It kicked in when I was 23 – this unexplainable, irrational, overwhelming need to have a baby. It was completely insane: I was still at university (thus penniless) with serious plans to continue with a doctorate, I wasn’t in a relationship (although that did not seem to be much of an issue, strangely enough), and whenever asked about kids, I would quote the comment of the alien beauty Celeste (Kim Basinger’s character in My Stepmother Is An Alien) upon seeing a child for the first time: “Like human, only smaller.” (Anyone who knows me will have heard me say this at least once.)
I was working at a florist’s back then and I remember that particular Mother’s Day when all these daddies would march their kids into the shop to pick up bouquets for their moms. I wanted to steal them all, especially the little ones. It was a purely biological need. I was flooded with baby-craving hormones, probably my body saying: “Now, Karina. This is the perfect biological time to have a child.” In the end reason prevailed. The moment passed. My body recovered from the baby-craze. My mind became my own. In biological terms, the invasion was unsuccessful, bore no fruits.
There was one other time in my life, many years ago, when I seriously thought of having a child, but the considerations had very little to do with a true need to become a mother – nothing like the first time – they were purely rational at that stage and did not lead anywhere either.
My brother and I have a wonderful Mother. But we won’t be celebrating her today. We still stick to the Polish tradition of celebrating Dzień Matki (Mother’s Day) on 26 May every year, no matter what day of the week it is. Plans are already being made.
I did not give birth to a child, but before even turning 30, I became a step-mother to four and a guardian to a girl, now a young woman, who is making her own way in the world today. They all became family. I haven’t always dealt well with the responsibilities attached, but I am trying my best, with love.
I am also lucky enough to be friends with a few fantastic mothers. Looking at you: Erika, Kristin, Alex, Joanne and Willemien! You are a joy to watch and your kids are very, very lucky to have you as their mothers! May you have a beautiful day full of sunshine and laughter.
I also know many women who, like me, are mothers in a different way. And it is these women I want to celebrate today.
Motherhood is a state of mind, of giving birth to or welcoming into your life a loved one, of nurturing them, of wanting their best, of selflessness, care and pure love. It is a highly creativity process. Unlike me, not all of us chose not to have children. For some of us fate had other plans. Unless you have suffered that fate, you will never understand the loss and grief connected to it.
No matter how we got here, though, we are mothers – mothers of loved ones, whether they are furry or fictional.
So here’s to you, all Cat & Story Mothers! Happy Mother’s Day!