Mother of All Living

Women were designed and uniquely created to bear life. Even the most ardent defender of androgyny can’t get away from the sheer biological fact that women can do something men can’t—give birth. Eve was called the “mother of all living,” (Gen. 3:20). Many women who have come after her have carried that great task. Women throughout the Bible have felt the magnitude of bearing life—and the immense pain of being unable to physically fulfill it. Part of imaging God as a woman means bearing life, nurturing life, bringing life into the world. That is our legacy and our calling. But it’s so hard to swallow when physically speaking I have only been the mother of death.

My child did not get the chance to live outside the womb. We prayed for this little one every day since we found out. Now we pray for ourselves in his absence. He doesn’t need our prayers anymore. He is experiencing the fullness of all those prayers we prayed for him—just without us.

It’s hard to feel like I am living my calling when “life” doesn’t define me right now. Women are supposed to give life, not have life ended inside of them. And it’s so easy to feel like the only empty womb among a sea of very full ones. Pregnancy loss can feel like a big scarlet “M” is draped across my neck, like everyone can see in my face that I’m not what I once was—or that I don’t really belong in the world I live in now.

A dear friend of mine shared with me the other day that it is so easy to think that your life is defined by miscarriage (or any loss) when it happens—like people only see a woman with a failed pregnancy when they see you. Maybe they do. To my shame, I know I have thought that before about people. But the most important thing for us to remember, she said, is that God does not see us that way. We are not defined by the loss; we are defined by Christ’s work for us. Miscarriage doesn’t define me, Christ does. And that is hard for me to hold on to at times. So much of me wants to continue being defined by this loss because in my mind that’s where my baby is. But he’s not there. He’s with the same Savior that saved me. Christ is my rock, my resting place, and hope. His righteousness that covers my every sin is what defines me.

Pregnancy, like everything else in this world, is cursed. Miscarriage was never supposed to happen. But it does. And it’s horrible. In a perfect world, we would all be “mothers of all living.” Instead some of us are mothers of death (or not even mothers at all). But with the curse came the promise. The promise of a perfect baby who would make life out of death, who would make joy out of pain, and who would bring redemption to a decaying world. That is our only hope when the sorrows of loss overtake us. He will make all things new—and then we will be mothers of the living.