I was six months pregnant with my first baby the first time I remember mother’s day really mattering. From the mother’s perspective.

Little lamb 1

It was Autumn in South Africa and I knew that Sunday and church would come with flowers and celebrating the moms. I was excited. I wore my burgeoning belly with pride. And when I grinned at the girl at the door, put hand out for flowery tribute to the life I was sustaining inside me, she pulled the blossom back and snorting said, “Nu-uh, you’re not a mother yet.”

Three children later and I still can’t quite get the taste of that comment out of my mouth.

Motherhood is a deep wide ocean and from the moment that two cells collide and divide we wade right out into it. The current catches us and there is no looking back. Of course, I didn’t know that at the time. Not with words that could explain it to the girl who had burst my bubble. But hand on belly I could still feel the morse code from my son tapping out a love song reminder that mother, indeed, I was.

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I don’t know what kind of mother you are. If you bear children on the inside, juggle toddlers, or love on teens that ache and break your heart and themselves into tiny bits of regret. I don’t know if you mother a classroom of wriggly second graders or mentor one-on-one. I don’t know if you mother through words that find their way onto someone else’s screen and encourage and comfort and teach the other mothers that you know you may never get to be.

I don’t know if you mother through meals made for good friends or babysitting for run-down, first-time mamas. I don’t know if you mother through prayers offered for colleagues or letters sent to long lost family.  I don’t know if you mother through folding someone else’s laundry or helping fix someone else’s car.

I don’t know if you mother through letting go the life of the child that made you a mother in the first place.

But this I do know. Motherhood grows from the inside out. Motherhood means we stretch with new life, whether or not we deliver a baby. We sustain. We ache. We carry. We care. We hold. We cherish. And we release.

Then we wear the marks of that gift for a lifetime. And it is beautiful.

His little lamb

Just like you.

{Photos of my Zoe Grace, 2 months old today}
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