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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

Wilkinson: Mother's Day

This is my second Mother’s Day as a mom, but my first without the fog of having just had a baby. I proudly declare that fog lifted.The cliche rings true: What a miracle it is to have a child! Best case scenario, your dreams of parenthood are achieved as soon as you wish with the birth of happy, healthy baby. Even better, your family makes it to his or her first birthday with the everyone still happy and healthy. Phew.

On the flip side of that ideal, there is heartache as some women struggle to conceive; some struggle to make it through pregnancy; some struggle in postpartum; some struggle to nurse; some struggle with wrapping their head around all the concepts of motherhood in the first place; and on and on. A few of these issues were all too real for me.

On top of these highly personal matters, there are the words and ideas and, unfortunately, judgement from others about how you should be doing it differently. So many times, the world tells you that you must do things a certain way when your own reality dictates otherwise, leading to self-doubt and unjustified guilt.

Even though there are a million women at any time with the same issues as you, unless you seek them out, motherhood can feel isolating. We don’t live in the villages of yore anymore, where grandmothers, mothers, sisters, nieces, and fifth cousins twice removed were helping to take care of your baby. Some of us don’t even live on the same continent as our families, much less coasts or states or towns. So it’s a gift to have close family or friends who advise and honor your decisions - whether they're supporting you through your hardships or showing you that you can give yourself permission to choose other than what present day scrutiny may dictate. I also found that a caring lactation consultant can work wonders.

Some freedom came to me in five simple words: Be kind to yourself, too.

Our respective journeys as mothers are surprising, frightening, exciting, heartbreaking, hard, joyful, spirited and, for me, worth it. My heart could burst.

This Mother’s Day, I hope to be able to really appreciate what motherhood means. I plan to honor myself and the little one who made me a mother. I will be proud of our accomplishments and the parenting decisions I’ve made.

I am definitely not a perfect mother. But I’m the perfect one for my son. And vice versa. What a remarkable symbiosis. One that’s worth celebrating.

From farmer to teacher, Brooke Wilkinson now works to bring music to young children throughout the region. She lives with her husband and two children in Strafford, Vermont.
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