Sunday, May 14, 2017

I thought I knew what "Mother" meant

I don't remember the day, or the place, or the event.
I think it was a bible study. 
A friend said (and others joined her opinion)
that being a mother was the greatest calling in life. 

I (silently) disagreed. 
Mostly because I did not have the wish for a big family, or for
a small family, for that matter.
I didn't see myself raising children.

No. I saw myself with a job, 
and maybe a dog, and 
lots of vacation time to go off and travel the world. 

"Mother" hadn't been in my future.

Fast forward about 10 years, 
and you see me in midwifery school. 
Oh, the irony. 
At 12, I claim to want nothing from that section of the world,
and at 21, I am steeping in it, day and night, 
Breathing the stuff. 

And then a few more months go by. 

And I realize:  
Motherhood is the greatest calling in life. 
I think the realization came during a birth we were at, probably 
when the mother first caught sight of her baby, picking it up and placing it on her chest
that moment when the pain is forgotten and the only thing that matters 
is that there is a tiny human in the room, and she 
had made it. 

Any other profession - pastors, doctors, volunteer workers, search and rescue, and yes, midwives - 
pales in comparison to the long nights of moaning and sweat,  
labor and birth, and then joy. 

Let me break it down for you, in a generalized fashion:

Most mothers spend the first three months feeling nauseous, flinching for the wastebasket at each new smell. After the first three months, the weight starts to set in. Usually by halfway through the pregnancy they start saying 'Wow. I feel huge." And the midwives express sympathy, thinking, "Lady, wait until you're 41 weeks 5 days. Then we'll talk." After the halfway point, its all growth and please-don't-go-into-labor-just-yet. And that's just from the midwife's point of view. The mothers are the ones who actually have to deal with the symptoms. They can't lay on their backs, they can't lift anything, they swell, they puke, they feel exhausted, they can't eat sushi, coffee (good gosh they give up coffee), plus anything and everything which may make them sick, and then they add in a crap ton of protein, so much water, prenatal vitamins that turn urine bright orange, iron supplements that I've been told taste SO BAD, and goodness knows what else...

And then the labor. If you take an average of like, 5,000 women, labor supposedly lasts 12 hours long. That's like, a long workday, right? No big deal? 

IT'S A FREAKING AVERAGE, PEOPLE. Some moms have one and a half hour labors. (THEY PUSH A BABY OUT OF THIER BODY IN AN HOUR AND A HALF. DO YOU KNOW WHAT GOES INTO THAT. GO AHEAD. LOOK UP HOW LABOR WORKS. AND THEN CRAM IT INTO ONE AND A HALF LUNCH BREAKS AND SEE HOW YOU LIKE IT.) Some moms have 48...64...72 hour labors. And maybe its not like, active labor where you have to focus on pushing....BUT THREE DAYS OF A CONTRACTING UTERUS. Period cramps are bad enough. I cannot imaging three days of early labor. (Men, stab a knife into your belly. That's what a period cramp feels like. Now multiply that by 10. That's labor. Also you have to push an eight pound object out of your butt hole while enduring those sensations. Have fun!) (By the way, sorry for the yelling. #endofrant #kindof)

So that's the first 10 months...

Going on the rest of your life. 

From this point, the tiny human will rely on you for e v e r y t h i n g. 

Food. Clothes. Shelter. Love. Warmth. Probably college tuition. Probably enough emotional counseling for ten people (junior high is rough, you know). Guidance through life. You get to teach them how to use a toilet, put on clothes, coordinate clothes (as much as I love a three-year-old's style, it just doesn't work when you're 25 and doing job interviews as an engineer or a secretary), handle finances, drive a car, deal with people and friends and co-workers. Moms influence what their kids believe, how they act, what foods they like and continue to like. Moms wipe their kids butts, wipe their kids faces, their hands, they wipe grins off their faces when their in trouble and wipe frowns off when there's nothing to be sad about. For goodness sake, moms let kids breastfeed for sometimes what seems like forever, sometimes for as long as they can, and sometimes for less time than anyone wants. 

Moms make people. 

Somehow, I didn't see this. I mean, I'd heard the phrase, and I'd laughed thinking 'wow, that's true'...but then, it hit. 

Being female is one of the greatest things you can be, because it gives you the capability to be a mother.

Being a mother IS the greatest thing you can be. 

Right now, with school, I'm immersed in pregnancy, labor, and birth. I'm immersed in breastfeeding, in motherhood, in family life, in bringing new life into the world safely, and even with that sometimes all you can do is watch. Usually, I watch in awe, because the job of motherhood itself is so unique, but every mother-in-the-making does it differently.


I never thought I would say this. But, I'm going to, because now it's true: 

Someday, I want to be a mother. 
Someday, I hope to be as incredible of a mother as my mother was to me. My mother is constant. I know that if I call her, she will answer, I know that if I ask for help, she will give it, and if I ask for guidance she will steady me. 

Next to God, she is the greatest support I have ever had. 

Somehow I never realized this? Somehow I had passed it by, somewhere in my 21 years I had overturned the stone with this fact under it and then covered it back up again without realizing how important it was, thinking I knew it already. 

Somehow, I thought I knew what "Mother" meant, but I actually didn't. 

I probably still don't. I've probably missed a whole section.  I mean, we didn't even touch on high school, with the staying up late worrying because the kids were supposed to be home 37 minutes ago. We didn't talk about dating (oh gosh, no let's not) or marriage (panic mode, panic mode), or the grand babies (help. please. stop.). We didn't talk about the hours spent on bent knee, praying for God's mercy and protection.  

Being a mother - and I probably still don't get it all the way - means creating the next generation. It means making people. And not just their bodies. You make their souls, and their minds, their likes and dislikes. 

Mothers, the people you make? You make them who they are, who they become. This is indeed the greatest job, the greatest calling, anyone could ever have, and we are eternally grateful; we cannot thank you enough. Happy Mother's Day!

And to my mom: 

Mom, you're amazing. I mean it when I say you are the most incredible person I could have ever met, much less have been raised by. Thank you for the time you've put into my sisters and I. Thank you for the sacrifices you've made, for the worrying, the effort, and the time. Gosh, I wish I could reciprocate even a fraction of the debt I owe you for making me who I am. And I shall try. But in all honesty, I do not think I could ever repay you. You are the greatest mother. I love you! Happy Mother's Day!