This is week it’s Mother’s Day, so of course there is lots around to remind us of it. On Instagram at the moment women are sharing about #whenibecameamother and it got me thinking about how you know when you’re a mum.
To be honest, I’m not sure I can really pinpoint an event or moment that I felt I was a mum. Most of those photos I saw on Instagram were of women and their new born babies. My little girl came to us when she was 2 1/2. The photo I put up was her asleep in her new bed in our house the very first night she stayed over. It was indeed a significant milestone in the journey to become her mum, but thinking about it made me question if this was the moment I truly felt her mum.
I think maybe becoming ‘a’ mum (to an unknown child), is different to becoming ‘their’ mum (to a specific child) So, when we were approved to adopt, in someways I probably did feel like a mum, or at least like now I really could (and hopefully would) become someone’s mum. I felt like I had the qualities and skills to be a mum, and had done a good amount of prep to parent a child. It was only when I saw her profile and started to ‘get to know’ her, that I possibly felt like I could be ‘her’ mum. It was her gorgeous smile that drew me to her, and from that moment on I started to fall in love. That love took time and effort to develop, but there was that initial spark and connection which helped me think about what I could offer to her if I was to be her mummy.
As we progressed through the linking and matching stages and then finally met her, all of those events and focus did help me start to feel like I was becoming a mum, but I don’t think I felt I was hers yet. When we took her out on our own during intros it was the most surreal experience ever. To anyone else we looked like a ‘normal’ family, but I kept thinking, they don’t know that we only met yesterday, and we don’t know how to be her parents yet. It didn’t feel real.
Once she came home, and we settled into our routine I started to feel more like a ‘proper’ mum, her mum. But it still felt very strange calling myself ‘mummy’, or her ‘my little girl’ I don’t think I called her ‘my daughter’ for quite a while, but it gradually became easier and more natural.
Before we had the adoption order I had expected to feel more her mum once it had been granted, as by then I would be legally her mum. However I don’t remember feeling any different. Maybe because it was a bit anticlimactic, and maybe because by then I was doing everything a mum would/should do for her child. Nothing practically changed. Although we were finally bound by surname, we were already bound by a continually deepening connection and love. We didn’t need a court paper to tell us we were mother and daughter, we were already living it.
In conclusion, I think the thing that made me feel most like a mum, was actually being called ‘mummy’ by my girl. She said it from that very first meeting when she ran to the door to greet us. I don’t think she knew what it meant really, but I’ll never forget that moment. Once she started saying ‘mummy’ because she knew what it meant was when I truly felt hers.
M-U-M-M-Y was the second word she learnt to spell (after her own name), and that makes me very happy. I think she summed this topic up perfectly herself when she introduced us to the postman at nursery by saying ‘I’m her daughter’. Yes my darling, you are, and I’m so proud to be your mummy!