What Do Mothers Do?

In a bathroom, a tube of toothpaste lies open on the floor. Its top has rolled goodness knows where. A toothbrush with some paste on it lies unused on the rim of the sink. Someone must have been disturbed who was about to brush their teeth. That person is in the next room. She’s a woman, a mother with her baby. What is she doing? Well, how you answer depends on you yourself and what you see when you look at her.

Putting two and two together, you may seen an unfortunate woman with a very demanding baby who couldn’t even wait two minutes while his mother brushed her teeth but cried and cried until she had to go and pick him up. You may offer to hold the baby, but the baby is so unreasonable that he clings to his mother and won’t trust you or anyone else. You may ask yourself why babies were ever invented. This probably isn’t you. You will have your own unique way of seeing. I’m going to end this book by telling you what I see.

I see a totally exhausted-looking mother, pale with dark shadows under her eyes, who miraculously has the energy to sing and rock her baby in a way that he is starting to recognize. I see him relax, and his tense body seems to melt into her arms. He isn’t crying now. His whole being is attentive to the music and wonderful rhythm of the mother who is comforting him so well. It takes a long time until he finally reaches sleep. When he does, the entire room seems at peace. Something momentous seems to have changed. It has been a journey, a transition from distress into harmony. The mother looks up with a warm smile. The miracle was hers, but perhaps you and I helped her by being there and seeing what she did as “something”.

Taken from What Mother Do Especially When It Looks Like Nothing by Naomi Stadlen

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