Dear Future Mothers
Dear Future Mothers,
Years ago, before I knew the pains of labor or the curve of my daughter’s nose, I thought I knew what motherhood was. Motherhood was a life of constant giggles, squeals, snuggles, and cuddles. It was a vocation where tiny toddlers looked up at you with adoring eyes, absorbing everything because they cherished and admired you so much. It was belly-aching laughter as those toddlers grew into children who naturally came up with funnier material than professional comedians. Motherhood was extraordinary and ordinary all at once, as each new child came into the life of every woman.
And motherhood was going to happen to me one day because, well, I’m a woman and that’s what women do. They become mothers.
Ironically, it wasn’t until I had a child that I realized that wasn’t true.
Since the birth of my daughter, several women have approached me and shared their dreams to have babies of their own. These women—whether I just happen to bump into them at the grocery store or I know them like sisters—express similar sentiments to my initial ideologies about motherhood.
Like me, some of the women are broken (aren’t we all?) and are looking for something to fill in the hole in their hearts. They’re looking for love. They’re looking for acceptance. They’re looking to feel complete.
Like me, some of these women mention an invisible, yet incredibly weighty pressure to become mothers—either because they’re receiving burdensome messages from people they know or from society at large. Some even say their “biological clock” is winding down and they’re running out of time to have children. After all, motherhood is supposed to happen to every woman, but it hasn’t happened to them yet, so now it’s just a race against the clock.
Moreover, like me, many view motherhood as a real-life version of the heart-swelling photos they see on social media. From those pictures, motherhood looks so darned cute it could melt your heart right out of your chest. How could anyone resist days and days of such endless bliss?
But ladies, if you relate to any of those things, I want to tell you something: Children are not the answer.
Here’s the truth about motherhood:
To be a mother, you have to know what you stand for and why because your child will grill you more harshly than Bill O’Reilly.
To be a mother, you not only have to know your strengths and your weaknesses, you have to accept them. Pretty soon you’ll see them in your children, and if you haven’t come to terms with your own, you might have a hard time accepting them in your children.
To be a mother, you must completely give up the desire to feel loved and appreciated—not because you aren’t loved and appreciated, but because everything you do is for a baby who doesn’t understand how utterly and amazingly selfless you are. Then, by the time your children are grown, everything you do for them has become the standard so they still don’t understand how utterly and amazingly selfless you are.
To be a mother, you have to give of yourself completely. Sometimes that means your interests and hobbies. Sometimes it means your personal hygiene. Sometimes it means your friends or your social life. Sometimes it means your sleep and your food. And, some days, it means your sanity.
To be a mother, you post heart-warming photos on Facebook because they don’t happen all the time. So when they do, they are extra precious to you.
To be a mother, you have to be well-versed in standing firm in the face of pressure. You thought your friends were bad influences? Kids are better than anyone else at trying to get you to cave into peer pressure. Especially when they want to watch Frozen.
To be a mother, you have to be a disciplinarian instead of a friend. And quite often that doesn’t feel good.
To be a mother, you have to learn how to handle chaos, clutter, loud noises, and weird smells. Especially weird smells that rub off on you. And you have to welcome people into the messiness of that new life.
But most important of all—the epitome of motherhood—is that you have to nurture another person into the man or woman God has created and called them to be. And you can do that with anyone. I’m not talking about adoption (although adoption is AWESOME). I’m saying that you can be a spiritual mother to anyone. A friend, niece, coworker, in-law, sibling, anyone. And, guess what? I bet you’ve already been an incredible mama to at least one person in that way. Maybe even two, or ten, or dozens, or hundreds.
So, my dear, future mothers, I’d like to share a secret with you: You’re already a mama.
Despite what you’ve heard, not every woman will be blessed with a baby. Heck, not every woman will be blessed with a marriage, either. That person might be you. Not because there’s anything wrong with you. In fact, it might be just the opposite. Perhaps God isn’t calling you to marriage or motherhood. Perhaps He never will. Perhaps He wants you to spend your time being a spiritual mother to many, instead of a physical mother to few.
And let me tell you, mamacita, that’s never an inadequate option.