Mommy Issues

Rachel admitted to me that she’s never fantasized about her dream wedding, but she dreams of being a mother every day. She plans to get married, because she’s a Christian and feels that a husband is the right way to go about getting a baby, but she really just wants to be a mom.

Taryn broke down as we discussed motherhood. The 19-year-old just received news from her doctor that there is very little chance that she would be able to conceive a child. Taryn told me she hadn’t really thought about kids since she hadn’t dated anyone seriously. But now, she realized how desperately she wants to experience pregnancy and feels like she will have failed as a woman if she can’t have kids.

Hana doesn’t want kids. Due to a dysfunctional family situation, she raised her younger siblings and claims to be over the parenting thing. But she’s been studying Scripture and realized that kids may be part of God’s plan for her and her fiance’ (once they are married, of course!), so she is begrudgingly accepting the idea of kids…. but she prays every night that she won’t have to face that reality.

Jade looked me straight in the eye and admitted that she refuses to have kids. She and her husband of three years are perfectly happy as they are and thanks to advances in birth control, they can be married and never have kids.

And those stories were from the first four girls that I talked to! Clearly, motherhood is a weighty topic for these twenty-something girls… especially Christian girls. I’ve yet to meet a twenty-something girl who was neutral on the topic of mothering. Our generation seems to be overflowing with baggage regarding motherhood: some worship the role, while others cringe at the very idea.

As I pondered, it finally clicked in place. We, the 20-30 something females, are the first generation to be born after the feminist movement. Not that I’m blaming feminism for all the issues of a female generation, but no one can dispute that the feminist movement changed our culture: in some ways for the better and in other ways for the worse. We were the first generation raised with the reality that motherhood was a choice. For the first time in history, women had access to birth control and the choice to terminate their pregnancy. And we grew up playing house with the knowledge that playing house wasn’t a requirement for our future. If we didn’t want kids, we had the option not to. Such knowledge has had a great effect on our generation.

So, thanks to our culture, and any added familial dysfunction, our generation is inundated with mommy issues:

What if you can’t have kids?

What if you want kids and don’t have a husband?

What if you are sure you will be a bad mom?

What is a God-fearing Christian girl to do with her mommy issues?

In the beginning, God created man, then he created woman for man, then he united them in marriage, then he blessed them to procreate (Gen. 1:26-28). The earth was not even a week old when God introduced the topic of motherhood and fatherhood. Bearing children was a primary responsibility of marriage. “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.” Some people like to argue that the earth is full and our job of procreation is done. But Scripture states that one of main purposes of a Christian marriage is to raise godly offspring (Deuteronomy 6:6-9, Ephesians 6:4). And whether married or single, God calls all women to nurture others, so we all have a responsibility in spiritual mothering (Titus 2:1-5).

God has a plan for everything. His perfect plan for parenting is based in marriage. He created man and woman, joined them in beautiful union and out of that relationship he blessed them to have children.

However, we live in a fallen world, completely distorted by sin and filled with sinners. And that means that parenting and child-rearing are a struggle. And that our world is filled with broken homes, single parent families, teenage moms, and kids without parents.

While God’s original design is still best, even that is now marred by sin. Having two Christian parents doesn’t automatically guarantee great parenting. As believers, we are merely redeemed sinners, continually being sanctified by our Savior – and that includes parenting.

There is no such thing as a perfect mother. We will mess up and even fail at motherhood. But thankfully, God is in control. He is bigger than our mistakes and Lord over our mommy issues! As the Bible says, when we are weak, He is strong.

As Christian females, we are not called to be perfect mothers. But to turn to the Lord for the wisdom, strength and sanity to raise children, trusting that God can redeem our children and use our mistakes for good in their lives (Romans 8:28).

Motherhood is a unique gift that God gave only to women, one that we should learn to treasure – whether God gives us children or not – simply because it is a gift from God.

Ultimately, our mommy issues are just another opportunity to trust God with what He knows is best for our future and to continually rely on Him for the strength to do that which is set before us.

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One thought on “Mommy Issues

  1. I agree that we definitely have been impacted by feminism – and not for the good – when it comes to mothering, but I wouldn’t say that Deuteronomy 6:6-9 and Ephesians 6:4 teach that children are a purpose of marriage. Those verses teach us that, if we do have children, we are raise them as well as we can – to train them in righteousness, practically constantly. But those verses do not teach that marriage needs to produce children. Or that if a marriage does produce children, then it is the responsibility of the parents to ensure their children’s godliness. In fact, I would suggest that the main purpose of marriage is to illustrate the gospel – Christ and the Church, not to populate this world more. Children are to be a part of marriage (for most people), but God gave Eve to Adam for Adam’s happiness more than for Adam’s need to populate the earth.

    That said, children are amazing! Wonderful! But I don’t think we can go so far as to say that they are required. Or even that they are required by all married folks. I certainly think its the case that children should be normatively part of marriage. We’ve gone too far to make children so optional in our consideration – because it is possible to make them optional.

    I have a 6-month-old son (almost — on Friday!) and he is a joy to me unlike any other. And I was one of those that was wary of becoming a mother. I knew that I probably would (assuming I got married – another struggle as I didn’t marry until I was 30), but I always wondered if I would enjoy it. Oh I do! It is one of the coolest things that I have ever done. Lord, give me lots more! (Certainly not a prayer that I would have prayed several years ago). God has quite the way of working in one’s heart to change one’s desires.

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