Borgman: The wonder of motherhood explained in under 500 words


Lori Borgman

The physical changes of impending motherhood are stunning. Though new curves and nausea can be dramatic, physical changes are only the beginning. The changes that create the deepest imprints happen in the heart.

The first change you notice is a depth love you never knew existed. You cradle that newborn in your arms and a deep swell of wonder encompasses your entire being. That tiny nose, those perfect little lips, those delicate eyelids. Are you floating in a third dimension or is this real?

Your senses blossom into fuller measure.

A faint rustling or soft whimper awakens you from a deep sleep.

You go with your gut when it tells you something is wrong.

Even your vision changes. As your child grows, so does your ability to see around corners and behind your back.

One day, you find you have grown tiger claws—and instead of trimming them, you sharpen them.

Your level of patience changes. You run short. You sometimes snap, bark, growl, grow impatient and ask yourself, “Who is this crank?”

Some days it feels like you absolutely cannot do one more 24-hour shift. But you do. “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night … nor colic, nor teething, nor lost pacifiers … nor adolescence, nor a driver’s license … .”

Over the years, your heart and emotions silently intertwine with your child’s. Your child succeeds, you enjoy the accomplishment. Your child suffers, you suffer. You even wish it was you suffering instead of your child.

God have mercy if you are a mother whose child dies before you do. Yet not even death can sever the tie between mother and child. A mother’s body is a child’s first home. A mother never forgets the life that once beat and grew within her.

I recently asked a friend about his wife, a mother of four, grandmother to nine and brand new great grandma to one, the woman with snow white hair, an easy smile and clear blue eyes. She has Alzheimer’s and resides in a memory care unit now.

He said the deterioration is progressing. She was restless the other day, so a staff member gave her a baby doll to hold. They sent him a picture of his wife, calmed and at peace, holding the doll. Then they sent a second picture— she was giving the doll a kiss.

He shared the picture with one of their daughters who said, “Once a mom, always a mom!”

Lori Borgman is a columnist, speaker and author. Contact her at [email protected].