In case I hadn’t already noticed it there are often plenty of people keen to point out to me the fact that, at 32, I haven’t yet had children so am not a mother.
The first part of that is absolutely true of course; at this point in time I have no children of my own having so far not found the right person to bring children into the world with. The second part, however, I would disagree with…
You see, at 4.30am I was on my hands and knees clearing up sick and other things I won’t mention after a bout of extreme poorliness from the most important little lady in my life. Feeling very sorry for herself she wasn’t exactly in the mood to go back to sleep meaning no bed for me either, so we took out a blanket and the two of us snuggled up on the sofa where she slept while I stroked her head, Reiki’d her tummy and tried not to worry while watched TV.
We’ve spent most of the rest of the day in that same position; a couple of times she’s decided to make the most of our holiday in the most beautiful place on Earth, but each of those has lasted only a short time before the patient realised that the sofa was the only place she wanted to be today so we’ve headed home where I’ve boiled and cooled water and cooked copious amounts of scrambled egg to try and settle her stomach.
All in all, today has felt a lot like being a mother. However the little girl I’m referring to isn’t my daughter, or even a friend or family member’s daughter for that matter, she is my dog.
Yes I know Kali isn’t human, but she is my baby. And as I’ve said before, while I may not have a human child to look after, that doesn’t stop me being a mother.
Mothers come in all sorts of shapes and forms; some have biological children of their own to take care of, others have children who may not share their DNA but are no less their children – human or otherwise, and some aren’t even female.
Yes a biological mother and her child share something special that I can’t claim to have experienced yet from the older aspect of that partnership, but what truly makes a mother is the ability to care, to love, to nurture and to keep safe.
Over the years many people have tried to make me feel that I am somehow lacking because I’m yet to have children of my own. And that hurts, because I would love to experience the miracle of growing new life and of giving birth to my own child. But the one thing I will never allow those people to suggest is that I’m not a mother.
So before you judge someone as not knowing or understanding what it means to be a mother consider their wider relationships; look at the way they care for those around them, and ponder whether actually they could teach you a little something about mothering too.