Defining Motherhood

Santa Clarita Signal • Ethically Speaking Column • For May 7 weekender, 2016

Defining Motherhood

David W. Hegg

This weekend across the nation millions of Mom’s are getting candy, flowers, cards and more from those who love and appreciate the monumental influence they have had in their lives.  Every person you see today is a testament to the magnificent mystery of how one human being can give life to another. But perhaps it is time we admit that, in our society, motherhood has become quite confusing.

What is motherhood? What makes someone a mother? Is motherhood merely the result of some biological processes that may, or may not have been planned? And how has the advent of abortion on demand changed the ethos of motherhood? Can someone who intentionally ends her baby’s life qualify as a having been a mother for some period of time? Or does simply conceiving and birthing a child make one a mother?

And to take this confusion one step further, what do we say about women whose selfishness and mean-spirited ways laid tremendous obstacles in their children’s paths? For far too many today is neither happy nor easy. Those who lived out their formative years under the heavy hand of an evil mother know how painful today can be. And while unfit moms may qualify as biological mothers you can be sure they are spending this weekend apart from the love, honor, and respect real mother’s are enjoying. 

Add to all this the fact that many adopted children find authentic motherhood in the loving women who took them in, loved them, and raised them while having no actual biological link to them. Obviously, this suggests motherhood is much more than biological. Real motherhood is all about love – sacrificial, unconditional, there-in-good times-and-bad, always-on-your side, able-to-heal broken-skin and broken-dreams kind of love.

Authentic motherhood is crafted out of an uncommon courage that shows up in drawers full of clean clothes, steaming plates of pot roast and potatoes, and the sage wisdom every life needs. And don’t forget the hugs! Motherhood deals in hugs that wipe away tears, fears, and pain while holding your soul together for another try at life.

If you’ve been blessed to know such a woman, today is full of smiles. And so it should be! We ought to make much of those mothers who are mothers indeed. We are compelled to show the world that those who too easily throw away their opportunity to live beyond themselves and sacrificially love their children have lost a most precious privilege.

I know what a great mother is. I married one of the very best. My children may never realize the extent to which they owe their success in life to her patient love, her easy smile, her gentle correction, and the hours and hours she spends in prayer on their behalf. But they certainly know they were raised by a mother whose love and devotion to their physical and spiritual wellbeing was surpassed only by the lengths she went in personal sacrifice to see them thrive.

So today, if you are fortunate enough to know a real mother, first thank the Lord God for granting you such a gift. And then stop at nothing to let her know how deeply you love and respect her, and the myriad ways her love both saved and shaped you to win in this thing called life.