Today as I was scrolling through Facebook…and yes I was still in bed doing it. 🙂 I came upon this post that a friend of mine reposted…and yes she is really a friend and not just a Facebook friend. I began to read it and couldn’t believe that it was almost verbatim what my post on motherhood was about. (The idea only, this author expanded on the topic as only someone who is actually walking in the shoes of being childless could understand). This article is written from the perspective of the woman left seated. I read it and thought that it was an excellent article. Then I read some of the responses and was surprised that some people thought that this author was somehow trying to detract from Mother’s Day and trying to take away the honour of being a mother.
Motherhood is so much more than giving birth to a child. Motherhood is the giving of ourselves to others. You don’t have to give birth to do it.
Mother’s Day is almost here. For some of us this day is one that brings us great joy. For other’s this day is one that holds a lot of pain. Many years ago I was sitting in church with a friend and there was an announcement from the pulpit about the upcoming Mother’s Day service and we were all being encouraged to attend. My friend said that she wasn’t going to be attending that service. I looked at her and asked why? What a question to ask…why? Such a little word, three letters…but it sometimes elicits the deepest and unexpected responses. Don’t ask this question if you are not ready to hear the answer to it! I asked this question, used this little word and was changed by the answer I received. She told me that she and her husband had been trying for years to have children but were unable to conceive. (I was unaware of this fact) She went on to explain to me in pretty graphic detail the pain that she felt during this celebration and because of that she opted out to not attend service on Mother’s Day. That Sunday, before I asked the “question” I had entered the Church all gooey eyed and excited to be one of the women who could stand up on Mother’s Day to the preacher’s call for all mother’s in the congregation to be recognized. I ended up leaving this service with a different perspective and way of thinking in regards on how to celebrate this wonderful day.
I never before tried to walk or even thought to walk in another woman’s shoes on Mother’s Day. I would usually sit beaming in my seat, puffed up because I was a mother and could participate with all the other mothers and be recognized. I was one of “them” now. I never once stopped to think about what the women who stayed seated around me were thinking. I was so focused on the fact that I now belonged to this “club”.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love that I’m a mother and can be honoured because of this on Mother’s Day. This change of thinking has not diminished me looking forward to having “my day” each year. But what it has done is made me aware of other women around me and the stories that they all have. It has made me aware of the pain that some women bear during this day. To some this day represents and reminds them of the pain of not being able to conceive, the pain of conceiving but having miscarriages, the pain of remembering abuse that they received at the hands of their mother, the pain of the loss of a child and the list goes on.
There are many ways that motherhood is represented. Motherhood is not a right of passage exclusive to women who have given birth. Motherhood is much more than that. Over the years I have had the privilege to hear the stories of many women who are not birth mothers but are mothers in so many other ways. Some women are step-mothers and raise other women’s children as their own. Some women are mothers of children they have adopted. Some women foster children. Some women are mentors to children. Some women are caregivers such as in the medical profession and “mother” patients who need that kind of nurturing. Some women are spiritual mothers. (What I mean by this is that some women have the privilege of showing children the way towards Jesus.) What a beautiful gift this is to be a woman and have the ability to nurture. To be made in God’s image, to have this part of Him in us that we have the need and ability to nurture those around us. Motherhood is nurturing others. It doesn’t matter if you have given birth to the one who you are ministering to. What is important is that you are giving that part of yourself to someone else. You are in essence sharing who God is with others.
Does this take away the pain that one feels when they find out that they are not able to give birth for whatever reason. No, I don’t think so. I believe that only God can deliver one from this kind of pain. If you are reading this and are in any type of pain because of this upcoming Mother’s Day. I encourage you to bring your pain to God and allow Him to help you through this day. You have a purpose…never, ever believe otherwise!
Here’s to nurturing…what I think is the definition of Motherhood.