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Once a mother, always a mother

Most mothers who use the many services the Sister Lilian Centre has on offer, and who interact with us on our Facebook page, read our unique online magazine eBaby or ask advice from me by booking a telephone consultation , are the age of my own children. Now there’s a sobering thought!

I am at a stage of life where one often spends time in deep reflection in the wee small hours, possibly because one often needs less sleep as one grows older, but also because once a mother, always a mother. So often at night, all the wakeful moms around South Africa (and the rest of the world) are on my mind, and I want nothing more than to reassure each one of you that I really do understand how you feel. 

I recall the many sleepless nights tending my own babies, and the exhausted mornings that followed. My first child, a lovely daughter of 32 years now, slept like most first children do – not at all like the mythical baby who “sleeps like a baby”. She soon taught me that co-sleeping was good – no, excellent! My second “baby” is a strapping young man of 28 years. He was also the “typical” second child, thanks to the experience I gained mothering his sister. Each child taught me a lot of non-book learning, which stands me in good stead today.

The thousands and thousands of parents, babies and children I have had the privilege to work with over the past 29 years have all helped build my experience and knowledge too, at least as much as my professional learning. I am grateful for this, and that in this electronic age, I can share many of these insights with more mothers than ever before. 

Most of all though, at night I reminisce about the utter joy of being in love with one’s babies, having a heart that feels like exploding it is so full of emotion. Your babies are your babies forever, no matter their ages, and I just want to say to everyone who reads this blog, “I know”. I know how you go from despair to elation in the blink of an eye, how you would fight to the death for your babies even though sometimes you want to tear your hair out in frustration, and how you worry about them even when there is no need to do so.

I also know that when you inevitably have to say the many ‘au revoirs’ of mothering – that first day with the babysitter, at daycare or school, the times where your child seems to be rejecting you for others or different experiences – your heart will feel like it is breaking. Hold onto these truths: this is simply the way of life and just making every day as honest and positive as you can will ensure positive outcomes; the wheel always turns and reveals the silver lining; a deep bond will only stretch, not break forever.

It never stops, this mothering thing. The shades of your experience may change and the nature of challenges big and small may seem worlds apart from babyhood to adulthood – but once a mother, always a mother, and with that comes joy and anxiety in equal measures. As a mother, you quite literally feel for your babies, no matter their age or stage. It’s not always easy, but any difficulties are balanced out by joy beyond measure. And there is one magic ingredient that always sees you through, in the good times and the difficult ones – love for your child. Cherish this deepest bond forever, and know that there is nothing more strong or powerful than the love you feel for your children.

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