Right off the bat, I must confess that I am writing this at 37 weeks pregnant and racked in pain. I had every intention of writing an eloquent reflection on mothers, as we have just celebrated Mother’s Day, and add my knowledge to my experience and pull it together to witness to the great power that resonates from every mother.
However, I have no intellect left. I have no knowledge beyond the present; I am a wash of tiredness, pain and a feeling of a crumpled, unredeemable mess. Yet, as I pondered how to write an eloquent post on mothers in such a state, I realized that perhaps I am best fit for the task. No, it might not be eloquent, but it would be real, true, and utterly woman.
In addition to the pregnancy I have the joy of rheumatoid arthritis to throw into the mix. I cannot stand before you very long; nor can I sit for very long; in fact, I am not comfortable anywhere. I need to keep moving to avoid the extra pain and yet all I want to do is to stop and rest. I know I am not alone; I know that many other mothers have far more trying pregnancies and complications than I have ever experienced, but when you are in the moment it is real to you. When the baby settles down into your pelvis and you feel your hips are about to break in pieces, it is real to you. At that moment, you cannot think beyond it, reason out of it or look past it. Your pain permeates everything.
Some people look to this sacrifice and call it insane. (In fact, in those moments I might join them.) Yet, does it gain us anything to stay perfectly clean? What life can we live if we never stretch ourselves? We may remain unstretched, untouched, unblemished, but a far worse cruelty awaits the pristine. It is a lack of life, a lack of love, a lack of being emptied and renewed.
Human beings must be emptied before any new life or love can flow into their souls. They must lay it all down, go out on a limb, live life to the brim, take the chances, stretch until it hurts and then continue anyway and go the extra mile. No one gained extraordinary feats in life by playing it safe, staying secure, keeping themselves unbothered and pain free. It is in her greatest pain, that woman finds her greatest triumph.
When all intellect shuts down and one is merely breathing through the next pain, she can stretch with her heart. She can reach a place of comfort and understanding that is a connection of the heart not the head, which is often fogged and disoriented anyway. She can feel the presence of the eternal – the life that makes her belly shake and kick, endowed with a spirit, a soul that will now last for all eternity. She is mother nature housing the infinite nature of life; she is a co-creator connecting with the Divine; she is carrying of the future of humanity.
How dare we have anything but respect for her. If the mother did not empty herself, allow herself to be crumpled, demolished, stretched, torn, broken, there would be no more humanity.
Sometimes it seems there is nothing left to give and yet life keeps demanding more. Life demands sacrifice. Love demands sacrifice. Our humanity demands sacrifice and giving of yourself to others. We are not autonomous beings, but we are meant to be in relation with one another. Indeed, it is only in giving ourselves away that we truly find ourselves. Women find their greatest triumph, their most spectacular success of life, when they give over everything they have, everything they knew to be their reality, and take a chance on new life.
Thank God mothers have been willing to take that chance.
For further reading on the greatness of womanhood, please check out my book “Woman, How Great Thou Art.”
Under Florida’s new 15-week abortion law, exceptions are allowed for fetal abnormalities that are discovered after 15 weeks. In such cases, two doctors must sign off saying the baby will die shortly after birth before an abortion can happen. This is unfortunate for babies like our son Samuel. Samuel was