on mothers.1:29:00 PM
When I was pregnant, for some reason it always bothered me when people would ask what I thought about becoming a mom. It bothered me because I didn't feel like “becoming a mom” was some single event that suddenly happened. I felt like years of trial, learning and growing were all part of the process. I didn't feel like I was just going to suddenly be a mom because a (huge) part of me felt like I already was one.
I would stay up at night thinking about my baby, praying for my baby, feeling my baby kick and I was very acutely aware of my motherhood and stewardship over him. I cried when I worried about his health, I imagined what he would look like, I gawked over his ultrasound pictures and man I just loved loved loved that baby. and in addition to everything else, I just really felt like a mother. I didn't ever see my baby's birth as the commencement of my motherhood but felt like his mother the whole time I carried him (and even before).
I'd often think about how I already felt like a mom and how I'm sure other people would think that was foolish. I thought often about how in the LDS faith we believe that families are eternal. And if we really believe that to be true, why do we wait until birth to count a family as established? If families are eternal, and I believe that they are, then I am eternally a mother and don't necessarily need to wait for an earthly, mortal event to validate that. Of course, I know that being single, being married without children, being pregnant, and having children are not all the same but I think that at every stage our motherhood is being primed and prepared. I think all of those stages could be considered different facets of motherhood - each of them incredibly important because it is through those experiences that, someday, we will sympathize with and understand our children.
I've always wanted to be a mother but it didn't necessarily happen easily. Our first pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage and it took us almost a year to get pregnant with Jeremiah afterward. It was awful because I felt like I had experienced something so spectacular - being pregnant, preparing for motherhood, coming together as a couple and sharing in that excitement and then something so heart-wrenching - losing that prospective, being on bed rest as my body terminated a pregnancy and moving forward as if nothing happened and with very few people being aware of the beauty and consequential sorrow we had experienced. I felt a new sort of emptiness that was compensated with a new sort of love and beauty in Kory and I's relationship. I wish I had understood then that my motherhood is eternal.
When I think about motherhood, I feel incredibly comforted because I know that although my first pregnancy didn't end with a newborn in my arms, and while I may never have the opportunity to raise that baby, I take comfort in knowing I was that baby's mother - and the only thing he or she knew - if only for a few months. I think the year that we spent trying to get pregnant would have been much more bearable if I had considered myself a mother even back then. There is so much more to motherhood than just the bearing of children. And while I can't discuss the heartbreak of infertility in the same way many others can - we were in the throws of it long enough to know the devastation that accompanies the inability to get pregnant and my heart aches for the couples who wait years and years to have that blessing. I think if I had known - or just consciously considered - that I was a mother of my unborn children, and the only mother they would ever know – I think I may have had more patience. And I think I may have felt more hope.
So yesterday, on Mother's day, my heart went out not only to all the sweet mothers I know, but to all the single women aching for a companion and children, and to the married couples hoping and praying for a baby, and to the families who have lost children. I thought about them and wished they could know that their role as a mother (or father for that matter) is eternal, and that even if they don't have a baby in belly or arms, I consider them mothers -and they certainly deserve to be celebrated - nonetheless.