That’s me at the ripe age of 2.5 months, gently cradled in the hands of the women who had dreamt me up in her mind for over 20 years. When asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, Terri’s response was always simple: She wanted to be a mom.
October 30, 1987 that dream was realized for her, and she managed to push all 8 lbs. 13 oz. of me out and into this world.
This woman rocked me to sleep in an old wooden chair (that she still owns), and as she gently lay my tiny little frame into the crib, she hoped for me.
She prayed that life would be good to me. That I would be a woman of great kindness and courage. She pictured our lives together and the world she would show me. She saw visions of laughter and joy. Of great teaching and wisdom that she could share with me. She saw a future for me, better than her own.
She also sacrificed. She refused to squash my dominant, strong-willed personality—despite what other’s tried to tell her about “kids like that”. She traded in her dream of being a stay-at-home mom for a career so that she could support us and our dreams instead. She wore the same few outfits to work week after week, using her money instead to make sure we had new clothes for school and cash for extra things.
My mom loves almost-30-year-old-me as much as she loved little-tiny-newborn-me which makes sense to me now that I’m also a mom, because I can’t ever imagine looking at my boys any differently than I do now. I still see them in my mind’s eye being placed on my chest directly after birth. I can see their delicate limbs and I can feel the swell of my heart growing.
Thinking about the love I feel for my own children has led me to take a closer look at my own mother and the feelings she must experience.
Fun fact: Becoming a parent looks the same in the brain as falling in love.
There are astonishing similarities in the areas of the brain that are activated from maternal and romantic love.
You know when you first fall in love and start ditching your friends to spend more time with your new boo? That same prioritization happens in your brain happens when you have a baby and both are due to levels of oxytocin and dopamine being released.
In fact, the simple act of caring for your baby (regardless of whether you gave birth to them or not) forges new neural pathways and creates changes in your brain that scientists are still trying to learn about.
So yeah, I guess you could say motherhood changes a person.
And that shows why mother’s carry around hearts full of unexplainable amounts of love for their children that never go away.
Have you ever thought about the background of your mother’s love?
Now that you know the science, let’s talk about your mama herself. Have you ever thought about the woman she was when you were a little itty bitty ball of gushy perfection? Have you ever taken some time to think about her age? The environment she was in? The sacrifices she made? The feelings she had for you?
If not, it’s an exercise I highly recommend. Taking the time to appreciate your own mother’s journey will not only give you a deeper love and appreciation for her, but it will also help heal wounds you may have from your relationship.
My mom and I have always been extremely close. I have been blessed in that way. Still, we have had our moments of disagreement, hurt feelings, etc. and one of the greatest things I did for our relationship was deciding that I would take the time to really think about how she loves me and who she was before me.
If you’re currently having a difficult time letting go of some negative feelings toward your mom, or you just want to understand her a little better, I’ve got a little exercise for you guys that’s completely free and very effective.