Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers, all those who want to be mothers, those who have yet to be mothers, and even to those who have chosen not to be mothers. I have friends in all camps, and I respect and love them all.
Motherhood is the toughest of callings, because so much personal sacrifice is required. I had no idea of the demands until I held my firstborn in my arms, and comprehended that I would do anything for her. I would cross deserts with no water, I would fight with no weapons, I would gladly lay down my life to make sure she was safe, loved, and protected.
That kind of love washed over me in an instant in the hospital, and I knew my life was over as I had known it until that point. My time, my energy, my very existence was no longer my own to spend as I wished. My child came first, and her needs would be the yardstick by which I would measure my every decision from that point forward.
Becoming a mother pushes your selfishness to the bottom of the pile, and you realize how many other redeeming qualities you have. This process is painful, and raw, and brings you through the fire of your own personality so you can focus on the needs of your children. It's a beautiful thing, but the hardest job of my life so far.
I remember phoning my mom when Ava was a baby. I said, with wonder in my voice, "Is this how you felt about me? This kind of love, and sacrifice, and amazement?" She laughed and said, "Yes. That's how much I love you." I really didn't get it before that point - I don't think it's possible to fully understand it until you've experienced it with your own child - and I remember being astounded that my mom cared for me with this much detail and care when I was a child. It gives you a new appreciation for your own mother when you become one yourself.
I know this day must be very painful for my friends who long to be mothers but who have been devastated in the path toward motherhood. Trying to get pregnant each month is a roller-coaster ride which I remember all too well, and my miscarriage still hurts five years later. To my friends who are currently experiencing this pain and loss, I tell you that I love you, and I am praying for you, and I won't stop praying until you are able to experience the miracle of motherhood, or come to a peace and contentment about the situation you find yourself in.
I also have friends who have made the courageous choice not to have children. They enjoy their lives as they are, and stand bravely by their choice, and I salute them. These women love other people's children, and are aunts to them, and this choice should never be judged, but instead celebrated. It requires bravery to know yourself and stand up for what you want in a society that expects married couples to produce children.
I celebrate all women on Mother's Day. I am grateful for my kids today, and for my husband, and for my own mom and my mother-in-law. I'm going to enjoy a day of rest, and reflection, for all that I have been given, and all that I give. Happy Mother's Day.