What is motherhood?
Every Mother’s Day this thought goes through my head: What is motherhood?
Is it bearing children? Rearing children? Can you be childless and be considered a mother? And where do birth mothers come in? Surrogates? Women who have lost children? It can get tricky.
It’s the “obvious” answers to the above, those “definitions”, that lead to hurt feelings. I cringe every time I hear that motherhood is bearing children. It isn’t that to me. In fact, motherhood is the opposite of that for me.
This motherhood label isn’t as black and white as you may think (have children = mother), I think motherhood is more a list than it is tally count of little humans.
A list of attributes with “meaning after meaning after meaning.” This list should bind us together as women instead of pit us against each other in categories of mommy wars. Unify. Empower. Enrich.
Eve was given the identity of “the mother of all living”—years, decades, perhaps centuries before she ever bore a child. It would appear that her motherhood preceded her maternity, just as surely as the perfection of the Garden preceded the struggles of mortality. I believe mother is one of those very carefully chosen words, one of those rich words—with meaning after meaning after meaning. We must not, at all costs, let that word divide us. I believe with all my heart that it is first and foremost a statement about our nature, not a head count of our children.”
-Patricia Holland, One Thing Needful: Becoming Women of Greater Faith in Christ
Thus, I started a new project.
For the next few months, possibly longer, I am going to post a photograph of motherhood with accompanying attributes. Let’s explore together the “meaning after meaning after meaning” of motherhood.
Care to join me? Email me a photograph of what motherhood looks like to you and a sentence or two to go along with it. I will do the rest. And it will be beautiful.
Motherhood? What does it mean to you?