I’ve heard it a 100 times. The ‘before I had kids’ line. Like ‘before I had kids I’d jump out of a plane. Before I had kids I’d take that risk. I’d take rides in small aircraft. I'd do that trek, I’d bungee jump…skydive’ and so on. The lists are long and diverse yet the one thing which women who make such a statement often follow it up with is. ‘Not now, not with the kids being as young as they are. I’d never take that risk’.
Amanda Keller said it brilliantly years ago when on national TV. During a live debate, she talked about holding her newborn son in her arms for the first time and looking down at him and thinking: ‘Wow the world can really hurt me now’. The line stayed with me. Even though I didn’t have children at the time she said it, I never forgot her words. I hear what she says and millions of mothers everywhere would too. You see since my children have been born the world has become a lot scarier and in a small way, I feel that I have lost some of the courage I once had. I am fearful of so much more now, because of them. My health, their health, their safety, our family’s wellbeing and so on. I think back to how I felt and what I did before I had children. None of these concerns were there.
It’s an interesting contrast, as being a mother in many ways makes us more courageous on our children’s behalf. We’d do anything to protect them, go into bat for them at the drop of a hat- take on the greatest of challenges on their behalf- the lioness protecting her cubs. However, for me, and I imagine, a lot of women out there, being a mum has made me more vulnerable. As Amanda said, I am acutely aware that the world can really hurt me now. Yesterday I celebrated Mother's Day with my three beautiful children and my own incredibly selfless and loving mother, I reflected on these thoughts. As I put down my third homemade card, opened the gifts bought at the Mother's Day school stall and confirmed for the tenth time that I liked them all equally and ‘had no favourite present’ I thought, as I looked at my three precious children, ‘give me vulnerability any day’.
Clare Sultmann is a wife, mother of 3 and the founder of Dear Molly.
As a survivor of a catastrophic accident, former barrister at