Not everyone is a natural mother, or has that maternal instinct that people assume all women will have. I’m definitely not the maternal type – I don’t coo over babies, and never longed for babies or children. When you’ve never seen yourself with children when younger, it did make me wonder how I would cope with motherhood.
I’d definitely have regretted not trying for a baby when we did. Unlike some women, I didn’t grow up thinking I’d have children. Even as an adult I didn’t see how children would be my thing. We had a niece and nephews we saw regularly, and I didn’t feel like life was missing a child of our own. But once I hit just over 30, I realised that I would regret not trying to have one, once I reached old age. Luckily the OH agreed.
Realising that was the best thing because if I’d not, we’d have never had N. It turned out that while I’m not a baby person, I’m a pretty good mum.
I don’t know if every mum thinks that. Maybe not. But I think more should realise that they are good mums.
Maybe if N hadn’t been such an easy pregnancy, or a happy baby. If he’d had lots of illnesses, or struggled with settling in at childcare. Not enjoyed school. Been really clingy. Or had been a fussy eater. Had serious illnesses. They would all have caused a lot of maternal guilt and worry. But we’ve been lucky so far, N’s been easy going and so far straightforward to look after. (I’m wondering if we’ll get the hard time arriving at teenage years).
Having a baby I didn’t know what to expect. I’d not been around babies or even that many children, and really had no idea what was going to hit us when our baby arrived. I was similar to my mum. Not a naturally maternal person. I don’t coo over babies, I’ve got used to children over the years and once they’re at an age you can understand and converse with them, they’re fine. But really I’m not a big child person.
I was a bit worried how I’d take to motherhood. Luckily it worked out well, and everything seemed to slot in place. Yes, there were a few chats to online mum friends to check in whether our baby was ‘normal’ and getting advice on what others were also doing. Getting together regularly with NCT friends and able to compare notes. I had my mum on hand back then to help out too.
Pre-motherhood I might not have felt like I would be a natural mother, but instinctively I just knew what was right for us
It turned out I had more maternal instinct than I’d thought I would be.
Maybe being maternal doesn’t mean loving babies and having motherhood as a key goal all the way through life.
I think a lot of my naturalness came with being a bit older as a mother. I certainly wouldn’t have been so confident in my abilities if I’d have a child when I was younger.
To me, being a natural mother is feeling confident in your capabilities as a mother, enjoying your children, and listening and leading them through life. It will mean different things to different people, but everyone can be a great mother to their own child, however they feel about other children. Because that’s what’s important. Being the right mother for your children so they can get the best out of their life and hopefully they’ll be the best people they can be in future.
We also grow into motherhood the longer we’re a mother. And understand more the way our own mums were too, even if we bring our own children up in a different way.
Being a mum is great, and I’m glad we decided we wanted to have a child, and that we were able to have N.
Did you think you’d be a good mother before you had children? Was motherhood something you always wanted?