It must be terrifying for a woman to discover, for the first time, that she has a baby inside her and she is going to be a mother: joyful, but terrifying too. So much is unknown. She knows second hand what is going to happen, but first-hand experience is new, unfamiliar, and there is no way of stopping it from unfolding. This is something that she must do on her own, it is ultimately all on her. It is on the job training with incredibly high stakes.
One wonders how women embark on this terrifying motherhood journey, while males of the same age, often, still haven’t severed the umbilical cord. Women’s bodies are going to change dramatically week by week, hormones will fluctuate like yoyos, emotions rollercoaster, self-appointed judges will pronounce verdicts and at the end of many months there will still be more pain than is experienced in any normal lifetime. The question springs to mind: why do they do it? A short time later with more reflection, we might ask how do they do it?
I am guessing what gives women the heroism of so much perseverance and self-sacrifice is the knowledge that so many of their sisterhood have already gone down this path. All the mothers in history, all the mothers in their family, all the mothers in their circle, the mother of our Lord, all these women tell the first-time mother without words, “You too can do it, you can do hard but wonderful things.” And so humanity goes on, babies are born and women become mothers. Being a mother is a life sentence, but they do it anyways.
When we all have had mothers to show us the way, I wonder why our society is unable to ask its members to do difficult but right things. Instead, we educate our young on stratagems to use each other, mechanical methodologies to become doormats to the gimme, gimme voices inside. There is not a word about behaving with honor or behaving in ways that ways we will not regret when the future replaces the present. In Canada we have Cannabis stores popping up on every street corner, all the while knowing that pot can trigger schizophrenia and a host of other mental health problems. But do we dare ask our citizens to do the right thing or the hard thing? In Canada we have legalized assisted suicide for our elderly, infirm and depressed. It is maybe an easy exit, but is it right? How can we break this addiction to doing the easy thing and an aversion to doing the right thing when it is difficult?
In the 1760’s, the British chain of command instructed its soldiery in Pennsylvania to gift the local natives with smallpox infected blankets. Flash forward to modern day. In 2017 Justin Trudeau pledged 650 million of taxpayer money to fund abortion, contraception and sex education for the countries of the world with darker complexions than those of most Canadians. To be fair, it may not be our Prime Minister wanting to give something warm, fuzzy and destructive to nonwhites while looking good in the process. He may simply be modelling the modern Canadian value system. We have taken Patrick Henry’s war cry and rephrased it to a peace-loving “Gimme me comfort or give me death.”
But I have waxed despairingly and that is not good. Negativity is a soft inviting pillow, another manifestation of the easy thing, not the right thing. Carl Sandburg wrote “Every child is God’s opinion that life should go on.” Methinks the self-sacrificial lives of so many mothers is what helps form God’s opinion that life should go on. If you can, give your mom a hug today.