'Mum, what's for dinner?'
'Mum, where is my sock?'
'Mum, are we nearly there yet?'
'Mum, I don't know what to write my dissertation on.'
We live in a generation where self is exalted. What do I want to be? What do I want to do and how can I be as successful as possible? Many are building their lives with 'me' at the centre. A society driven by status, position, fame and recognition. Where does this leave mothers?
I have heard more and more over the last few years about mothers 'getting back to work', a controversial topic, but one I feel should be talked about. Has the heightened tension around gender inequality impacted our view on motherhood? Has culture today influenced or even put a strain on mothers to step away from mothering and focus on themselves and their resources? Are there ways to empower and advocate motherhood? Do we believe this could change a generation?
As a midwife, I feel there is an opening to encourage, empower and support motherhood for the splendour it really is.
Motherhood involves a life laid down: it starts through pregnancy and ultimately means sharing your body to grow another. What comes next? Very often, an intensely painful and extremely vulnerable process called labour, resulting in the birth of a child.
'Why did you do this to me?' I hear the woman shout across to her partner in the labour room. Following the birth, a mother physiologically has what is needed to nurture her newborn, she provides protection, food, warmth, love, security all through the way her body has been created and her brain wired. What does this involve? A focus away from 'self' and a focus on her 'little one'. It means sacrificing body, time, sleep, food, work... and even her jewellery! Yes, motherhood is wholeheartedly putting someone else before yourself, in a setting that is often unseen.
Jesus calls us to lay down our lives for him, to live like him in becoming the least and by serving. Motherhood is a beautiful opportunity to reflect this. It is character-shaping and self-denying. Motherhood is about nurturing and loving the precious gift you have been given.
It is an honour to be a mother and often when we lay down our lives for what God has for us, we find ourselves most satisfied. As we reflect him, we see more of his kingdom advancing on earth. Let's be proud of motherhood, and embrace the refining, sanctifying and selfless process, with the absolute joys of first steps, first words, first 'solids', first day at school, the unfolding of the child's character, graduation, wedding etc, all with the aim of pleasing our King Jesus when he returns.
Mum, thank you for my dissertation title and for laying your life down.
Anna Glover is a student midwife in London