Being mum - it conjures up many images and many issues.
But there is nothing quite like the baby's smile, complete with that look of trust and unconditional love. Suddenly all the demands, hassles, costs and things given up seem so worthwhile.
Check the Internet and you will find thousands of sites full of personal accounts of other women's experiences of becoming a mother. Overwhelmingly, they wouldn't change it for worlds.
The baby becomes a toddler, a school child, a teenager and so the role of the mother must change as the child grows. At each stage you will face new challenges, learn new things, and find new satisfactions.
If you are a first time mother, you will need to make many significant changes to your lifestyle. The needs of your child will change your personal priorities. Things like education, career, personal freedom, and your social activities may all be affected.
You may even find it changes your relationship with your partner, friends, parents. Social activities require more careful planning when you have an infant or child to take into account in your planning of activities.
It is a job in which you learn as you go. In the first few days and weeks you may well feel very unsure of yourself with your frail new family member. But trust your judgment, draw on your own experience of childhood, watch others and learn as you go.
You will find things are sometimes very demanding. It is vitally important that you take good care of yourself therefore. You will also learn new skills - being able to manage your time well takes on a new importance, for example.
The working mother
Many mothers return to work, either full-time or part-time, at some stage during their children's early years. The benefits that result are real enough - the family income is improved, enabling the loving parent to make better provision for their children, lifestyle, health and education. Also, many women believe they find greater self-esteem from continuing their career.
There are risks - the mother can feel as if she is unsupported by her partner and that she is doing two jobs. Sometimes the extra family income is spent on things of little long term benefit to the children and their development. Sometimes the family ends up burdened by excessive debt repayments as they pursue wealth, luxury homes and other assets.
If you are considering returning to the workforce after the birth of your child make sure you discuss it thoroughly with your partner.