The Galatian Christians were tempted to go back to bondage. They wanted the comforts of the law, not the nuances of grace. They wanted the structure that the law afforded them, not the freedom that grace afforded them. Grace took away their own ability to do anything to save themselves. What they missed is that the law did the very same thing.
Every year, as Mother’s Day rolls around, we are met with a number of posts ranging from honoring mothers to exhorting mothers to manage their expectations of the day. There are posts that acknowledge that the day is hard for many women. There are posts that work to be inclusive. I’ve even written a number of these types of posts over the years.
Mother’s Day can be a tricky one for Christians. On the one hand, we want to honor the blessing of motherhood, both as mothers and as children of mothers. Every person was brought into the world by a mother, so we all have some stake in this day. But it also can be an incredibly painful day for many women, so for the Christian, the call to “weep with those who weep” rings truer than ever.
“Your uterus is no longer a safe place for these babies,” he said to me.
And with that statement, we were quickly sent to the hospital. It was February 4, 2013. I had a round of steroids, settled in for a few day stay in ante-partum, and waited and prayed that all would be well when we delivered a few days later.
A little after midnight (on February 5) my nurse came in and said “is today your birthday?”
I’ve heard it said that behind every good man stands a good woman. I get the sentiment. Marriage is a partnership. You don’t do anything in isolation of the other person you have joined to in covenant marriage. Your decisions, your work, your interests—everything—impacts your spouse. When people make that statement, they are usually complementing both the husband and the wife. The husband is successful, but only because his wife stands by him and supports him. She is a help to him.
I pray people say that about me.
But I also think you can flip that statement and it is still equally true. Behind every good woman is a good man.
In a moment that is sure to force any parent to eat humble pie, my son (unaware of my desire to keep up parenting appearances) threw his cup on the floor and stared me in the face. “I want more juice,” he said defiantly.
“Well, you definitely aren’t having juice now,” I said.
After a conversation about the behavior, my friend looked at me with a sense of relief. “It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one whose kids act like that sometimes.”
About a year ago I went for a run for the first time after hospital bed rest. After weeks of recovery from a c-section, I craved running. So I grabbed my running shoes and headed out the door. This might seem like a minor event, and it is in the grand scheme of things. People get back to running all the time after childbirth. I have before too.
Except this time, I haven’t.
Like millions of parents who have gone before us, we rejoiced at the faint pink line that showed up on our positive pregnancy test in the early morning hours. We went to work as different people that day. We went hopeful. We went excited. We went with a smile on our faces, knowing we had a secret that no one else knew yet. I remember making my first OB appointment in my car while I was on my lunch break, lest anyone hear my conversation and know that I was pregnant. I wanted to tell people on my terms, in my way.
I never got that chance.
If you had told me five years ago that the twins starting school was going to come upon me before I knew it, I would have laughed at you. I was in the thick of twin infants and had no category for a world where they wouldn’t be with me all day (and all night at that stage in the game). “The days are long, but the years are short,” they say. To a new mom that sounds like empty platitudes, designed to make her count her blessings. To a mom about to send her first kids to kindergarten, it sounds like the truest words ever spoken.
oday is Ben’s birthday. This time last year we were anticipating his arrival. Today we are enjoying his happy presence. What a gift! Birthdays are such interesting days for moms (at least me). It’s the day of his birth, but so much of that day had to do with me and the effort it took to bring him into the world. While a birthday is the celebration of the person born, it also is intimately connected to the woman who bore the child.
The night before Ben’s birth, contractions had started up again. We were accustomed to the roller coaster ride that comes with being a high-risk patient. Every few days, Ben’s heart rate would do something (or my body would do something) that put everyone on high alert. I was used to contractions. I was 35 weeks and 6 days pregnant, so Braxton Hicks contractions are pretty standard at that gestation (especially with a fourth child). And in my mind, even painful Braxton Hicks felt like a slight pinch compared to the abruption pain from three weeks prior. So I didn’t think anything of them. My friends came to visit. They stayed through my routine evening monitoring, until my nurse came in and asked me if I was feeling the contractions.
Ben turns one in a little over a week, which means that nursing is coming to an end. Since he’s my last baby, I’ve been reflective and emotional about the idea of being done. But I’ve also been hopeful and excited. It’s a new stage in our parenting. Our kids are getting older. As with every stage, there are challenges, but there are so many fun things as well. So it’s very bittersweet.
When I weaned Seth I was very sentimental about it all. I cried. I talked about it all the time. I even wrote about it! It was a hard process for me emotionally and for him. We had such a sweet time together that first year. I loved nursing him so much that I couldn’t wait to nurse another baby.
This time around I am less sentimental.