For Halifax, Nova Scotia, mother of one Anne Martell, becoming a mother meant putting the needs of her family ahead of the demands of her busy management consulting practice. "Motherhood has brought on a refocussing of life's priorities. My clients don't have the same stranglehold on my time as they did during 'Life Before Lyell.' I make sure my interviews are complete or my meetings are scheduled prior to the end of school. It's important that I be home waiting for Lyell when he gets off the bus at 2:45 p.m. I love hearing the door open with a crash and Lyell's voice calling, 'Mom?'"
Reva Wayman -- the director of a healthcare public relations agency in New York City - has also learned how to keep her personal life in balance since the arrival of her twin boys two-and-a-half years ago. For Wayman, that means keeping the number of hours she spends at the office to a minimum. "I find that I work harder while I'm at work, because I'm anxious to get back home to my family," she explained.
For many women, motherhood can be the impetus behind a career change. Wolf returned to school and then launched her career as a professional speaker after the birth of her children; de Baun launched Moms Online, one of the most popular parenting forums on America Online; and Putler abandoned her career as a software engineer with American Express in order to launch her own hospitality-industry business. Motherhood can also be the force behind massive personal growth.
"There is not a single aspect of my life which motherhood has not changed," said Lorelyn Morgan, a Haliburton, Ontario, mother of two. "Motherhood has made me about 98% more patient and less self-centred." "I believe I matured a lot after the birth of my first child," said Kim Harasek, a Chicago mother of three. "I think I am more patient, compassionate, and understanding."
"Motherhood has definitely made me a better person. I'm more loving and giving, more organized, and I exercise better self-control," said Wolf.
Like many women, Marilyn Thomsen feels that the greatest gift that motherhood has brought her has been the way it has increased her capacity to love.
"I've seen my heart expand more than I ever knew was possible," she said. It was especially interesting when I had my second child. I had worried that I wouldn't be able to love a second as much as the first, but it really was true that my heart expanded exponentially.
"I think we love our children so intensely because we give to them so fully. When you have that little tiny baby, it doesn't make any difference at all if you need to sleep or you're not feeling well or if you'd really rather read a book. You take care of the baby's needs.
"It is that daily investment of ourselves, no matter what, that blossoms into love."
Ann Douglas is the author of The Unofficial Guide to Childcare , Baby Science How Babies Really Work , and The Unofficial Guide to Having A Baby . She writes the monthly "Mom's the Word" column for Canadian Parents Online and is a regular contributor to a number of print and online publications. She and her husband Neil have four children. Ann is frequently quoted in the media on a range of parenting-related topics, and has appeared as a guest on a number of television and radio shows. She can be contacted via her management firm, Page One Productions Inc.
Ann and her husband Neil live in Peterborough, Ontario, with their four children Julie, Scott, Erik, and Ian. A fifth child, Laura Ann, was stillborn in 1996 due to a true knot in her umbilical cord.
Copyright © Ann Douglas. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.