Saturday, March 21, 2015

Embracing Motherhood

Being a mother is the hardest role i ever take on, and it's a role that will remain for a lifetime until the day my heart stops.

While motherhood is a magical satisfying journey, I find it tough and challenging too! Both when I was a working mom and now when I am stay home mom. It's already not easy juggling the different tasks and trying my best to be a good mother, and it gets worst that I am judged and criticized every day for almost everything that I do. The irony? The people doing the judgment and saying hurtful things are usually fellow women or moms too! 女人何苦为难女人嘛!?

I have never ever heard so much "white noise" before in my life, until i became a mother...

When I just returned to work, I heard people said that "she will be distracted and misses her baby so much she can't perform!"

When I breastfed my baby, I heard "Why so fast the baby is hungry again? Ask your mommy to express out her milk so that you can sleep with me instead!"

When i went to express my milk at work, I heard "She's breastfeeding so that can eat snake during work!"

When I showed flash cards to my first born, someone said to my face "Some parents are crazy! A baby so young already want to start teaching stuffs!"

"Why is she feeding rubbish to her child?"

"Why she feed such expensive food to her child?"

"Why she never buy the expensive fish for her child?"

"Why she so particular and uptight about her child?"

"Why she never take good care of her child?"

"Is there something wrong with your child? I think he is falling sick too often!"

These comments used to affect me a lot. Especially during the first year when i was a newly minted mom, I referred to it as a very very dark period. It was my baby who gave me the strength to become a stronger mom!

While becoming a mother changed me, but I only start to view things very differently, after the arrival of my second child. Never before did we expected that my second son could have a hole in his heart, no doctors even detected it until he was hospitalised at 3+ months old! And even more shocking to us, we only learnt that my elder son has asperger syndrome when he turned 4 plus! Shocking because we have no family history of any heart problems or autism at all! The two conditions were totally new to us. (And imagine the amount of "noise" we got that for theses, that are not helping and could bring us down to our knees crying)

As Hubby had to travel rather frequently for his work, I was the one who brought the children to hospitals for their appointments myself. Our lives then was filled with many hospital appointments for tests, assessments, check ups, follow-ups and therapies. I was under constant parenting trials and my days for the past two years were filled with the dreaded worries & fears. Those days, I had actually thought if we were cursed, if it was just a nightmare that I can wake up from. Because everything was totally not what I signed up for as a Stay Home Mother. My beliefs and faith and everything that I thought I knew for my whole life was on trial, while my strength and patience was being tested.

I soon learnt that there are really things in life that are beyond our expectations, controls or even achievements. Fate can be cruel, but fellow human beings can be even more cruel with their words! Yet, among all difficulties, there are also silver linings every day, everywhere. While I know who I do not want to mix around with, I also know who my true friends are! Once I started recognising miracle, I began seeing them everywhere. The biggest miracle that I had witnessed was how my younger son's hole in heart closed miraculously on its own after a year. :)

I learnt through hard ways, what being a mother means to me. And i am glad for this experiences, because it had made me more humble. My experiences with my children taught me to be kind, appreciative and grateful.

Five things that I have learnt and would like to remind fellow moms:

1) We am truly very fortunate
No matter what conditions my children may have, I know I am a really fortunate mother to be able to have children because not every woman can have her own children. And I am lucky to have one with autism, because not any one can cope, but I can. :) I am also very grateful that it's just autism and nothing even more serious. Stop looking at shortfalls but start counting for any blessings I have has allowed me to appreciate and treasure everything that i have. 

2) To have empathy for others
I had always care for the needy, but since we learned to cope with our ASD boy, i began to have so much more empathy for others. My boys taught me not to judge any person (regardless of young and old) on the surface, for we can only see what we saw, we do not know what's below the tip of the iceberg at all. There is always a reason behind a behavior (unless you are a psychopath). While parenting my boys, I have learnt humbling lessons. It doesn't matter who you are, your race, what you do, where you live, what's your faith, whether you're rich or poor -- autism does not care. And actually, every one of us shouldn't care too. 

3) We shouldn't put expectations on our children
I remembered when my elder boy was younger, he was fast to meet all his milestones and I felt so proud of him. But when he slowed down around three to four plus years old, I began to feel very frustrated. I do not understand why he couldn't master his letters and numbers. And when I found out about his autism, I was in denial. He is so talkative! How can he have autism? I can't remember when I started putting expectations on my boy and got really disappointed when he can't meet them like his peers. The truth is, every child should be allow to bloom at his own pace, not the so call standards or norms set by the ministries. And when we stop putting expectations on our child, we began to cheer every little accomplishments of his. Everyone becomes happier. 

4) Love is truly unconditional 
When we were young, we love our parents so much, they were the world to us. Same for when we have our own children, they meant everything to us too. At which stage did we started neglecting our parents and children, because of other more "important" things? Our little angels love us for who we are, regardless of height, weight, wealth, status etc. What about us? My child with autism is a very loving person. He is also very simple minded and he taught me how to love immediately and directly. I also learnt to love him for who he is, not who I want him to be. Don't wait and start showing your love, every day, every time. 

5) Sometimes our heart has to break into a million pieces 
So that my children can learn and grow. Especially for my elder boy, sometimes I allowed him to be misunderstood, because this is what society will be like too when he grows up. Sometimes I let him to cry it all out before I hug him really tight. Sometimes, i just had to be loud and shout instructions across to him, because if not, he wouldn't hear me. With pain comes healing and growing, so while i wish to protect him forever, I know I can't. So as a mother, we have to learn to let it go, stand by and watch how our children manage and grow. We can only be there to guide them, and remember to guide them to be kind, generous and helpful too. 

No matter what's your ethnic group, faith, whether you breastfeed or not, what languages you speak, which country you are from, how many children you have, whether they are boys or girl, whether you are working or not working, whether you are educated or not... Once you have a child, we are all even. We are just a mother, for our child. :) I embraced my motherhood journey, and I know you do too! 

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This post is part of a Blog Train hosted by Dominique at Dominique's Desk. Hop on the train to hear other moms share about embracing motherhood.


Next up on the train is Winnie, she works full time and spends the evenings home learning and reading with her two kids. At ToddlyMummy, she shares her thoughts on parenting, fun moments of home learning sessions and outdoor adventures.

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1 comment:

  1. Ting you are truly a very strong mom to cope with all the adversities that have come your way. I can see you derive your strength from your kids and that's something which motherhood does to one :)

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