04 February 2011

# Family # Love

Love Bytes #4 - A Mother's Love

Guest Post by Joanie at “Raising an Army”
I brought children into this dark world because it needed the light that only a child can bring. ~Liz Armbruster

When Priya asked me to be a guest poster on her blog this month and share a little something about what love means to me, I was thrilled and honored. Priya is, after all, one of my bloggy heroes. Every time that I read her blog I am inspired by her words. As the time for my post drew ever nearer, however, I started to get worried. Could I meet her expectations? What could I possibly bring to a blog whose author I admire so greatly?

Then I read Bella's post and went into full-blown panic mode. That was an awesome post. She set the bar really high! How could I possibly hope to measure up to that? What could I write about that I had any insight on?

The answer came to me as I went to my own blog to type up my “Whine and Roses” post yesterday. My blog is (mostly) a humor blog about (mostly) parenting, aptly titled “Raising an Army” as I have four children of varying ages (with no intentions of stopping at four!) and a husband who is in the application process for the Canadian Armed Forces. If there's anything I know about, it's children!

When I was twenty, I thought I knew everything I needed to know about love. An idealist, I believed that the ultimate adventure lay before me when I packed everything I owned and moved to the other side of the country to be with the man I “loved”. We were college sweethearts and eager to start a life together. Neither of us wanted children. We had a very specific lifestyle – filled with partying, alcohol and drugs – and children just simply did not fit into that mix. No, we were too selfish for children...they might cramp our style.

When I was twenty-one, two pink lines appeared on a home pregnancy test and my house of cards came tumbling down. Everything changed and what I knew about love was foremost among those things. I began to change my way of living to better accommodate the little bean that was growing inside me...but my boyfriend was a little more resistant to the change. Why should he adjust his attitudes and behavior? He wasn't pregnant, after all.

On July 12, 2002 my son James was born. I would love to tell you a perfect tale about an easy delivery and how my baby was laid in my arms for me to fall instantly in love with, but that would not be the true story. James had aspirated meconium in the womb and instead of the sweet cries of a newborn upon his delivery, there was a deathly silence. Instead of happy and delighted faces there were looks of fear and concern. After what seemed like the longest moment of my life they managed to coax weak cries from him and he was rushed from the room after I got a brief peek at him. (I very much wish I had pictures of this moment to share with you, but this was in the days before I went digital, and I have no scanner right now.)

It wasn't until later that night I got to hold my fragile little boy, but the moment I did I learned about love all over again. This love was different. It was not only tender and heartwarming, it was fierce and primal. It was a love unlike any I'd ever experienced before. This love was the love of a Mama. The love that says, “Put a hand on my baby and I'll make sure you experience a world of hurt.” In that moment I knew that I could never return to my old lifestyle. This little creature deserved more. He deserved better.

His father and I lasted about four months after that, but the inevitable breakup wasn't nearly as heartbreaking as I thought it would be. After all, anyone that couldn't have my baby's best interests at heart...wasn't really worthy of my love after all.

Shortly after I broke up with my ex, I met Johnny. I never expected it to work because this long-haired hooligan with multiple piercings couldn't possibly know what it meant to love a tiny baby so fragile and dependant...could he? But he could. The more time he spent with my son, the more evident his love for James became, and as a result the more my love for him grew.

We married in January of 2004 and in April I discovered that I was pregnant again. I was simultaneously thrilled and worried. Could I love another child like I loved my firstborn? James was the center of our universe, our sun as well as our son – Johnny and I merely revolved around him.

Hayden arrived triumphantly on November 23rd and this time there was no health scare. He was a healthy screaming 8lb, 13oz bundle. They placed this shrieking red infant on my stomach and I learned something new about love again. A mother's love doesn't divide – it multiplies. There was no need to take some of the love I had for James and share it with Hayden because I had an equal amount for Hayden already.

I learned this again on December 5th, 2006 with the arrival of Silas and again this past July 14th when Lola Sophia joined us. As a mother of four, my heart is so full of love that sometimes I feel as if it could burst.

I have now been a mother for 8 years, 6 months, 3 weeks and 2 days. Here's just a taste of what I have learned about a mother's love in that time:

- Love multiplies exponentially with every child you add into the mix.

- Love has no limits. It doesn't cut off with, say, three children. It just grows and grows.

- Love sees you capable of doing things you always said was impossible. Quitting a drug habit or freeing yourself from an alcohol dependency is more than possible when you have a child to love.

- Love isn't perfect, but it is forgiving. You will do things that you swore you would never do, and that's okay because...

- Love is flexible. It doesn't box itself into a corner and it changes to suit each individual child and their specific needs.

- Love is unconditional and without end. It doesn't matter what your child says or does, you will always love them. No matter what. You may not always agree with or approve of their choices, but you will never stop loving them.

- Love is not always gentle and soothing, it is also brutal and fierce. If you've ever seen anyone trying to mess with a mama bear's cubs, you'll know just what I mean. There is absolutely nothing a mother won't do for her children in order to ensure their safety. Sometimes I surprise even myself.

- Love hurts. It hurts when they hurt. It hurts when they're sick. It hurts when you see them doing things that you know is going to lead to heartache and pain...but you wouldn't trade the love that they bring away in order to get rid of that hurt. You just love all the more with the hurt.

Because they're worth it.

Allow me to introduce you to my babies, left to right; Silas (4 years), James (8 years), Lola (6 months) and Hayden (6 years)

(Thank you Priya for the opportunity to share with your readers! Much love from the Army!)


  1. This post made me cry. You seem like such a strong person. Your children are all beautiful!

  2. Awww..isn't this the most beautiful and touching post J ..and aptly titled too !!
    I am still on the other side of the road but this , what you just wrote makes me cross over like now , right now ..
    You're one of my best'est' friends I have found in this blogggin world and I am so happy to know you :)
    As for the lil army you know I love them too with all my heart :)

  3. I just loved every word of what you've written and strange though it may seem I just wrote something about a mothers love myself...I totally agree with everything..and you sure did strike a chord in my heart.

  4. Your little army is beautiful! This is such beautiful post that warmed my heart while reading it! @ Priya your missing something girl...hopefully soon you can join us moms!

  5. Lady, you had nothing to worry about! This post is not only heartfelt, it describes another aspect of love, one of the most important, in fact, maternal love. That unconditional, love you even if you say you hate me, love you even if you spit on me and scratch me, love you even if I'm too tired to keep my eyes open and you think it's time to dance around the living room one more time. Beautifully delivered and one that mothers can nod their heads to and say, "Absolutely!"

  6. Love this post thanks for telling me about it I'm going to check out her blog now :) I'm a new follower of yours as well


  7. This made me tear up too. I remember when I was pregnant with our second i had fears of the possibility of not being able to love another as much as I loved our first. But love is amazing how it grows, you are so right. You are very blessed indeed.

  8. I cried after reading your post.
    Its so so so beautiful Joanie. I wish I could hug you.

  9. Joanie - This is truly a heart warming post. A mother's love is truly special and it's amazing how she can have a unique way of loving each child according to their need! Your children are such darlings too!


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