How Do You Measure a Mother?

How do you measure a mother? To know, for once and for all, that she’s a good mother?

Do you measure a mother in months? The number she had to try for before parenthood became her reality? What about pushes? How many it took to bring her baby earthside? Or stitches, maybe, the number she got after pushing … or after a scalpel helped her baby make its way into the world? If there are more does that mean she worked harder? If there are none does that mean she’s not really a mother?

No, you can’t measure a mother in the number of months she spent trying or the number of pushes she gave delivering or the number of stitches she got afterward or, in fact, whether her babe spring from her body at all. Instead, look at the way she cradles him in her arms, the way she moves her body to comfort him, the way she knows him as if she’s always known him even on the first day they met: that’s how you measure a mother.

measure a mother
Image via Unsplash/ Kevin Liang

{ MORE: Moms Can Now Find Out Exactly What Is In Their Breast Milk }

Do you measure her in ounces? Ounces nursed or pumped or scooped from a can and mixed with water as a hungry mouth wails? Is it is the number of ounces that make their way into that hungry mouth or what those ounces are made of that matters most? It’s neither: you can’t measure a mother's worth in ounces. Instead, look into her baby's eyes as he feeds and watch them soften with love and trust and sleepiness: that’s how you measure a mother.

Do you measure a mother in pounds? The number she gained or how many she’s lost? How about by the number on the tag of her jeans? Whether it’s gone up or down or stayed the same? No, you can’t measure a mother in pounds. Instead, watch as her little one snuggles into her softness or her muscles tense, tired from yet another long day of holding someone very small very close. Don’t look at the scale to measure a mother, instead, look at the strength she possesses as she moves her body throughout the day meeting need after need after need: that’s how you measure a mother.

Can you measure a mother in tears? In how many she’s cried since becoming a mother or the reasons that they fall? Is she more of a mother if there have been fewer tears? Is she less of one if there have been more? No, you can’t measure a mother in tears. Instead, look at how gently she wipes the wetness from her child’s cheeks and how tenderly her lips touch the source of the pain: That’s how you measure a mother.

A mother cannot be measured in months or pushes or stitches or ounces or pounds or tears. A mother can be measured instead only by the intangible: the glow in her eyes, the love in her heart, the softness in her touch. While there may be no scale or ruler that can measure these things, a mother’s child knows it when they feel it and that’s how you measure a mother.  

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How Do You Measure a Mother?

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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