A birth of a child is the most wondrous and exciting thing in the world – no wonder that little newcomers get a lot of attention! There are millions of appointments, visits and questionings by health care professionals, well-meaning relatives and friends. Just make sure they breastfeed properly, they gain enough weight, they sleep through the night, and develop as they „should”. The system is wired to take care of them, and to make sure they thrive. And it’s great – undoubtedly that’s the way it should be! But while there is a lot of fuss over those beautifully smelling miracoulous little bundles, nobody really thinks of, or talks about the mother. Even though, with a birth of a child another story begins there, too. A story of a new person: the MOTHER.

I have found, just like many of us I believe, that the birth of a mother is the same elemental transformation in our lives as birth itself. But many times we are left alone to cope with this arduous work. It is not only that we are rarely asked how our physical wounds are healing, how we are trying to get on terms with our changed and foreign-feeling bodies, or if we actually have a clue about how to keep a newborn alive in our new sleep-deprived, responsibility-burdened reality. But we also find ourselves with an extra challenge, sometimes even bigger than these, which nobody has ever warned us about before: the challenge of trying to define who we really are. From, literally one day to another, to forget and to question all what we thought to be true about ourselves, and to rebuild ourselves practically from scratch. It’s almost like we need to learn everything about the world, and learn to navigate around it once again.

Personally, I have found this task incredibly overwhelming at times. I felt lost and lonely so many times over the last three years, trying to figure out who I really was and how to live up to my new mother role. And quite interestingly, it was my own son who eventually gave me a helping hand.

The thing I have found the most fascinating during our long days spent together was observing him playing. For me, it felt like a miracle happening in front of me. I wanted to understand everything I saw and to know all about it, so I started reading books, articles, listening to podcasts… practically devouring all the information about it that has come my way. And while I was watching him growing and I was fuelling my passion about play and early childhood development – something that has even evolved into a little family business since then – slowly I started looking at my own personal experience with different eyes, too.

It became clear that, just like my son did, I could learn and grow into my new self the same way he was doing it. Through PLAY. By trying and failing, learning new skills every day, discovering and experimenting with ideas and possibilities, and pushing my boundaries a little bit further every day. I realised I am not supposed to be a mother from one day to another, but I can slowly become one. With raising him, I was slowly raising myself.

So this is the reason why I have chosen the title „Playing a mother” for our new blog. Yes, in the future in this little corner of the internet  I would mainly like to share my passion for the importance of play in early childhood development, and bring some food for thought on that. But I also want the title to be a little reminder, that it is OK for us not to be a perfect mother. It is OK not to know it all. It is OK “just” to enjoy learning and experimenting with motherhood itself. It is OK to read and play with ideas, and only take those which resonate and work for us and for our own families. And it is OK, to take it all with the ease and the joy of a playing child.

Picture: Jasmina Lozar