On Tuesday evening a large group of women in congress were dressed in white for the State of the Union address. They functioned as a group; they sat stoically quiet or they looked to each other for cues for when they would clap. They all stood and chanted “USA” when the President noted that congress now had the largest number of women ever.
Certainly we can glad about the participation of women in congress. My prayer is that they will examine the issues carefully. Their job is to participate in legislation that benefits the health and safety of the men, women, children and infants in this country.
As I watched the cheering women in white I wondered where the role of motherhood stands in America.
The role of a mother is sacrificial and often looked down on in our culture. Yet a mother can have a tremendous influence on the future by nurturing the family.
In the years that I have been blogging I have met many women that are focused on the health and well-being of the family.
Jacqueline is an American nurse and mother. Her website, Deep Roots at Home focuses on homemaking, parenting and healthy living.
Tehila lives in New Zealand and writes about faith and family life at Women Abiding.
Leslie Leyland Fields is a mother of six and lives in Alaska. She is a writes books and essays in addition to her blog. Many times her words touch on family life. Click here to visit her blog.
Anna lives in Israel and has a young family. She writes books and blogs about family life on their homestead. She blogs at Domestic Felicity.
I am thankful for women who are sharing the wisdom they have gained through motherhood.
On Thursday evenings I look forward to seeing the prompt that Kate Motaung has chosen for Five Minute Friday. I enjoy linking up with this community of writers and seeing where the word takes us. Today’s prompt is: INTENTIONAL
I was born in the 1950s, before the b.c. pill became widely available
My mother had five of us. The women in my church had anywhere from three to five, maybe six children. My aunt had six children.
I was just out of nursing school when Roe v. Wade legalized abortion. I still remember the young woman that was brought in to the labor and delivery unit where I was working. She was there for a saline induction and as I understood what was happening, I was horrified. The baby would die before being delivered.
The next day I went to the nurse manager and told her that I could never be assigned an abortion case. I wrote a letter about my conviction, and it was placed in my file at work.
I grew up in a different age. The sexual revolution has made things seem common, things that are harmful to women.
I want my granddaughters to know that they should protect their bodies. I want them to know that sex is a deep bond reserved for marriage. It is just one part of a life-long commitment to one man.
I want them to know that sometimes pregnancy is a surprise, but it is always a gift. Motherhood is hard; it is a self-sacrificing role, but it has many joys. It is a time to get close to God. A time to lean in to Him for strength and guidance.
Motherhood is hard and self-sacrificing. As I look back I remember the fatigue, the laughter and tears, the hard questions and my shortcomings. The years have passed by quickly.
Now I am a grandmother and I realize that God was refining me. I was blessed by the Lord’s guidance, the prayers that were answered. I am thankful for the great joy that my family gives me.
Two recently released books bring attention to the role of mothers. Erica Komisar has written Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters. The Wall Street Journal had an article about the author, who is a psychoanalyst, and reviewed her book. Ms. Komisar pursued research into the hormones released during birth and breastfeeding. She discussed the love hormone, oxytocin.
Oxytocin, Ms. Komisar explains, “is a buffer against stress.” Mothers produce it when they give birth, breastfeed or otherwise nurture their children. “The more oxytocin the mother produces, the more she produce in the baby” by communicating via eye contact, touch and gentle talk.1 //
I am currently reading Redeeming the Feminine Soul: God’s Surprising Vision for Womanhood by Julie Roys. The author looks at the confusion in our culture over sexuality, marriage and gender. Ms. Roys goes back to scripture for direction. One chapter in the book is titled Marginalizing Motherhood. She writes:
Many moms today need to hear that motherhood is worth sacrificing some of their best years. Unfortunately, that’s not what they are hearing—not from society and not from the church.2
Women are struggling with the demands of mothering. But it is a God given role. A few pages later Ms. Roys continues:
God values motherhood because he values children and is critically concerned with transferring the faith from one generation to another.3
Children need mothers, and mothers need God’s help. They need encouragement from friends and family. One of my favorite scenes in the Bible is the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth.
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” Luke 2: 39-45
And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home. Luke 2:56
If you are a young mom, be encouraged. God is faithful to answer prayers. If you are older, like me, you can encourage a young mom. As women of faith we can seek ways to come alongside women that have experienced miscarriage or infertility. There are joys and sorrows in motherhood; we can share them.
Every Friday the FMF community writes for five minutes on a prompt given by Kate Motaung. Sometimes the first five minutes of writing stimulates more thought, and I continue on . . . Today’s prompt is: NEED Visit the Five Minute Friday Community here.
Taranto, James, “The Politicization of Motherhood” The Wall Street Journal, October 28-29, 2017 A11
Roys, Julie, Redeeming the Feminine Soul: God’s Surprising Vision for Womanhood, Nashville, Tennessee: Nelson Books, 2017 p. 148
It’s Friday and I am joining the community hosted by Kate Motaung. For five minutes we write fast and free. The prompt is: EMBRACE
Five minutes ends at this mark: //
Last week I was at the zoo with my daughter and granddaughter. At the gorilla house we saw two mama gorillas with their infants—one 7 months old and one 3 weeks old.
The mama gorillas were carrying their infants around as they swung from the ropes or as they sat. The 7 month old baby was allowed to be with one male gorilla but the other males were chased off. These female gorillas had embraced motherhood.
So I have been thinking about the human experience of transitioning to motherhood. In our fast paced culture we don’t give much support to the enormous changes that take place in a woman’s life when she makes the transition to motherhood. //
South Korea has begun establishing post partum care centers. An expectant mother can book a two-week stay at the center. Nurses will care for her infant and bring the babe to mom for feedings. Meals and special treatments like massage are provided for mom. You can read more about it here.
I am grateful that women from my church brought meals and even helped clean my house during the weeks after my twins were born. My mother and mother-in-law came for periods of time. New mothers need to be nurtured as they embrace motherhood.
How can we help the women in our circle of influence with the transition to motherhood?
Bring a nutritious and hearty meal or bring a frozen meal that she can have on hand.
Offer to help clean, do laundry
Listen to her as she processes her experience of childbirth