There is no real preparation for parenthood. I mean, the kind that involves someone sitting you down and explaining in well chosen words just how inconceivably different your life will look.
How nine months of accumulated sleep-loss will feel, how you will ache for a solo trip to the supermarket and how much you might lose yourself in those early years. Yet the loss curiously made way for a whole new depth that wasn't apparent to me in that painful identity collapse in my introduction to motherhood.
I learnt in that time that my thinking was not my friend. I thought that motherhood would come naturally and yet it was unfathomably hard. I thought that love had eluded me. Self-love seemed to be lost in transit and in its space the fear was rising.
But in the toughest moments I underestimated the reserves of courage to call upon. And eventually I allowed myself to let go of analysis and trust what lay beneath. Like a lock gate, fear released its hold and the love poured through every inch of my being. It had always been there, waiting patiently. It always is. Everywhere.
We just don't see it as we are blinded by our thinking.
There are so many lessons in parenthood. Children are our greatest teachers. They open our eyes to new possibilities in the world and their endless curiosity gently teases and challenges us to let go of stale beliefs.
They are propelled into our lives and they show us so much about ourselves. We think we need to shape them and manage them, instil them with our knowledge, but they are already whole beings - wise and knowing in many ways. Khalil Gibran summarised in verse: "They are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. And though they are with you, they belong not to you."
Their tenacity and force tests us in ways we never thought possible. We are pushed to a precipice with their constant demands and questions, until we are quite weary. Then with one small gesture or comment, they pivot our world 180 degrees.
This morning my daughter turned to me and quietly said "I love you and daddy and Oscar, mummy, I love everyone."
I replied "That is so very precious Vivi. Tell me where you feel it, is it in your heart?" She smiled knowingly and said: