Empty Nest… More Like an Empty Heart

Moving on from Motherhood was something which I thought was going to be relatively easy.

Little did I realise before my children were born, when I told my Mother that having children would not change my life, I didn’t know what I was talking about. I can remember the anger I felt at my Mum and Nan’s laughter at my disclosure, following me out of the door, as my heavily pregnant body waddled its way back home.

Embracing parenthood

I learnt that just being a Mother, is not enough. It’s also about what you’re doing, how you act and assess your role in the relationship. That ethereal bond is there when they are born. The symbiotic, attached relationship born out of intimate closeness and an intertwining of stem cells, which take up residency in a mothers brain. If she chooses to be open to the connection, it will even change her neural pathways. Maybe that is why a Mothers intuition is so strong.

I carried both inside me – getting to know their patterns of waking and sleep. How when I moved, it changed what they did. Although they were separate individuals growing inside me – our lives were intertwined. I learnt to look outside myself for help sometimes, but to recognise when – as Mother – I knew what was right for my kids. Even if to everybody else it looked wrong.

Chloe relaxing

My first thought after falling pregnant with my second child, was how will I have enough love for both of them. Funnily enough, my heart has been stretched wide during their childhood, as I have not just embraced them but their cousins and friends within my heart. I discovered a huge well and capacity for love.

I’ve learnt along the way how you can hurt them by your thoughtlessness, affect their lives in the choices you make, the words you use and the actions you take but I’ve also learnt how to make them feel loved, wanted, cherished  and appreciated. I’ve also learnt that depending on what stage another person is at – you can also be viewed as a hero or a nightmare.

Being a mum has shown me the need to step up, has helped me develop accountability and how to take responsibility for my part in their development, within our relationship. All is part of the process, I believe. If you’ve done it properly.

connor

Today I sit with an empty heart. My ‘job’ is done. My heart has been expanded. Neither children need me to help them with their lives anymore. Having them has taught me how to love and those lovingly crafted tools & skills, I have been able to give back to them consciously. It is a slightly anxious time for me – knowing that alongside these, they now learn by their own experience and choices. I must stand back.

In my heart I grieve the last part of letting go of my babies. A process which has been happening from the moment I felt the fluttering in my belly which told me I was pregnant. As I look outwards towards them, I feel an immense joy and pride that these two adults are my children – stepping out to build their own lives in the way they see fit. Treating their relationships with the importance they deserve, respecting themselves and knowing the value in giving kindness to others.

I suppose this is the relational legacy I leave my children with. I hope I’ve taught them how to be themselves within one. How to have happy, loving relationships, to stay open to others whilst respecting the needs of the self. To be honest and true, reflect on and change within what needs to be done, if it is damaging to another who has connected with them in intimacy.

I suppose in reality, what I am saying in this moment, of recognising the passing of one phase of motherhood into into another, is. I hope I’ve taught my children how to love and love well.

 

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2 thoughts on “Empty Nest… More Like an Empty Heart

  1. I had similar thoughts and feelings to you, Jan. “These kids aren’t going to change me” – ya right! My daughter moves into her own townhouse this fall. The empty nest process will be complete. I know you’ve taught your kids to love and love well and I hope I’ve done the same. 🙂

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