From Mother To Mother

Most mothers who use the many services the Sister Lilian Centre has on offer, and who interact with us on our social media platforms, and read our unique blogs are the age of my own children. Now there’s a sobering thought, writes Sister Lilian!

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. All the wakeful moms around South Africa (and the rest of the world) were on my mind, and I wished I could reassure them that I really do understand how you feel.

I recalled the many sleepless nights tending my own babies, and the exhausted mornings that followed. My first child, a lovely daughter of 35 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 31 years, and who 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 30 years 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 and the Sister Lilian Centre can share many of these insights with more mothers than ever before.

Most of all though, last night I reminisced 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 knew I wanted to write this blog today, to say to everyone who reads it, “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.

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 one quite literally feels for one’s baby, no matter their age or stage. It’s not always easy, but then again it has joy beyond measure to balance that. And there is one magic ingredient that sees you through, in the good times and the difficult ones – love for your child. Cherish that deepest bond forever.