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I AM A MOTHER by Carolyn Riker

Motherhood: To love, nurture, give and care unconditionally...

Way before this chapter of birthing, I was motherly. At a young age, I took in every stray, injured animal and mothered it back. I started to teach at 18. I ‘adopted’ those children in a nurturing way. I had in my heart this is what I must do.

I was told, at 25, I would not conceive children of my own. I left the doctor’s office in a huff, crying on the inside. I mourned. My body carried a sadness for all who wanted children but could not have children. My mind switched to redefine the role of a Mother and I saw that Mothers give birth in different ways. Some are teachers, neighbors, friends and mentors. We hold hands and lift each other in this crazy-loving-insanely-passionate journey.

And now I see it… It’s a sisterhood of the divine feminine.

Contrary to the doctors and their declaration of me being childless my heart and body said otherwise. In intervals of 15 and 13 years ago I birthed two bundles of pure joy.

I have kissed imaginary cuts and bruises and given a colorful band aid just because I knew it would take the hurt away. Superficial wounds hurt too. As a mother I know a Popsicle will ease the trauma of a fall or distract while plucking splinters from a toe. 

Those sweet baby feet so tender and warm. I close my eyes and cherish the smell; its softness lingers and melts into my memory’s soul.

And there are those other moments too where I have walked the halls while comforting a sobbing child. Not sure which one of us wanted to cry more.

I have sat beside a hospital bed listening to the drone, beep and whistles of machines telling me my son was fighting for his life. I knew he would win.

We lovingly chide and cajole. We dance when they pee. We sing silly tunes to get them to poop. We wave good-bye to the creation of waste and watch it swirl in a flush.

We add stars to charts, make beds, sweep crumps, and pour milk in our coffee from a ‘sippy’ cup.

We let them wear snow boots in July and flip flops in December just because they are having one of those days.

I have held, wiped, rocked, cursed, screamed, cried and wondered am I doing this motherhood thing right? 

We do it right and wrong. We learn to forgive and listen to our hearts. We learn to let go and let be. We see ourselves young and we grow too.

We walk with exhaustion and weariness but also with joy and happiness.

We wear the stains of motherhood; any infant’s cry can be the ‘let down’ of milk.

We help one another when the car seat won’t click. Some days nothing clicks into place.

We let go at school and walk away trying hard to smile but the lump in our throat we can’t hide.

We give the keys and turn them free.

We listen, laugh, and carry each other through. 

We want to hear, “You did okay, mom.” They now stand taller and I look and say back, “You did well too.”

And we hear the same thing. It’s called love.

I am a mother
by Carolyn Riker

a mother’s love
is a child’s first love
the birth
a gift washed
upon the shore
nurtured from the
milky moon breast
moments after birth
I met your eyes
Endless orbs
the breath of new
Creation held in my arms
Toes creased
Fingers curled
a mother’s love
wrapped in a cocoon
a mother’s instinct
to protect
tender right now
to let go as they grow
a mother’s love
is what I give you

Carolyn Riker
M.A., LMHC is a counselor, teacher, writer and poet. She’s been a regular columnist for Rebelle Societyand prior to that several years at Elephant Journal. A collection of her work is available on her blog, Magic of Stardust and Words. Her poetry and prose has been featured in three books:  Journey of the Heart: An Anthology of Spiritual Poetry by Women. Where Journeys Meet: The Voice of Women's Poetry and Best of Rebelle Society, Volume I: Celebrating the Art of Being AliveBetween sips of coffee or tea and navigating life, Carolyn leads journal writing workshops, tutoring and has a private counseling practice. She  is author of Blue Clouds her first collection of poetry and prose, and is presently co-editing on an anthology with BethAnne Kaparnsky Wright. Carolyn can be reached via her e-mail address or on facebook here.  

~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~ 


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