Beatles, “love is all you need”.

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2 Responses to “The Motherhood Experience”

  1. mommyof1 says:

    I think I felt a little bit like a mother who was expecting as soon as we started with the adoption process. When we had our first home study and filled out our first forms. I loved the baby I knew would one day be our child. But even though I felt a deep rooted love for our daughter upon match I still also realized that then she still had a mother who was expecting her. Even though her birth mother called me “mommy,” I just had this knowledge that I wasn’t a mother quite yet- I was in love with being a mommy and this soon to be born baby but I didn’t give way to the feeling of being mommy until the papers were signed. I think I wanted to acknowledge her birth mother as an expectant mother but also maybe protect myself if she had changed her mind. Now I don’t think of myself as an adoptive mother- I am just a mother! You are so right- motherhood transcends it all! Thank you for your story!

  2. I think about this topic ALL the time. I have been kicking around the idea of writing a book on it. It’s funny that the day I join this site, this topic is up. Is it just me? That is weird, right? I don’t know if I agree with your friend though. I think it’s very personal. For me, the true pregnancy experience starts when I was pregnant, but the true motherhood experience didn’t start until I actually felt like I was being a mom…saying NO and BECAUSE I SAID SO. That is when I started feeling like a mom.

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