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Awesome Motherhood

August 9, 2010
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It is not always easy to be a mother. Especially, it is not always easy to remember how awesome it is to be a mother.

In motherhood: greatest awe,

depth of sorrow,

numbness of sleeplessness,

immeasurable joy!

I will celebrate forever,

— when I am a little stronger.

It is simply and utterly beyond imagination how beautiful it is to look into the eyes of a newborn child. Hour after hour of nursing, those shining eyes never become boring.

And yet…

Children die. And when the unborn die, nobody even knows what you have lost. Anyway, even if they know, they have not had that intimacy of pregnancy for the months of your waiting; they do not miss your child.

And it hurts. Childbearing hurts. Nursing can be incredibly painful starting out, and even for months for some mothers. Infections and recovery from surgery take their toll. Even if all else goes well, babies waken in the night and sometimes mothers go weeks and months without sleeping through the night. Even years, because how do you re-establish any kind of circadian rhythm after so long. Sleep deprivation. It’s how they drive you crazy in the gulag, but for many mothers, it’s just life.

And then, after all these things, there is the guilt that you thought more about your pain than about the little person who is in your lap. You want to be grateful; you think that you will be a better mother if you can sleep through the night just once.

Moments of bliss break through. For one thing, nursing releases hormones that make you forget all the important things you were going to do afterwards and just set you up for sleep. It is a necessary mercy.

And when you wake up with the little one looking so beautiful and innocent, you understand how all those artists so easily found nativity subjects with mothers adoring their children. Happens every day; you don’t need a divine child, just a few hours of sleep.

This is just one more way that motherhood reflects the deepest mysteries of life. How could your body — with a little help from your husband — be the origin of a beautiful new person? It could not. It is impossible. The entire mystery of the Incarnation is really only one step away from the mystery of any newborn. If one is possible, why not the other?

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