I was laying in bed at the hospital the evening of the day my newest son was born thinking about-what else-motherhood. I find staying in the mother/baby unit of the hospital to be a unique time because although I'm tired from labor, I feel kind of pampered. With both of my kids, my experience has been that the only expectation upon me is just to be a mom; the nurses have encouraged me to sleep, eat, and kick out the visitors if I'm tired, recognizing that all any mom needs at this time is to take care of herself and her baby. I love how everything comes right to you- clean laundry, meals with desert, painkillers-even ice water and a straw are delivered into your hand.
And then you go home and things aren't so simple anymore. The rest of the world often seems to have the opposite expectation of mothers, telling them that just being a mom is a vacant way of life. (Frequently, the ones who disagree are mothers themselves.)
I feel like it's entirely appropriate to say that my children are my biggest accomplishments in life, and that's not because there's an absence of other things, it's because there's nothing else I could do that is so far-reaching as bringing another human being into the world. When I think of the things I could have chosen instead of having kids, the scope of potential accomplishments is so limited. Maybe I could have been wealthier and more accomplished, but would anyone else's life been impacted? By having my kids, my husband has become a father, my parents and his parents have become grandparents, my brother has become an uncle, my friends have become special in the eyes of a certain small person. There's a sweet little boy in existence (and now a newborn red head) whose attention is coveted by them--I can physically see how happy they make them, and I know how happy I am. I'm pretty sure that the lives of quite a few people are richer simply because they know my first son, and I know it will be the same as our new baby grows and ventures into the world.