As mothers there are many things we carry with us and it should come as no surprise that we are exhausted at the end of the day. There’s the favorite rock and the toy truck your little one just can’t live without. The wipes and the diapers, the changes of clothes. The bottles and burp cloths and binkies. But those aren’t the only things we carry. And as heavy as they make the diaper bag, they aren’t nearly has heavy as the rest.
There’s the holidays and birthdays and special occasions, those things that perhaps aren’t as important as house down payment or a car note, but are the little moments that make up a life. We carry the invisible weight of making those moments special and remembering to turn the mundane into the memorable.
We carry our children, in our wombs for nine months and in our arms many months after. And in our hearts always.
And then there’s the guilt and the fear we carry. Fear that our children could get sick, could be hurt, Could break or ache. The worry that they don’t have enough friends or socialization, that they are behind in education or motor function. We fret and we agonize, and we fear that we’re not doing enough to keep them safe and happy.
And many of us carry loss. The loss of the dream to carry a child naturally. The pain and exhaustion of infertility. And, heartbreakingly, there are the mothers that carry the loss of a child. Whether it was in those first fragile weeks of pregnancy or to illness or tragedy, we shoulder the grief for a child we loved beyond measure.
We often carry a loss of self with us. A loss of identity, of who we once were. And the fear that we might never get it back. And many of us fear that one day we won’t be needed anymore. That our sense of self will once again shift and that our house will be empty after so many years of chaos and laughter.
We carry the weight of the future, knowing that it rests upon our shoulders as we raise our children to be kind and loving and accepting. To be better than the generations that came before them. And it’s nearly as heavy a burden as it is a profound privilege.
But ultimately we carry the joy. The joy that is watching the small life we created bloom. A piece of our soul we watched grow and change and thrive as they make their way in the world. It’s a joy that makes all the weight worth it.
And so we carry. The joy, the loss, the invisible weight and the favorite rocks. We carry them all. Because that’s what it means to be a mother.