I believe that a mother’s love is perfect.
After a 39 hour labor, my oldest child came into this world. Despite my exhaustion, my pain, my complete state of bewilderedness, and my inability to use my legs, I could have leapt out of that hospital bed to protect that baby boy from a wild, rampaging cheetah that had somehow gotten into the room. (Note: I realize that wild animals do not normally roam hospital halls. Although with really good pain medication, one might think there was a cheetah in the hospital room. I’m just sayin’.)
I could have done that because a mother’s love is perfect.
Sadly, however, that unparalleled love comes wrapped within a very flawed and imperfect vessel. Mothers are not perfect. I am not perfect. I was raised by an imperfect mother, who was also raised by an imperfect mother. No doubt, my daughters will grow up and be imperfect mothers.
But we all have that pure maternal love. The love that endures bad table manners and surly teenagers. The love that suffers through a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, and is willing to try again tomorrow. The love that sees the very best in our children when they are acting their very worst. The love that makes a mother try to be as perfect as the love she has for her babies.
It is a love that no one can understand until they become a mother, through biological or adoptive means (placentas are not required.) In a world where everyone can see a woman’s weaknesses and inadequacies, very few will take the time to notice her unblemished love for her children.
There is too much judging. By people who aren’t mothers and by mothers who should know better. “She didn’t breastfeed. She breastfed too long. She’s too over protective. She lets those kids run wild. She spoils those children. She’s too strict with those children. She had an epidural. She risked her baby’s health with a home birth.”
It’s past time when we should realize that there is no such thing as a perfect mother. There is no one right way to parent. We need to understand that our love for our children is pure and good, but that it lives within a damaged, unfinished, and broken person.
I can’t demand perfection from myself, my neighbor, or even my own mother. But I can look deep inside myself and others and find that perfect mother’s love at the very core.
And that should be enough.