"Mothering isn't something one learns, Maggie. It's something one does. It doesn't come naturally to any woman because there is nothing natural about having a life completely dependent upon one's own. It's the only kind of employment that exists in which one can feel so utterly necessary and at the same moment so entirely alone. And in moments of crisis--like this one, Maggie-- there is no sagacious volume in which one looks up answers and thus discovers how to prevent a child from harming herself.
Children do more than steal one's heart, my dear. They steal one's life. They elicit the worst and the best that we have to offer, and in return they offer their trust. But the cost of all this is insurmountably high and the rewards are small and long in coming.
And at the end, when one prepares to release the infant, the child, the adolescent into adulthood, it is with the hope that what remains behind is someting bigger--and more--than Mummy's empty arms."
--The Missing Joseph, (chapter 5), Elizabeth George; Bantam Books, New York; 1993