Love Made Fruitful – A Mothers View09 March, 2022
Amoris Laetitia – Chapter 5
Even after 9 children the feeling of anticipation and joy that is felt during pregnancy does not wane. I remember saying during my latest pregnancy that, “I am just as excited to meet this baby as I was with my first.” Pope Francis states “A pregnant woman can participate in God’s plan by dreaming of her child.” I dreamed, from the moment I saw two pink lines on my pregnancy tests of what my babies would look like, what they would grow to be and how they would change the dynamic of our growing family. That’s not to say that pregnancy does not come with its own challenges, sacrifice, fears and worries. A few times, those dreams were cut short in the way of miscarriage, and I mourned not only the life of my child but also those dreams I had already formed in the few short weeks that I had known about the life gifted to me.
In many ways I liken the sacrifices of pregnancy to the sacrifice of Jesus to His church. For 9 months a women gives her body for another, accepting the pains and discomfort that pregnancy brings, accepting the sacrifice of activities and foods that they can no longer enjoy, all for the child she carries inside her. At delivery this sacrifice is made even more obvious; I myself used this purposefully during labour, offering up the pain of my contractions for my prayer intentions, knowing that each contraction I endured brought me closer to Jesus on the Cross. With the joyous birth of each child we have welcomed to our family we are reminded of the words of St John Paul II; each woman shares in “the mystery of creation, which is renewed with each birth”.
The sacrifice and pains of labour and delivery quickly give way to the joy of motherhood, however, it is difficult to feel joy when you are deep in the trenches of motherhood. Amongst the piles of dirty dishes, laundry and demands of a needy toddler it can seem as though our efforts as mothers are in vain. St JP II again reminds us, “Mothers often communicate the deepest meaning of religious practice in the first prayers and acts of devotion that their children learn…” It is during these, often difficult, moments of mothering that our greatest examples of God’s love can be demonstrated. I remember and use some of the means my own mother used when I was a child – praying over the restless child that won’t sleep, stories of Saints and holy men and women that surrounded us as children and engrained in us the notion that we were also destined to live holy lives, hymns playing while we played at home and invitations to prayer that were offered during even through most trivial of trials.
Developing a support network is imperative to having a successful and joyful season of motherhood. As much as it seems impossible, try to invest time and be part of a like-minded community of similar faith and values. This keeps one grounded, as everyone in the group strives for the betterment of family and relationship-building. The Church can provide the means of developing these connections, my own Church family provides a regular space when everyone comes together to reflect and share their problems in a safe environment, it helps to balance things, and issues are not blown out of proportion. The family problems might always be present, but the coping mechanisms are different. Such a support system is useful to help young and new parents find positivity in reaching their “final goal, eternal life”.