As a young, ambitious and selfish woman I never wanted to put anyone before myself. I never wanted to have to share or compromise. I never wanted to have to plan or give up being spontaneous. Quite frankly I never wanted to be a mother.
At 23 my 1st marriage ended and some months later I met my now husband. He came as a package with two small boys (4,2) and an ex-wife who is the worst mother I have had the misfortune to meet.
Suddenly, all of the things I'd never wanted where there on a plate - for me to take or tip away. I chose to take them.
As the days turned into weeks, then months, then years I realised that being a mother meant all and none of the things that I feared. We had the boys live with us 50% of the time and for 50% of my time I was a great mum, for the other 50% I was still young, ambitious and selfish. Not ideal, but it worked.
In 2003 we started trying for a baby to extend our family and after several miscarriages and the heartache that no woman should have to endure I finally carried a baby full term. Although I would never chose to go through the pain of trying to concieve and infertility, I can honestly say it did make me realise just how much I wanted to have a child and be a mother. I also made some amazing friends along the way, who still support me in my journey being a mother!
In 2005 I gave birth to my eldest daughter, thinking I was prepared for what lay ahead - I couldn't have been more wrong. Why I thought being a 50% mum would prepare me for being a 100% mum I will never know! The first few months were tough, I'm not afraid to say that I struggled - often - but we got through it, together. As my daughter grew and developed into her own little self I began to see what being a mother is all about. In 2007 I gave birth to my second daughter and things were so much better this time round. I didn't expect it all to be rosy and I was prepared for the pitfalls!!
In the early days I thought that being a step-mum really didn't prepare me for being a mum. People had always told me that I may have loved the boys, but when I had my own children I would love them more. Honestly? Yes, having the girls did change things, I do feel differently towards the boys. But do I love them any less? Not a chance!
Having the girls made me realise just how precious a gift I'd been given in all four of my children.
It also made me realise that being a mother has nothing to do with the act of giving birth, it's what you do when you are with the children that matters. It's how you support them in becoming themselves, it's how you teach them about whats right and wrong, it's how you influence their morals and values. For me being a mother is about giving a piece of me to each child. It's about picking up the pieces when it all goes wrong, then showing them the right way, it's about remembering that each day will pass and you will never get the chance to have it back.I feel blessed to be called a mother and I am sure you do too.
8 months ago