Natural Instinct

 In Weekly Forum Discussion, Writer in Residence

Written by: Collette Cottingham; Creatively Hip

I never thought I would be a mother. I didn’t feel this maternal instinct woman talked about.

When I discovered I was expecting a child I was terrified. I had no idea how to be a mother. I wasn’t someone who could hold a baby. I was awkward with children. How am I supposed to raise one? I was physically ill the whole pregnancy. I read books. They helped some, but I learn better with hands-on experience. So I took a class.

I expressed my concern to the teacher, she told me not to worry everything would come naturally. My mother told me the same thing. It didn’t help. I couldn’t even put on a diaper correctly. I decided I was not going to give birth. My problem was solved. I would be pregnant forever.

It didn’t work. I became a mother. He was so tiny. I held him and was terrified. My worst fear was here. I am responsible for him. His survival depends on me.

I held his hand and made a promise. He would always have my love even when he made mistakes. I would do my best to be an example of integrity.

I have to be honest; I was awkward. I was nervous holding him, bathing him, dressing him and changing those diapers. By the time I got a little confidence he started to move. Then diaper changes and dressings turned more into a wrestling match. My son was the champion.

I would gain confidence from my own children. My children truly needed me. They relied on me. I made sure I was an example of integrity. I did develop a natural instinct. It developed with each passing year and as I had more children.

I enjoyed spending time with my children. My children made me laugh, gave me hugs and loved to snuggle. When my children cried sometimes I didn’t know what to do, so I cried too. We learned together. In the end, my children saved me.

In becoming a mother I learned to appreciate my own mother. I have no memory of my mother playing games with me. She was busy doing the things she enjoyed doing…cleaning and cooking. Yes, I really thought my mom enjoyed doing these things. I rarely remember her being angry. She kept me clean, ironed my clothes, taught me manners and kept me fed.  I was a spoiled brat. I never use to think of myself like that, but my mom did a lot for me. She even cut the crust off my bread.

I am so appreciative of my mother. My children truly love her. She is such a kind and caring Grandma. She gave my children things I couldn’t afford. She also gave them a priceless treasure…memories of love. In becoming a mother I now realize how much my mother loves me.

Now that my children are grown I am enjoying the next chapter of life. I love being a Grandma. I took my granddaughter to her gymnastics class. She fell and needed grandma to carry her. My son starting knocking on the glass, “She is playing you, make her walk.” I continued to carry her. I know this stage won’t last forever.

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