One of the interesting things about having a child is how other people view you in relation to your role as a parent and how this corresponds, or not, to how you view yourself.
I have, for as long as I can remember, wanted children, and I have also thought of myself as a maternal person, the kind who makes faces at babies on buses, gives good hugs, always has a hanky down my bra if needed to catch tears and is happy spending a few hours doing crafts or building models or pretending to drink imaginary tea. In fact this image of myself is so ingrained that it didn't occur to me that other people might not view me in the same way, until a woman I knew some years ago and met again recently, said that she hadn't thought of me as that sort of person.
Turns out that some people were taken in by me pretending to be focused on my career above all else. And whilst it shouldn't matter how anyone else sees me. I've mulled over this comment rather a lot. It irks me that I should have been misunderstood in this way, as if it reflects now on how I am as a mother, even though it was probably a throwaway comment and even though there is no reason that this person should have ever known about my yearning for children, or my fear I would not get them. And of course because even if this were true it should not reflect on how I am now I am a mother.
At the other end of the spectrum. I was thrilled when a newer friend, one who I have known for a few years but have become closer to recently as our children are similar ages, referred to me recently on her blog as "a born mother" (at least I think that was about me). She cannot know how pleased that made me. Which is ridiculous really because whether we have always wanted children or whether our children were unplanned, whether they came quickly or took a long time, whether we are naturally maternal or have to work at it, we are no better or worse as people and as parents. After all, we all love our children. all try to do our best by them and all face challenges along the way.