What Does It Mean to Be a Mother?

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What does it mean to be a mother? Everyone has a mother in the sense that everyone was born to a woman. The first word of almost every infant is mother: "mère", "madre", "mommy", "ma", or "mum." However, what it means to be a mother in the sense to parent a child is very different than simply giving birth. To me, a mother is a woman who parents a child, not simply gives birth to an infant. Parenting requires a balance of strength and discipline with love, a love so powerful the mother is willing to put her child's interests above her own. Our society has high expectations of mothers: we expect them to be guardian angels. I am not an angel, but there is something powerful and spiritual I feel in the connection I have to my children and I have high expectations of myself. I always know when my son or daughter is telling a lie or the truth, and I know when one of my children is sick before they know it themselves. When they scream with a fever, I shudder inside even though I must look strong on the outside. I demand respect, but my love is unconditional. Being a mother has certain practical obligations: it means giving food, shelter, warmth, and a caring hand. It also means sacrifice. I became a mother at the age of 15, to my first son, Seth. Even at that young age I was terrified by the responsibility I was assuming, for another human being's life. Yet I also knew it would be the most rewarding job in the world. I took such pride in the fact that I had created such a
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