The Power of Motherhood
I recently read my journal entries from years ago when Sweet Lou was an infant. Spattered here and there throughout the days I'd get all optimistic (or maybe an extra 5 minutes of sleep) and write out some goals for how to "do better" and be a functioning human. On these pages my daily goals were to wash my face and eat three meals a day.
You think I'm joking.
Or maybe if you're a new mom, or one who clearly remembers those days, you know I'm not joking.
For a solid six months (from when I started journaling again when my daughter was 8 weeks old through eight months old) I wrote the wrong year for every single journal entry. Every stinkin one.
These made me giggle, remembering living for feedings and changes and snuggles. When she breathed, I breathed. When she slept, or maybe more acccurately if she slept, I slept.
And then I read more of the entries. I was surprised to hear my words from most every single page "God, where are you?", or "The darkness is pressing in all around me and I am sure I will suffocate." Page after page was a cry for God not to leave me, a plea for Him to shed some light in my soul, and repentance after repentance of anything I could think of in case the darkness was my own doing.
It feels silly to be surprised by those entries, I know now that I was in the trenches of postpartum depression. But to tell you the honest to goodness truth, I don't remember that anguish as vividly as I remember Sweet Lou's chubby cheeks, or her learning to walk, or her giggle. Maybe that's because depression turned into my baseline.
But more likely, that's simply the power of motherhood.
Have you ever heard that saying that goes something like "Mothers forget the pain of childbirth when they see the baby"? Get around a group of moms who get on the subject of their labor and childbirth, and you know ain't no mama forgetting that.
It's not that we have amnesia when it comes to the pain of motherhood, it's just that we are blessed to see past it to the glory.
It is rather funny to me that Jesus himself spoke of this: "When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world."(John 16:21 ESV)
The King who made himself low, who put on pain for us, equated the wait between his crucifixion and resurrection to the pain of childbirth. In both instances, at the end, glory.
Motherhood is hard, but it is a profoundly beautiful and Christ-like mission. It was no mistake that Christ symbolically chose a woman giving birth to demonstrate the anguish Jesus' disciples, and God himself, would face.
Like most things, the very power of motherhood is in it's difficulty and bleeding heart and pain. Jesus showed us that that is what love does: it chooses to lay down it's life for another. Through this love, there is incomparable joy. Jesus does not say after a woman delivers the baby she forgets the pain, He says she no longer remembers it. One is accidental, and the other a choice.
We choose to no longer remember the pain, because through the extraordinary mother-love pouring out of us we see everything. And when our lens is love, it is all glory.