Time is running out for my younger friend. We are sitting at lunch when she casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking about starting a family. What she is really saying is that her biological clock has begun its countdown, and she feels forced to consider the prospect of motherhood.
“We’re taking a survey,” she says, half joking. “Do you think I should have a baby?” Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. (Ephesians 4:25 NASB)
“It will change your life,” I say carefully, keeping my tone neutral. “I know,” she says. “No more sleeping in on Saturdays, no more great vacations….”
I look at my friend, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes. I want to tell her that the physical wounds of childbearing heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will be forever vulnerable.
I consider warning her that she will never watch the news again without asking, “What if that had been my child?” Every car crash will haunt her when her child learns to drive. When she sees pictures of missing children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than if her child were missing.
I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish outfit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. An urgent call of “Mommy!” will cause her to drop a soufflé or her best crystal without a moment’s hesitation.
I feel I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. Everyday decisions will no longer be routine. A five-year-old boy’s desire to go to the men’s room rather than the women’s at McDonald’s will be a major dilemma. However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother. She will begin to hope for more years—not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish hers. I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor. I want her to understand how much more you can love your husband who is great at changing a diaper and having his nails painted by his daughter. She will bond with women throughout history who have tried desperately to stop drunk driving, bullying and social media.
I want to describe to my friend the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to swim, hit a baseball or dance in a recital. I want her to know the belly laugh of watching a toddler eating ice cream or being a super hero.
My friend’s quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. “You’ll never regret it,” I say.
You see, 27 years ago, I was the younger friend doing the asking. A sweet older woman spoke those words to me and they changed my life. We can all reach across a table, squeeze a younger woman’s hand, and offer a prayer for her. Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children. (Titus 2:3-4 NASB)
How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding. (Proverbs 3:13 NASB) We are mere mortal women who stumble our way into other women’s lives, and we can speak blessings over them.
Please join us on September 29th from 7-8:30am at Canterbury United Methodist Church for our first annual Women’s City Prayer Breakfast. We will also have a Service Fair following the Prayer Breakfast to connect and inform women of local outreach opportunities.
For tickets: http://canterburyumc.org/prayerbreakfast Enjoy this annual event bringing women together in prayer, service, and fellowship to make an impact in our city. Sophie Hudson will be our keynote speaker this year. Sophie is a funny and entertaining Southern writer and speaker who lives in Birmingham. She hopes that through her stories, women find encouragement and hope in the everyday, joy filled moments of life. We’re also happy to have Janet Hall, WBRC Fox6 News Anchor, as our Emcee.