About a week ago, I was browsing instagram and an account I follow had a story that linked to a go fund me. Out of curiosity I clicked and realized I stumbled onto my worst nightmare. A beautiful little 3 year old boy gone too soon. I went from the go fund me to the girl’s instagram and scrolled back to this time last year. When her thriving two year old suddenly stopped walking, started puking and was in an out of ICU for one year, with zero answers from doctors about what was going on.
I read almost every single post that she put up in the last year. Highlighting the good, the tiny improvements, the reprieve at Christmas when he got to go home. Her unexpected pregnancy that started growing new life amidst this struggle. I read her pleas for help and prayers as the end drew near. I bawled like a baby as I read through her story.
that’s the sacred solidarity of motherhood.
I didn’t coin that beautiful phrase, but I know it all too well. I would never ever think less of any person that didn’t want to have children. And I know there are millions of people desperate to have children that would long to know this struggle. But something has changed in me since becoming a mom.
My view of life is no longer the same. In so many ways motherhood is a burden. Sometimes one I would wish on no-one. Because you are explicitly responsible for raising a human that’s good and kind and loving and full of integrity. And you look around the world and realize it’s a crap shoot if it will actually work, because no matter what you do. They can go their own way. They will forge their own path. And the years, the precious years, to make an impact are few. Eight good years at best. And the days are so long, that you get tired. Tired of shaping them. Tired of disciplining them. Tired of showing them the way.
but there’s no room to get tired on this journey
The physical and emotional struggle of wanting to protect them from every failure while also knowing it’s critical that you let them fail, is something I never would have imagined. The sheer compassion that I have not only for my own mother and the women who mothered me along my own journey is so big. But also the sheer compassion that mothering grew in my heart for all humanity is something I didn’t expect.
I see the discord on Facebook. The mom judging and the belief that your way is the best way and I’m not saying that doesn’t exist, but for me it birthed in me so much for compassion for anyone on any path, because it’s so hard.
If you’re reading this and wondering should I have children. I can’t just yes, YES, you should. Because being a mom is beautiful. Perhaps the best thing I’ll ever do, though I hope to keep leaving my own mark on the world. But it’s hard. It’s heart breakingly difficult to love something so much and know that your only purpose is to help it fly away. My kids are hard headed and stubborn and brazen and while their love for me is fierce, they still want to go their own way, even at 4 and 6 everyday, they prove to me they want to break away. And you can’t keep them small. Despite our every wish and desire. Each year passes quicker than before.
this is the sacred solidarity of motherhood
The deep understanding of these struggles and the willingness to do them all over again anyway. Because even though the struggles are larger in number, the joy they bring can’t be contained. A lovely friend of mine, shared this thought below.
“As my babies continue to grow & the seasons we’re in with them change, there will always be that sacred solidarity between mamas in different stages of motherhood. That knowing of what was hard but also what was bliss about that precious past season- that magic. The waiting season- anticipating the dream of getting pregnant or finding the right birth mama that will bring your tiny love into the world. The exhaustion & excitement of pregnancy. The sleepless nights & overwhelming love that comes with a newborn. Each season is aching in difficulty but unmatched in its joy.”