What It Means to be a Mother


I wonder all the time why people choose to have children.

In a rational universe maternity wards would have long been efficiently repurposed and birth control would be far more ubiquitous than it is. There are millions of babies and children currently in need of a loving guardian, so why don’t those of us with the urge to parent choose to adopt instead? It’s a question I often wrestle with as I lean into my wondering.

The quick answer is biology. There is always a case of one’s “ticking clock” and “baby fever” to contend with. And accidental pregnancies too, of course.

But the answer I like better is creativity.

The singularly human need to make meaning of our experience in this world is, I believe, the urge to create. And the evocative result is art: the score, the film, the painting, the dance. In essence, these mediums are a creator’s attempt to capture and express to the rest of the world their multitudinous feelings of what it’s like to be human. The echo of that attempt lives on in the relationship between the art and its audience.

Our world is full of these creations and the remains of many, many, many attempts at meaning making.

The creative urge to make something of myself is one of the reasons I wanted to have a biological child. To literally make something of myself.

My life has new meaning because of my son. The ordinary miracle of his conception, gestation, birth, and young life is high art and it is low brow. He is my desire and my dreams expressed and made manifest.

Some synonyms for expression (according to the thesaurus) are ‘declaration’ and ‘setting forth.’ In setting forth this child into the world I declare that I believe in a hopeful future–one worth living into.

And I declare that rationalism, though a worthy companion, makes an egregious guide.


Happy Mother’s Day to the mamas and the meaning makers. xo



3 thoughts on “What It Means to be a Mother

  1. Betty Reuben says:

    At my age I am still filled with wonder and happiness at the world I have xcreted by having exceptional chldren grandchildren and great grandchildren. Each of you has brought a special kind of being to this world You are right Natanya there is more to creation than art and music and drama there is the wonder of life itself and what it can mean to the world. I love your expression of what it means to you. It means so much to me.I love you Grandma

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s