Some days, I am confronted with the “Ache.” It pops up when I see a picture of a friend’s toothy grinning baby, it sneaks in when I see tiny pink and ruffly baby socks no bigger than my thumb, it hits me when my friends post articles on what they wish they could tell themselves before motherhood, it pops up when I hear a remark about how fertile our past duty station was, it comes when I hear how incomplete a friend’s heart was until she had her baby, it comes when I hear comments on how having a child radically changed the mother and father. It’s not jealousy, or anger, its a deep, ethereal pain the penetrates my heart because I know that these little instances are sacred gifts, and in this season, I am forced to look at these deep experiences from the outside in; hoping, praying, longing, waiting.
A Mothers Love, no matter how the baby came into their life, is sweet and kind and special. It is unique. I am fully aware that its a completely different kind of love entirely from anything in the world. When I was in middle school I always wanted to know how it felt to “fall in love”. My idea of it was much more shallow and hollow than what it actually turned out to be; It was not even a fraction of what I imagined it to be like! Now that I know what true love feels like, I look at my old fantasies of what it meant to be in love and its a pitiful comparison. I know that the love of a Mother is like this. Its so much more than what I imagine, this is the “Ache.” I acknowledge I am missing out on these experiences and cannot fully comprehend what it is like without experiencing it for myself, but I ache for the gift of motherhood that changes women so radically.
Despite acknowledgement that I am missing out, I think women to whom Motherhood came easily, could easily be missing out. Maybe they didn’t get enough time to read “What I wish I could tell Myself Before Motherhood” before Motherhood, and as a result they neglected their marriage relationship, perhaps their appreciation of motherhood isn’t as deep as those of us who have suffered and waited for the experience, and most of all, they believe the lie that their heart was empty before they had children. I’m sure many of you have seen the saying: ” Without my children my house would be clean, my wallet would be full, but my heart would be empty.” Although I’m sure to many Mothers this is a sweet saying, to me, it’s a blatant and hurtful lie. My heart is not empty, nor are the many other women I have encountered who are childless. Women I have met who are struggling with infertility and pregnancy loss have so much love to give and receive, our hearts are certainly aching, but they are not empty!
When the “Ache” rears its ugly head in those moments where I feel sad and listless, I must remind myself that its only a season. My heart is full and capable of giving love as much as any Mother right now to the people God has put into my life and those I seek out, as I have seen countless other childless women give unconditional love to people God put in their path. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19) Who knows, maybe the love we give unconditionally to others, in the midst of our pain, when our hearts are aching is just as true, beautiful and precious as a Mothers?