Today marks 37 weeks… meaning I am finally term and I’ve been having contractions for two weeks now. My body is tired, both mentally and physically. But there is an uncontainable joy that the day we get to meet our little one is right around the corner.
I was laying in bed this morning trying to decided what to do with my day. I mean, what do you do with the days leading up to your baby’s birth? Do you clean? Do you organize? Do you cook? Right now the list in my head is overflowing with the things still left to get… nursing tank tops, diaper cream… oh yeah, and some jolly ranchers for the delivery room.
Then I just started to think about all of the mom’s who have helped me out these last few weeks. From advice to giving me their leftover pregnancy essentials, I’ve been astonished at how loving and giving so many of the mommas in my life have been. Not having my own mom in the picture has made many things difficult… there is a certain yearning to discuss my ailments and joys with the woman who birthed me. There is a connection there I wish we had.
But the community of women who have been helping me is replaces that yearning in such a full and satisfying way – each coming from their own stories of childbirth, all approaching the stress and weight (literally and not so much) of pregnancy in completely different manners. I feel so blessed to have this community, to know I can call any of these women and they would gladly talk me through my concerns, my fears, or just let me vent that I’m truly “done” being pregnant.
When I was about 5 months pregnant Jared and I went to the downtown Farmer’s Market to pick up some veggies and a woman asked us how far along I was. Its funny, I remember being so happy and giddy that she would even ask because my bump was really not much of anything at that point. Now, no one asks how far along I am and I don’t care that they don’t. Usually they just stare at my belly like at any moment I’m about to drop to the floor and deliver right then and there. But anyways, back to the story.
As we left our brief conversation with the woman she called out after us “Welcome to the Fraternity!” I laughed and kept walking, but her words are still ringing through my ears.
Motherhood really does bond you to other women in a way I could never have imagined. Its like completing a right of passage and then you’re in the club. But what really astounds me is the love – the genuine love for one another that all of these women have.
Mark 12:30-31 says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Here, Jesus is explaining to the Pharisees what the greatest commandments are, and I think it so sweet that they both are to give out our love. To love your neighbors, fellow sinners, is a hard thing to do. It requires a strength that we don’t have on our own and must turn to our Creator for what is needed of us. What I see most in this ‘motherhood fraternity’ is a love that is patient, understanding, and empathetic. It is a love that takes the sins of fellow mothers and turns them into progress toward being more of what we are called to be, both as mothers and as disciples.
It is made clear in the Bible that we are to have communities. We are to be a part of a body of believers who can aid one another in being like Christ. (Ephesians 4:15-16, Romans 12:4-5, Psalm 133:1, Hebrews 10:24-25) What has become apparent to me as of late is how few Christians have this type of community. With an increasingly technological world comes the increase of the “podcast Christian” – a follower of Christ who claims no local church and simply listens to sermons etc online, or the Christian who does attend a local church but turns to mega-pastors for their source of shepherding. There is also the lack of understanding of what a church is to provide us – Truth, Pastoral Care, and a Community that is held accountable by the church and by one another.
After being a part of such a wonderful and loving local community I urge you to find this for yourself. The search may seem daunting, it certainly was for Jared and I. We weren’t even sure what we wanted or needed in a church body until God led us straight to it. Now we can call the community of believers we have found ourselves amongst our family, a group of people who celebrate with us in our joys, weep with us in our sorrows, and pray for us constantly.
I believe that is what the fraternity of motherhood is really about… being overjoyed at each other’s triumphs, holding each other’s hands through the hard stuff, and praying for that which only God can control. We need each other, us mommas. This life is hard and we have hard jobs, but with the love and trust of one another and the love and trust of God, we can do this.