The "kindness of giving you a body" means that, at first, our bodies are not fully matured nor are our pleasant complexions. We started in the mother's womb as just an oval spot and oblong lump, and from there we developed through the vital essence of the mother's blood and flesh. We grew through the vital essence of her food while she endured embarrassment, pain, and suffering. After we were born, from a small worm until we were fully grown, she developed our body.
The "kindness of undergoing hardships for you" means that, at first, we were not wearing any clothes with all their ornamentation, did not possess any wealth, and did not bring any provisions. We just came with a mouth and stomach-empty-handed, without any material things.
When we came to this place where we knew no one, she gave food when we were hungry, she gave drink when we were thirsty, she gave clothes when we were cold, she gave wealth when we had nothing. Also, she did not just give us things she did not need. Rather, she has given us what she did not dare use for herself, things she did not dare eat, drink, or wear for herself, things she did not dare employ for the happiness of this life, things she did not dare use for her next life's wealth. In brief, without looking for happiness in this life or next, she nurtured her child.
She did not obtain these things easily or with pleasure. She collected them by creating various negative karmas, by sufferings and hardships, and gave them all to the child. For example, creating negative karma: she fed the child through various nonvirtuous actions like fishing, butchering, and so forth. For example, suffering: to give to the child, she accumulated wealth by working at a business or farm and so forth, wearing frost for shoes, wearing stars as a hat, riding on the horse of her legs, her hem like a whip, giving her legs to the dogs and her face to the people.
Furthermore, she loved the unknown one much more than her father, mother, and teachers who were very kind to her. She watched the child with eyes of love, and kept it warm in soft cloth. She dandled the child in her ten fingers, and lifted it up in the sky. She called to it in a loving, pleasant voice, saying, "Joyful one, you who delight Mommy. Lu, lu, you happy one," and so forth.
The "kindness of giving you life" means that, at first, we were not capable of eating with our mouth and hands nor were we capable of enduring all the different hardships. We were like feeble insects without strength; we were just silly and could not think anything. Again, without rejection, the mother served us, put us on her lap, protected us from fire and water, held us away from precipices, dispelled all harmful things, and performed rituals. Out of fear for our death or fear for our health, she did divinations and consulted astrologers. Through many ritual ceremonies and many other different things, in inconceivable ways, she protected the life of her child.
The "kindness of showing you the world" means that, at first, we did not come here knowing various things, seeing broadly, and being talented. We could only cry and move our legs and hands. Other than that, we knew nothing. The mother taught us how to eat when we did not know how. She taught us how to wear clothes when we did not know how. She taught us how to walk when we did not know how. She taught us how to talk when we did not know how to say "Mama," or "Hi," and so forth. She taught us various skills, creative arts, and so forth. She tried to make us equal when we were unequal, and tried to make the uneven even for us.
Not only have we had a mother in this lifetime, but from beginningless samsara she served as a mother countless times.
Gampopa (The Jewel Ornament of Liberation: The Wish-Fulfilling Gem of the Noble Teachings)