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Celebrating Motherhood

Mother’s Day.

This is a day that means something different for every woman who encounters it year after year. For some it is a day to finally get that inkling of recognition we crave after a busy life of setting ourselves aside for others. For some it is a day to think of our own mothers, send them a card or a phone call, or make them dinner. For others it could be a day to lie in bed with the covers over your head and a book to read – one blessed day when you do not have to be mothering. And for others it is a day better left alone because it can feel exclusive or insensitive to the struggles we face.

As a mother of two toddlers, I love mother’s day. My days are exhausting. I haven’t slept a full night in almost 4 years now. I work tirelessly for not even a simple thank you. Usually I feel like I do everything I possibly can and as payment I am screamed at, hit, have doors slammed in my face, and am left with nothing but an overwhelming mess at the end of the day. So I stay up to scrape candy out of the carpet and finish wiping up the spilled milk from breakfast, then collapse into bed wondering what time one of them will have a nightmare and come to sleep in bed with me, then kick me all night.

So, I do appreciate a small gift on Mother’s day. A full day of chores and meals I don’t have to worry about and even a few hours to read. I want to be thanked for my thankless job, and I love those little cards with their hands traced and words spelled wrong. I am a servant to their every want and need. I feel like one day of appreciation is in order.

A few years ago I had a very dear friend face infertility. Wanting to understand her feelings more I did some research and was bombarded with an onslaught of grieving women who had either lost children, lost the ability to have children, or felt that they would never have the chance to be woken up every two hours at night. Women who wanted motherhood so badly they actually wanted to go without sleep for weeks on end.

I was filled with guilt. Sometimes it seemed the women hated me, a perfect stranger, but all the same, I had something they didn’t, and it bred between us this great divide of the haves and have-nots. I felt I was insensitive when I asked if they had children when I stumbled upon them in the park, I was insensitive if I complained about the awful pain of thrush and nursing, I was insensitive if I said pregnancy made me miserable. I was insensitive when parading myself around the grocery store with a baby other women stopped to coo over. And I felt guilty. Very guilty.

In my experience, sorry to sound depressing, but in my experience motherhood is suffering. I suffered a tremendous amount to become a mother. In many ways I am still struggling with that suffering and I never really expect it to go away. Without the worry, pain, tears, and a heart screaming for a miracle, I do not know what motherhood is. At some stages in motherhood it gets better and in other stages it gets worse. But one thing is constant, the love and the suffering.

For me the greatest suffering was pregnancy. I was severely sick, both mentally and physically, I lost myself in an ocean of depression and with that the ability to care for my first child. For others it is having a baby born with disabilities, for others it is losing a child, at any age, for others it is feeling completely alone under a mountain of responsibilities, and for others it is looking around and in every direction, seeing a mother and asking, “Why her and not me?”

And so here is my invitation. You are a mother. You have a heart filled with love for a child, and you suffer because of that love. You have stayed up to cry all night and you have wondered if you could ever be happy again. You may not suffer in the same way as the other mothers you know, but we all suffer differently, no journey is identical and no heart breaks in the exact same way.

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And this year I would like to say Happy Mother’s Day to every woman who knows what it is to be a mother. Do not let others take this day from you. You should be celebrated for your selfless longing to bless the life of a child. And for the pain that inevitably comes with that deep love.

Today I honor all of you.

You are a wonderful mother.

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Today's guest post was written by Kayleen Barlow with Through A Child's Ears. To read more of her writing visit kayleenbarlow.com and don't forget to check out Through A Childs Ears on Facebook for encouragement on every day motherhood.



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