I have seen this wonderful story in several different places. It really is a must read for everyone considering parenthood.
I was quite shocked at how much the little things in my life were impacted by having children - movies I couldn't watch anymore, books I couldn't re-read, etc. since becoming a mama to my lovely girls.
So while I wish I could take credit for these stirring words...alas credit is actually due to Dale Hanson Bourke.
For all Mothers
(including soon to be Mothers)
We are sitting at lunch one day when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of "starting a family." "We're taking a survey," she says half-joking. "Do you think I should have a baby?"
"It will change your life," I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral.
"I know," she says, "no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations."
But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my daughter, trying to
decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in
I want to tell her that the physical
wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her
with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.
I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper
without asking, "What if that had been MY child?" That every plane
crash, every house fire will haunt her.
That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.
I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that
no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her
to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call
of "Mum!" will cause her to drop a soufflé or her best crystal without a
I feel that I should warn her that no
matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be
professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for childcare,
but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she
will think of her baby's sweet smell. She will have to use every
ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her
baby is all right.
I want my daughter to know that every day
decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy's desire
to go to the men's room rather than the women's at McDonald's will
become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering
trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender
identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may
be lurking in that restroom.
However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.
Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually
she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same
That her life, now so important, will be of
less value to her once she has a child. That she would give herself up
in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more
years, not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child
I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor.
My daughter's relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks.
I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is
careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his
I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.
I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women
throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk
I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike.
I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time.
I want her to taste the joy that is so real it actually hurts.
My daughter's quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in
my eyes. "You'll never regret it," I finally say. Then I reached across
the table, squeezed my daughter's hand and offered a silent prayer for
her, and for me, and for all the mere mortal women who stumble their way
into this most wonderful of callings.