Thursday, February 13, 2014

Oh Maternal Love! Where art Thou?

With Valentines Day round the corner and all the Love Talk in the air,  I can't help but ponder this year about THE Mother's Love. I'm a mother you see, and that is a very important part of who I am today. In fact, it defines drives me (nuts and to places I've never gone before!)... and it determines what I think, do, say and the course of my life.

A lot is always spoken, written, discussed and said about the Mother's Love (And more so on Mother's Day!). So for a change I'm writing this post for Valentine's Day!

So what are the words which come to your mind when you think of a "Mother's Love" -  pure, selfless, unconditional, eternal, giving....

And who put a universal stamp on the "Mothers Love"? Who "defined" it with these words? Should all mothers feel this way? Do all mothers feel this way? All the time? What if, just what if, a mother did not feel all these emotions?  Agreed that there are some mothers who are born to be mothers, and that is their calling. But what about the other mothers for whom being a mother does not come oh-so-naturally! Motherhood comes into their lives and with time they learn to embrace it.

Their love for their kids is not always pure, and they know it. But they never really say it.
Their love for their kids is not always selfless - sometimes they are selfish, and they know it. But they never really say it
Their love for their kids is not always unconditional - sometimes it is conditional, and they know it. But they never really say it
And there are those moments (passing or somewhat passing) when they don't really love their kids or the fact that they are mother's, and they know it. But they never really say it..

A mummy friend confessed that she really did not have any feelings (maternal or otherwise) for her daughter for about 3 years after her daughter was born. Just not like how some mothers experience that "oh-so-divine love" moment when they hold their babies. Call it post-partum depression or something else, but she went about her maternal chores and responsibilities nevertheless because there was no other choice. Should / Do all mummies experience that true divine love from the minute they see and hold their babies? I wonder

Another mummy friend confessed that she loves her children all right, but she loves herself the most. And what's wrong with that? I am a mother, not a martyr she told me. So it is fine to put myself at the top. I could not disagree. Does being a mother means putting your child's needs always before your own needs? Does being a mother naturally mean that you will be selfless always for your kids? I ponder.

One other mummy friend said that her love for her kids was conditional many times, and she made it clear to them! Discipline first, and then the rest is what she told me. No easy way to get them to learn and cultivate good habits from the beginning. Love does not mean doing everything for them right? And where is the time for love and life if being an "unconditional mother" makes your everyday life more difficult and tiring she asked me. Does being a mother mean being unconditional always? Do the manifestation of a mother's love is sans questions and answers? I ask myself

Then one more mummy friend said that she just could not give of herself for her children all the time and in every way they expected. Like she said there was many times when she just shut off from her kids and motherhood responsibilities and duties? So, if there was one piece of cake left, and she & her daughter were eyeing it she'd be happy to lick it off without saving it for her daughter. And what bothered her the most was not that she ate the cake, but the fact that she did not feel bad / guilty for eating it. Does being a mother mean you have to be conditioned to think, act and behave in a specific way? I think

What would you say to such a mother?
Would you label her?
Would you judge her?
Would you call her a bad mother?
And what if.. just what if that was your mother?

Don't get me wrong here | I am a mother, and I fully understand what a "Mother's Love" is. I am also a daughter and I really understand what difference a "Mother's Love" can make in a child' life...

But what I cannot fully comprehend is this...
Should a mother's love always be the way we've known it and defined it all along?
Can anything be always pure?
Can anything be always selfless?
Can anything in life be always conditional?

Does anything last forever?
Can there be "only and always giving" in any relationship?

A lot of people of the elder generation (especially in India) believe that any woman's life is only complete when she becomes a mother. yes! From my own life, I can definitely say that being a mother is truly a unique and unparalleled experience.

But what if as a woman you feel complete even otherwise?
But what if as a woman you don't feel the need to become a mother?
But what if you become a mother and don't really experience the mother's love?

All you can think and say then (possibly to yourself) is this..
Oh Maternal Love! Where art Thou?

Being a Mother
Means different things
To you and me
And for now
It would be great
To just let it be!

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