Reflections on Motherhood this Mother’s Day

We ask a few mothers around Australia to think about what motherhood means to them this Mother’s Day:

The (extremely) expectant mother
Eternity writer from NSW Karen Mudge’s baby was due on Wednesday 8 May. She’s still waiting.

As I’ve progressed through my pregnancy, God has been teaching me many things about myself, this child, and His role in my life. Firstly, I have been learning that God is unquestionably the giver of life. Our baby is a miracle: there is nothing I (or my husband) could do to create this new life on our own. God is knitting this new life together inside me, and our child’s life is in His hands. I am contemplating motherhood only because of God’s amazing gift of making us a part of this child’s life. This baby is truly a blessing from God.

Secondly, God has been teaching me that I am in no way in control of this pregnancy, my child’s future, or even my own role as a mother. Around me I have witnessed women who desperately seek to exert control over their state of motherhood: when they fall pregnant, determining the sex of their child, undergoing early testing to determine the genetic health of their child, and more recently, seeking to bring on labour in exactly the way they have planned it. But I have been learning that these are things I cannot control; and don’t need to, because as C S Lewis once explained it, my loving and all powerful Heavenly Father is both the director and the playright of my life, and the life of my child – indeed, of all time and history.

Finally, in contemplating what kind of mother I will be to my child – my ability to care for his or her changing needs, physical, emotional and spiritual – I have been realising that I need more than ever to surrender my life into God’s hands, and pray that I would follow his wisdom, and be changed by his Holy Spirit in order to be the best mother I can be.

The (very) new mum
Blogger and writer Erica Bartle is from QLD. Her little girl, Isabel Louise was born on Sunday 5th May, 7 and a half weeks early. Isabel is still in hospital under observation. 

On the morning my doctor told me I was pregnant, I had read a passage from 1 Timothy 2 about a woman being saved through childbearing, if she were to continue in faith and love and holiness with self-control.

My husband and I had wanted children, but because of health challenges I’d been unable to fall pregnant. All the while, however, I knew that God would bless us when the time was right. Little did I know that God was already knitting my beautiful Isabel together in my womb!

God’s timing is always right. From finding out I was pregnant, to having my waters break in bed on a Sunday morning before church, everything about God’s plan for Isabel, our little warrior girl, has been perfect.

I believe he knew her early arrival would bless both her parents and the people who we have met at the Special Care Unit, as well as our family and friends. He knew she would receive the care and attention she needed if she were to enter the world in this way. I am overcome with God’s mercy, grace, compassionate and perfection.

Despite Isabel’s early challenges, at a week old on Mother’s Day, she has already reached multiple goals. She’s my girl, but God’s first and foremost, and I am confident she has been in His loving hands from the get-go.

Perhaps no one can know a mother’s love until they have experienced it themselves, but motherhood itself is a reflection in part of our relationship with God – His nurturing care, His sacrificial nature, His willingness to show us forgiveness and love despite our faults.

He looks upon us as adoringly as a mother, and as we delight in Him and He in us, we truly experience what it is to love. It is scary and risky and challenges our human selfishness, but the abandonment of self, as Christ abandoned himself for us, is surely the epitome of what it means to really love.

I love you, darling Isabel, and I am so pleased we can celebrate our very first Mother’s Day together this year. You truly are ‘God’s promise’ as your name means in the Hebrew. I pray that you might grow strong in faith and body and that I can take you home before too long.

Love Mummy

The ever-learning mum
Blogger and columnist Claire van Ryn from Launceston, Tasmania has a two year old son, and has written openly about her experience with miscarriage late last year. She values the learning curve of motherhood.

I love, love, love the way motherhood has deepened my experience and understanding of joy. I have never laughed more than in the two years since my son was born. He enables me to look at the everyday with fresh wonder; the river is a “big bath”, the sky is “so tall”, there’s a pirate in our hallway and he gasps like the world is ending when he sees a butterfly, before leaping around in unbridled exhilaration. It’s not all kisses and merriment – there are tantrums in the shopping centre and Weetbix smeared on walls. But the whimsy and heart-swell of a life lived around a child must surely be a small glimpse of heaven. Jesus said, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3) Being a mum is a joy – and that was expected, but what I didn’t expect was how motherhood is a kind of theology that makes the child its professor.

The daughter who lost her mum
Sue Crowley from Sydney lost her mum to cancer when she was 19 years old. Here, she provides tips for others going through a similar loss, or for those unsure of what to say to friends who’ve lost their mum on Mother’s Day. 

I have become quite accustomed to the routine of Mother’s day without a mum, so my tips might be quite mundane. For those who have recently lost their mum, the feeling of lost is much more acute.

1. Acknowledge they’re lost- How does today make you feel? Are you sad? What was your mum like?

2. Include friends who are grieving in your celebrations – I’ve had a feel good friends invite me over the Mother’s Day lunch with their families. It has been heaps of fun. Oh course, some people won’t want to go.

3. Give your friend who is grieving a little gift/card to show your care.

4. Don’t assume Mother’s Day is the time where the sense of loss peaks. I personally cope very well with Mother’s Day. It’s the small, unseen things that make me tender – not having a mum’s shoulder to cry on after experiencing dashed hopes, being sad when the new Star Wars movie came out as I know she would have loved it or when I eat Sao biscuits (don’t laugh!). Watching my sister become a mum and observing her struggle to work out how to care for a baby without the guidance of her own mum saddened me, and yes, sometimes watching mothers and daughters interact and enjoy a relationship on an adult plane. Please don’t misunderstand, I don’t begrudge these friends, it just leaves me a little bit sad for what could have been.