I’m not sure, if I have ever written a piece about what it’s like to be a mother. I know that I write about Sofia here and there, and about the feelings that come with motherhood, about her growing up, doubts, joy and the difficult moments, but I’m not entirely sure I have ever dived deep inside myself, finding all the varying shades of the magical world called Being a Mother. I always wondered, if fathers feel the same way, and even though I can’t be a 100 % certain, I just think things are different with them. Not all of them, of course, and I don’t like to generalise any situation, but I guess people wouldn’t write songs about mothers, specifically, if there wasn’t something special about it, and following the same logic, nature wouldn’t have just randomly chosen to give female body the ability to give life.
I was in Milan, Italy, and although I enjoy my work and behind-the-scenes excitement, fashion world is my second home, I really missed my daughter. I didn’t get a manual, when she was born, telling me exactly and sincerely, how to handle that tiny alien. I had no way of knowing the things she likes and dislikes, I didn’t know when and how long she was going to sleep , or if she will like being in my arms, often my breasts or simply lying on a pillow. When she stared at me with her huge blue eyes I felt the image she saw was still quite blurry. But the fact remains, I understood that there will be several key persons in her life, and one that strongly affects her destiny: me. Mother is the one person every child has a deep relationship with, and at the same time the one that oftentimes carries a heavy burden. Besides the upbringing, the fact is that a child is an inseparable part of you, taking your energy for better or for worse and demanding you to be 100 % present. If I would have happened to had a magical book called How to Achieve Perfect Motherhood, I would have certainly known that your child does not care, if you’re having a bad day and not enough time, because they’re quite self-centred. They’re only interested in you spending as little time as possible on the phone and computer, so the communication is undisturbed and you can be a part of their games, and often their dreams.
In the beginning, I was sure that not much was going to change, but everything has. I suppose even I have changed, partly because Sofia has changed me, and partly because Mother Nature has very specific plans you can’t get away from. And so day by day, slowly but surely, a thin thread is created between you and the baby, sort of like a continuation of the umbilical cord. I sincerely believe that nobody can cut this cord. When I stop for a moment these days, I can feel her sorrow, and even though I know she is wise and strong, I also realise that she needs me, always and everywhere, and if I have to leave, she’s left without a part of her safe world and her mother’s scent, which she substitutes with my pyjamas in the evenings, just as I do with her stuffed toy, which she has lent me for the trip. And then I wonder, if it’s true that all mothers share these experiences, or do we all have the same difficulty letting go of our kids, because I can tell you truthfully that for me, the first day of school was such a shocking experience for me, I was teary eyed and I felt as if they wanted to take her away from me. Just another crazy mom, I know, but the instinct is so strong, I’m not that different from animals in this regard: I would do anything for my cub, even show my claws, even though that’s not in my character.
Sometimes, I really do wish there was a book with all the instructions, specific ones that would lead the right way. I know that would be like a Utopia, but perhaps it would make mothers’ lives at least a bit easier. And I also know that every child is a completely different story, so it’s actually impossible to have a universal manual. Nobody told me there would be a lot of sleepless nights and that there are going to be more fights with my partner over silly things and that that will be an everyday thing. And nobody told me that there is a moment when every mother literally loses herself and feels she is no longer in charge of her own time or her own life. And it wasn’t written in any book that everything changes in a woman’s brain from the moment she gives birth, like another person with a different sense of self sat behind the wheel inside your head and starts thinking and perceiving reality completely differently from before. And priorities change. And there are no more unnecessary coffees or walks around Trieste or endless window shopping. All of these things have vanished, just like my spare time, because my spare time is actually hers now …
And yet other aspects come from this story, the ones Sofia magically creates with her small magic wand … She swirls it in the air a couple of times and I’m in her world and I’m completely content there. She has taught me to listen, wait, stop, and to breathe deeply. Before, I counted to three to calm down, and now I count to thirty and more, and I often do it for her, even though I realise it’s for my own benefit as well. She has taught me to listen to the beating of my heart and to watch the angels in the light, even though she already knows now that I have more trouble noticing them. But I keep trying. And I stick to my most difficult role, to being a mom, now and forever, even without a manual that would tell me right now how to ease her pain, because I’m not there, and what I can do to feel less guilty and sad about leaving.
And then, just like Mother Nature magically makes you forget all the pain after birth, we will meet again and everything will be forgotten. We will be back in our world, we will be one again.