Born to be

I was born to be a mum.

I knew it from the time I was about 8. My dreams for myself as an adult was to chase children around a house, a house filled with laughter. As I grew older I found it hard to choose a career path because I knew I had just one true dream, to fall in love and have a baby.

After a decade of being a nanny and caring for other people’s children it was time to have my own. I’d found my soul mate, we married and were ready to become parents.

I loved being pregnant. I dreamed of what she’d look like, holding her, seeing her grow. I kept a journal for my future daughter. I spent my weekends making her room perfect. After nine months of butterflies-in-my-tummy type excitement, I was ready.

The moment she was born, we became parents and we cried. She was here. She was ours.

At that same very moment, I became vulnerable. To forever more have my heart walking outside my body. I watched as each visitor held my daughter, and hoped they nestled her carefully.

That night, due to a dramatic after birth experience, my daughter and I were kept in Intensive Care for monitoring. Having not slept for two days the nurse took my daughter so that I could finally sleep. As I tried to doze off I could hear her crying in a room nearby. Worried, I climbed out of my bed, over the safety railings keeping me in and out into the corridor. I took my daughter back to bed with me, and we both hardly slept the whole night, but I felt content that she was by my side. I felt less vulnerable with her near me.

Almost four years since that day, I still carry my vulnerability. I don’t hide it well. I wonder how other mothers do. Just the other day we were at the local paddling pool and as the other parents sat back and watched their children playing in the water, I stood ankle-deep in luke-warm pool water. I hovered over her, making sure she was safe.

No-one ever told me how vulnerable I’d feel as a mum. It wasn’t in any of the books I read during that excited nine months of pregnancy. No-one ever mentioned that from the moment I became a parent I’d have my heart walking outside my body, whether I was with her or not. Being vulnerable is beautiful though, as scary as it sometimes may feel.

For the mums out there, what didn’t anyone tell you about being a parent? What surprised you?

65 thoughts on “Born to be”

  1. Oh that maybe totally tear up, Thanks!!! No, I know that vulnerability too well. I often have to remind myself to live in the moment because that same vulnerability has me worrying about when my boys reach teenage hood already. Plenty of time for that! Its always lovely to hear someone refer to themselves as a natural mum. Enjoy

  2. What a beautiful post.

    I too have the same 'Helicopter' type parenting style, but sometimes I lack the emotion. I don't know why, maybe I just have a different emotional make-up than other people… some days I get scared and think if there's something wrong with me.

    I love my children, I really do… but I'm not someone that cuddles and kisses naturally. I have to remind myself sometimes, and just stop.

    Maybe life is just busy?

    I wish people warned me how busy things could be.

    I feel like I never stop. I never finish what I started. The house is always a mess, but that's a sign of happy children… and because I have happy children, I too am happy.


  3. I love that you knew from a young age what you wanted to be….a mommy! That was me too 🙂
    I have two girls who are 18 months apart and I was unaware about how far I would fall behind on housework. I was never told(or I just didn't hear) how much time kiddies take. Looking back on my childhood I now understand why our house wasn't always perfectly clean 🙂

  4. I never expected to have zero personal space or time off. I'm on call 24hrs. My husband isn't able to help when they want mommy. I never realized how important mommy is to young kids! I thought I'd get a break from time to time, but I can't even go pee without someone in the room with me! But worth it! Oh baby fussing! Back to work!

  5. I love this post. I felt a deep connection to the feelings you described all the way up to the getting preggers.. we havn't been that blessed yet. but I love this post… thank you for this. 🙂

  6. I totally agree. I never expected that either. I also never expected that all the time almost overwhelming sense of responsibility, vulnerability, hope, and love…ALL THE TIME! Being a mom is the best thing I've ever done, and since I married young and was blessed to have my kids young, and close together I haven't ever done anything else! But oh man…the emotions. That's a hard one for me. So much love for them and hope for their happy futures. Thank you for this post. It's wonderful!!

  7. I loved this post, I'm sitting here a little bit teary =) I didn't ever imagine that I would be a mother, it took me having 6 children to realise that this was what I was to be in in life, a mum. I had never been content in any job, I wanted to make a difference, to help people, to teach, to council and then one day it clicked. I was doing all of those things, as a mum and that was what I was destined to be. Now that I have realised that being a mum in it self is fullfilling I am so happy.
    The thing no one told me about parenting? How hard it is to be strict with your children, to set boundaries and follow through with them and to teach them to be independent when all you want to do is fix things for them and protect them!

  8. I feel kind of stupid saying it, but I didn't realize that even when I wasn't with him (my son), I'd be thinking, worrying, and wondering about him EVERY MINUTE. I thought that I'd be able to be more preoccupied with other things and kind of 'forget' about him. But even at 18 years old, I find he's there, in my heart and mind, at every minute of every day.

  9. This post reminded me of the quote by Elizabeth Stone. I paraphrase, “having a child is like making a decision to have your heart go walking around outside of your body.” My children are young adults. Twenty-six and twenty-four. I feel every joy and every pain they live through. We have just endured the tragic illness and death of my husband, their father. I would have done anything to spare them the hurt they have had to live with. They are an extension of us, and a gift to us. I am so blessed to have them in my life.

    • what a beautiful comment. i hope you and your children are coping, you sound like an amazing woman and i'm glad your children have someone like you helping them through this time 🙂 x

  10. Oh that was beautiful to read. I am in tears. I totally know what you are talking about.
    That was me 6 months ago.

    No one ever told me that I would become all warm and fluffy and try and the drop of a hat (And SMILE all the time!)

    Being a mumma is the best!!!

  11. Wow.. I don't even know how I ended up reading your blog, but I loved your post and it made me think that just like you I've never felt really happy at any job and I'm still not happy with my current job. I've always thought I had been born to do something greater than that and I've always wanted to be a mom more than anything else in life, but I had never really realised that it might be the reason for my dissatisfaction. I've actually been married for 8 months now and I've felt the desire of becoming a mom growing more and more each day inside me. Thanks for sharing!And, by the way, sorry for my English, I'm from Brazil.

  12. Before my son was born, I drank in any information on motherhood I could access –personal stories and more formal books. So there shouldn't have been too many surprises, but, of course, the experience of it all surprised me! I guess the one thing I really didn't take on board was how the frequent nighttime wakings would affect me. That was the biggest shock. Although, a couple of months before my son arrived, a good friend gave birth to her first child. I went to see her when her daughter was one week old. She looked absolutely shattered. She told me that she was only getting sleep in 1.5 hour blocks. Hearing that was very useful indeed in the lead-up to my son's arrival. The reality was still a shock, but at least I'd been warned!

  13. I know how you feel Telle. I imagined I would bring home this little baby who might cause some sleep deprivation but essentially I would still be the same me, just a little more tired etc. I had no idea that the whole works would shift and my perspective on things shift when she left most. Who I was in the essence of my soul felt changed. That was a great surprise of motherhood. I have been stretched, softened and shaped by my beautiful girl

  14. I know how you feel Telle. I imagined I would bring home this little baby who might cause some sleep deprivation but essentially I would still be the same me, just a little more tired etc. I had no idea that the whole works would shift and my perspective on things shift when she left most. Who I was in the essence of my soul felt changed. That was a great surprise of motherhood. I have been stretched, softened and shaped by my beautiful girl

  15. A beautiful post! I dont have any children yet but what you have written is how I vision myself when I fall pregnant. I find I am wanting to have children more and more each day so I can experience all these fantastic feelings and milestones

  16. That is so beautiful and so exactly how I felt about my son. It was funny what you said about the paddling pool. About 3 weeks ago I tool my son to the local pool. Off we went into the kiddies pool which is probably 30cm deep. Dave said look around you- Max is literally the only kid in the kiddie with any floaties at all let alone the swim vest as well. Was a bit of an eye opener.

  17. Ooh you look all new and nice!
    I knew from childhood I wanted to be a mum too. I wanted six kids… now I don't want that many, but I love being a parent. And I don't know how I've done it (I think my brain has gone into automatic self-protect mode) but I am such a laid-back mum. I rarely panic or worry, and that's how I wanted to be. Very zen. Do what I can to make their environment safe, then let them go, attending to things if they need attending to. My brain has probably done this so I am always calmand I don't agonise over things… which is just so easy to do. Thank you brain!

  18. The hardest thing for me now is trying to not “hover” over my daughter (who is turning 12 in a couple of months and started high school this year)as much as I use to because whilst I still want to protect her from everything “bad” in the world, I want her to grow up to be an independent adult that is able to look after not only her physical self, but her mind, her soul and her spirit.

  19. What a gorgeous piece Chantelle. You made me cry. I feel that vulnerable too. For me, it's just how much I'd enjoy the day-to-day humdrum of playing, learning & growing in a real and satisfying way that I used to only get from professional work. I was prepared for love but really had no idea how all encompassing that love would be. I didn't particularly “want” to be a mama in the way you say but I am so, so, so glad I am.

  20. Wow, what a lovely post! I was actually the total opposite. I had grown up thinking I was never going to have children, and I was more than okay with that. When i did end up pregnant by mistake, I remember I was terrified. For the first time in my life I started to consider what it would be like to be a mum. Sadly I lost that pregnancy. The thing I didn't know about being a mother… badly I really wanted to me a mother. I ended up pregnant again very quickly, and my gorgeous girl was born a year later. I have never looked back. Being a mum is scary sometimes, stressful, and demanding, but when your baby comes and wraps their arms around you, somehow, all is right with the world.

  21. I totally get what you are saying, it gets easier with each child because with the first everything is a first, my 3rd child gets away with murder simply because by the time she's decided to do this or that, I've already been through it twice with the other two. As for my first born – he's now 10 and went to the shops by himself for the first time last weekend on his father's instructions. I was fine for the first 30 seconds, then I started to pace the house, then I was stuck at the front window, then I was on the porch, checking my watch, wondering how long it really takes to get to the shop, I had the car keys in my hand by the time I saw him scootering up the street. I quickly shoved the care keys in my pocket so he wouldn't see. His smile was beaming.. he'd done something very independent, met some friends on the way (hence the extra time it took him) managed to make the said purchases and return home. He was on top of the world, I was smiling from ear to ear – so proud of him, inside my heart was breaking – he had just took one more step away from me… not to mention I was still going through the remainder of the anxiety attack internally…lol

    They grow up, we want that, we want everything for them, its just…. that for one moment each day you wish you could freeze time and keep them innocent and protected forever – that is what I never knew about Motherhood… giving them everything that you want for them will lead them to being grown and independent.

  22. This post is so touching. I am a daughter and this post makes my heard swell with love and pride. Love for my parents and pride for I know with them by my side nothing can ever harm me. I know your daughter will feel the same when she reads this. Thank you for this post.
    Warmest regards,

  23. My name is Danni, and I'm a 'smother'. Imagining prschool next year for my almost 3 year old fills me with an anxiety that stops me straight in my tracks. Good luck to all of us xx

  24. Like so many others, I feel that same as you did, that I am meant to be a mum! All I really want to do is raise a family of my own (instead of my younger siblings) and this working 9-5, building a 'career' and learning all these new skills is really just marking time…

    “Don't you understand; I already have a plan; I'm waiting for my real life to begin” – Colin Hay

    I read about motherhood all the time in the hope that when it happens I wont be quite so shell shocked or battle weary and the book that really resonated with me was Rachel Powers : The Divided Heart. but what I really got from all the different stories was that nothing in this world can prepare you but that once its happened you wouldn't want it any other way. I hold onto that and have faith it will happen for me some day.

  25. I had a my 'ah ha' moment when my son was about 3 months old and my husband and I were walking across the great gorge in New Mexico. My husband was pushing the babies stroller. it was a safe walk, no danger in site but i knew I had to push the stroller or I could not walk another step. In that moment of irrational fear i understood what my life would now look like as a mom. These days, I go through life taking a lot of deep breaths and saying Yes more often than No to my now 15-year-old. Go, do, have fun and then i remind him that if something were to happen to him-my life would be over. It is always about the mom 😀 I think it is a parents job to step back as often as it is to step forward. Let your intuition be your guide. It is about trust…trusting back off when it is apporopriate and not to let go to soon. And listen to your spouse when they suggest letting go occasionally-they are often right. i learned this in hindsight.

  26. Hi Chantelle, I was just wondering (and feel free to tell me that it is none of my business) if you worry about the age gap between your daughter and baby number two?
    (I am of course assuming that you guys plan to have number two).
    I have a little girl who just turned 4, and although we have been trying for years for another baby (we have had two miscarriages and a stillborn baby) I really worry about the growing gap between my daughter and our next child.
    The only reason I am asking you is because I have never heard you mention anything about it, and I was just wondering if it is something you think (or worry) about?

    • I hope you don't mind another point of view. I have 3 all 2 years apart, I worry when I see my eldest little friends that are only children (at the moment, or forever) – that they get SO much more attention, time, money on them, than my son. Should we have had bigger age gaps? So I had more time with each of them in those vital early years? I guess no situation is perfect and you just have to draw all the positives you can from the family you have. Best of luch with adding to your family. K

  27. I wish people had told me that every decision I make even down to if I get a shower or when I make a cup of tea depends on mister separation anxiety man;) At 9 months we are in full separation anxiety mode, and even putting him on his gym results in full on screaming distress:(

    Beautiful post x

  28. a beautiful way to describe that feeling chantelle, your heart forever walking outside your body. and when there is more than one, it splits into enough pieces and follows each child like their shadow.. for me I think it gets easier with each child because your heart gets bigger each time, more love to go around 😉

  29. What a beautiful post. So very true. My children are all adults. What I never imagined was the total, unconditional love. When I was expecting our second I cried most of the pregnancy because I just couldn't figure out how I was going to love this one as much as the first….. I still don't know, even after having the third, how you can love them as much as each other; but you do. I never knew I HAD that much love. Sometimes we just need a little reminder – and this post reminds me to give my DD a call today to tell her I love her (she lives away and I don't see her as often as I'd like). TFS. Jude.x

  30. Beautiful post Chantelle. Like you I always wanted to be a mum. And i wear my heart on the outside too, I am a hovering, over protective mum and thats ok with me, there is no where else i'd rather be. xx

  31. What no one told me and what I feel as a mum unexpectedly is the guilt and worry. I want my kids by my side every single day but I also want to work and study and follow my own dreams too. Its a incredible juggling act and I find leaving my babies very hard. x

  32. I just read your post and realised it is ok to say what I have always thought.. My dream is to be a Mum and there is nothing else I want to do more.

    At 22 years old, I find it hard to tell people that without being told that I am too young. I am studying a Bachelor of Economics and I don't enjoy it. I always find myself reading stories about children and birth and reading baby forums.

    Thank you for your post, I enjoyed it.

  33. Just beautiful! This post is exactly what i was like growing up – always dreaming of being a mummy! Ive just had my first little girl (Delilah Grace), she is 14 weeks old. I was living in a fairy land of what motherhood would be like…i never knew it would be this tough or scary. I never thought i would get depressed…i did…i thought all babies would be pretty good sleepers…they arent. There are so many books out there that talk to you about what your child should be doing at a certain age…for instance, Delilah should be sleeping 16 hours a day and be going from 7pm till 7am….well, mr authour – perhaps ive missed something but that isnt happening here!

    Ive learnt that ALL babies are individual and ALL babies are blessings. Just because my child needs to be cuddled before going to sleep, just because she still wakes every few hours over night, just because she doesnt like sitting in a pram and would prefer to be walked around seeing the sights…doesnt mean she is abnormal. She is perfect…made by God, and loved by her parents!

    Motherhood is by far the hardest, but most rewarding job in my eyes, and i too have become so much more vulnerable since Delilah was born. She is a part of me i never want to part with! I hope the next 18 years go slow so i can cherish each second!

    Oh..i could talk about this for hours…. 🙂

  34. I am mom to 3 great boys(ages 17, 16 &14) and 1 darling daughter (12) and the one thing that surprises me most is how much it hurts my heart when they hurt either physically or emotionally and how my heart can be stretched and stopped and started everyday!
    Our oldest is 17 and when he is going thru rough patches (as most 17yr olds do) my heart seriously aches for him. When our second son (16) was in a very serious accident almost 4 years ago I dont know how I got thru each day as he was in the hospital. As we still deal with his medical issues MY heart just stops when he is going thru things then melts when things are going better. When our youngest son just illustrated a book I thot I would burst from pride! Our daughter is continually surprising us with her kindness and thotfulness towards others.
    I love being a mom and would not trade my 'job' for anything or with anyone!

  35. “To forever more have my heart walking outside my body.” What a perfect and beautiful way to write about motherhood. Made me hold my babies that bit tighter tonight x

  36. Your post reminded me of my favourite quote about motherhood from Elizabeth Stone: “Making the decision to have a child; it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body.”

  37. I just fell in love with you.

    After 8 years (and only one child later because of those same feelings) I STILL feel the same way.

    Thank you for making me feel like I'm not alone.

  38. I felt the same way – that I have always been meant to be a mom. Now I am one, and it is amazing. How we change and how we are still the same person, but more of me I think. The one thing no one told me about is the guilt. I feel guilty for doing too much, not doing enough, etc. And the worry. Mothering is hard, very hard, but oh so worth it!

  39. I had a similar birth experience with my daughter. She was with me in the hospital room for our stay and there was a little bassinette beside the bed for her but she never used it. I slept(tried to sleep) with her on my chest the entire time. When her body temperature had reached a level high enough for her to have a bath, the nurse came and took her away. It took about 15 seconds for me to realize that a stranger had just taken my baby! LOL! I quickly ran out of the room, down the hall until I found them. That is what I didn't expect. The “mother bear-ness” of being responsible for and loving this new little person. I still have those instincts, 14 years later but I try very hard to keep them in check. I owe it to her to let her spread her wings a little but it sure is hard on her old mom.

  40. “…No-one ever mentioned that from the moment I became a parent I'd have my heart walking outside my body, whether I was with her or not…”

    I don't think I could have articulated that any better.

    Have a lovely weekend,


  41. I agree with Shelly so much. I can't ever stop thinking about him…I'm always just a little bit worried there in the back of my mind.

  42. I feel like you wrote those words from my mind. I am the same with my (almost) 1 year old baby girl. I had so many people tell me all of the “bad” things like no sleep, how terrible labor is, how you will have no life yada yada … no one told me how my heart would triple in size, how i would love her unlike I could ten fathom love and how (because like you I feel like becoming and being the best mum I can be is my calling) I would be so immeasurably happy unlike I had ever been in any job I had ever had.

  43. I remember the first time my first born had a fever, I slept on the floor next to his crib all night.
    I couldn't leave him.
    He didn't need me to sleep with him, but I needed to be near him.
    My 4th baby is now 8 months old.
    A few weeks ago he was very sick with a fever and wheezing.
    I laid on the couch with him on my chest all nigth long, listening to him breathe.
    I needed to hear him, to see his chest rise and fall, to feel that sweet breath on my neck.
    I haven't gotten any braver or thick-skinned with each child.
    Nor have I gotten any less grateful.
    I, too, love being a mum.
    Love from,

  44. I loved reading this! I am not a mom yet, or married even ha ha but I have always known that all I want to be is a wife and a mom, I also have been working as nanny for the last few years just waiting to meet mr right so I can then start my own family and pursue my life long dream of being a momma 🙂

  45. such a beautiful post. I guess my confession is that no one told me I could easily lose my patience. Sometimes, I do feel overwhelmed by the sleepless nights, the frequent fuzziness and tantrums.

  46. What a beautiful post.

    I am a new mother. I have an (almost) 5 month old little girl.

    Unlike you, I went through my whole life saying I NEVER wanted children. I had no interest in them, and they scared me. lol Not to mention that grown-ups always told me never to have children. There was such negativity.

    Then arond age 22, that maternal switch turned on.

    At 24 I was blessed with a positive pregnancy test. I totally relate to everything you posted. Pregnancy was something I enjoyed so much, despite having multiple complications.

    I honestly cannot believe how being a mom makes me feel. It's is amazing. I love my little girl and I am surprised at just how naturally I have taken to being a mom. THIS is what I was meant to do.

  47. Having a second will cure you of the helicoptering over the first… my first got so much of my attention, unfortunately she didn't let up on that need even though #2 is here and also needs me. It's exhausting trying to divvy time between the two or be together with the three of us without world war III breaking out over something. Sometimes I think a HUGE family would be easier than two or one…

  48. Wow. Thank you for putting into words exactly how I feel about my 2 babies. While I think I have mellowed slightly since the birth of my daughter (10mths old now!), I still hover and watch over my son who is nearly 3. My mum tells me that this feeling will never go away and that she still worries about me and my brothers as much as ever. I don't think you can comprehend the feelings until you become a mother yourself 🙂

  49. What a great post, thanks for sharing that 🙂 I think everyone told me how rewarding it would be and how much love I would feel, but I just wasn't expecting HOW MUCH those facts would be true. Overwhelmingly true, in fact. And there is no way of fully being able to communicate that to an expecting parent.

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