Eight years ago, a tiny baby boy introduced me to the maternal instinct by arriving into the world and screaming at the top of his lungs day and night. It was a rude introduction to all things maternal and it did not help that most people around me kept giving me advice and criticizing my choices directly or indirectly. Thankfully, my husband and I constitute a great team and, with God’s help, we made it through the first year just fine.
Then, two more years went by, faster than you can say “I think I want to homeschool.” We had a baby girl. She completed us. I became a mother all over again and discovered it is actually possible to love two children just as madly as you loved the first one when he was your only and you thought, “I could not love another child just as much as this one.”
Back to my eldest. So nine months of worrying came to an abrupt end on the Sunday we turned the clocks back one hour, eight years ago. Just like that, I was a mother. Nobody prepared me for the extent of the changes in my life. I read many books about pregnancy, but not that many about motherhood. Honestly, somebody should warn women about the maternal instinct. I had no idea what it was. Hmmm… do I sense the beginning of another book idea?
When I kept holding a screaming baby and walking him up and down the halls, I surprised myself. Then, the realization sank in: this must me what they call maternal instinct. Through potty training, picture book reading, swim lessons, and the terrific two and threes and fours, I got acquainted with my fifth gear – the mommy gear – a.k.a. the maternal instinct. Simply put, the power (the urge, really) to put my needs aside and focus on his needs first. Continue reading