Most male scholars of Holy Writ and ancient tongues will affirm Genesis 3:16 “in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children” to doubtless refer to the actual process of delivering a child. Now, having experienced that miraculous occasion more than once, yes….it is most certainly painful.
But as a mother, I happen to suspect that Genesis 3 suggests a more obtuse meaning than just those few hours in the delivery room.
From nearly the moment of conception, morning sickness and all, to the day a mother passes into eternity, bringing forth that child is a journey of trial and sorrow. There is formation and discipline, illness and safety. There are spiritual needs, salvation most of all. Every day, there is some sort of sadness. Sorrow that they are fighting, grief over illness or physical harm. Worry their characters have not formed as one would like. Day by day, a mother’s heart is stretched by a Band called Love and pierced with an Arrow called Sorrow.
Is there joy and wonder and pride and love that physically hurts (literally)?? Yes. A thousand times yes (pride and prejudice…) and that is why, despite the pain, despite the difficulty, motherhood is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received.
So today as the doctor strapped little Galilea into a Pavlik harness, my heart broke just a little more. I wondered how much more my mothering soul could take. I get it. Hip dysplasia isn’t the most terrible thing. It’s reparable, short term, forgettable for the baby. But our little Gali has already been through so much. The weight of watching her restricted and frustrated, pulled those worn out strings that for 9 years have tied me to 5 very special little humans.
Sometimes I have (sinfully) felt life unfair. Wasn’t it enough to lose Damian? Did I have to also have a miscarriage, kids with allergies and asthma, a baby with intestinal atresia and now hip dysplasia on top if it all?
Others are facing much worse. Still others have dealt with far less.
Oh God, “whatever my lot, please teach me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul…” (H. Bonar) Amen.
A little side note then to all my young mother friends. Today, society has invented a near liturgy defining the ideal mother. If you don’t run your own business, if your kids aren’t decked out in organic cotton, if you don’t homeschool, if you don’t slather your kids in essential oils, if you don’t wear your baby, if your social media feed isn’t matching terracota and oatmeal….you’ve lost.
I want to tell you that if you haven’t shed tears over your sleeping child, if you fail to fill their hearts with God, if you let someone else raise your kids….only then have you lost.
Motherhood is meant to be hard. It’s meant to stretch us in the most inconceivable ways.
It’s meant most of all to bring glory to God.
1 Timothy 2:15