We recently celebrated Mother’s Day. Flower sales were up, card sales were up, and restaurants did good business as children of all ages attempted to treat their moms to a special day. I won’t lie, moms deserve a day of recognition! Even if your mother wasn’t the most loving person, at least she gave birth to you. Be thankful you weren’t aborted!
Mothers do sacrifice for their children. We watch our bodies morph into an ungainly incubation chamber during pregnancy. We suffer the pain of having tiny feet kick our ribs and organs. We learn how to do the duck walk, use our stomachs as portable tables, and attempt to rise and sit with some measure of grace (which usually looks as graceful as a seal on dry land). I don’t have to wax poetic about the suffering of child-birth since most everyone has an inkling of what that entails thanks to t.v. and movies. Even after birth, we aren’t our own anymore. Our bodies are forever changed, and for most moms our hearts are, too. Whether you stay home with your children or not, they will make demands on your time, you’ll no longer be able to make plans without considering their care, and you’ll often have to sacrifice your plans for their benefit. Motherhood requires sacrifice.
But is it a punishment?
I’m very troubled by a sitting president calling an unplanned pregnancy a ‘punishment.’ Of course I am referring to Obama stating that he wouldn’t want his daughters to be “punished with a baby.”( http://michellemalkin.com/2008/03/30/sunday-meditation-obama-and-the-punishment-of-unborn-life/ ) This statement is almost ludicrous in light of the fact that most unplanned pregnancies and STD’s are not the result of some forceful action taken against a girl. Basically what he’s saying is “If my daughters exercise bad judgement, they shouldn’t have to live with the consequences of it, even if that means another human being dies.” Think about it! I readily admit that motherhood is a sacrifice and will change your life, but we all know the stork doesn’t bring babies, now don’t we? There’s this whole matter of sexual activity prior to the dreaded ‘punishment’ of pregnancy. Teenagers are notorious for making poor judgement calls, but I fail to see how treating human life like an object as disposable as a candy wrapper is going to EVER teach them wisdom!
Before you get on your high horse about the struggles of teen pregnancy, know this: I was a teen mom. I was one of the lucky ones with a supportive family, but I was a teen. I had to change all of my post-graduation plans. My friends didn’t know how to talk to me anymore. My boyfriend vacillated between “It’s not mine” and “Let’s get married.” I was terrified, but I was also intensely aware that I had a whole lot more responsibility now. There was never a question of whether or not I ‘wanted it.’ There was little question that I would ‘keep it.’ My parents gave me the option of staying home, going to community college, and having them help with my baby. I chose instead to marry the boy (who joined the Marines), move across the country, and give birth in a Naval hospital (where my new husband promptly left me alone so he could catch up on his online game play). I was in the hospital for 3 days. Alone. No, not alone; I had my baby. My precious little punishment.
My sweet little bundle of punishment taught me a lot about life, about what really matters. I saw the world with new eyes. I saw how simple things: a walk in the sunshine, the smell of a flower, a tiny snail; were beautiful. I saw how shallow and unimportant were the things I’d once thought so grand. I rediscovered the world by teaching my child about it. Suddenly, I knew my own importance wasn’t measured by the opinions of others. I was most valuable when I read a bedtime story to my child. I was most beautiful when I danced with her in my arms. And when I became pregnant again, and my then-husband threatened the life of that unborn baby with his fists, I left. I had learned to value and protect life.
And my ‘punishment’ became my salvation.
So, yes, motherhood is hard. What you won’t learn from the president, though, is this: it’s always worth it. I may have sacrificed my youth at the altar of motherhood, but to know how greatly it has blessed me…. well, you’d have to experience it for yourself.