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Watching My Wife Become A Mom Gave Me A New Appreciation Of A Mother’s Sacrificial Love

A mother’s love is beautiful and suprarational. It defies pragmatic logic and self-serving calculation.

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It’s terribly sad that Mother’s Day has become an occasion for touting abortion as the best gift mothers can receive. Murdering one’s baby is the polar opposite of motherhood, and the idea that abortion and Mother’s Day go hand in hand is remarkably disingenuous considering that everyone — even the most vociferous pro-abortion activists — can see that love and self-sacrifice are at the heart of what it means to be a mother.

This reality hits home deeper now that my wife and I have welcomed our first child and I’ve witnessed my wife experiencing the joys and trials of motherhood firsthand. I’m the second oldest of seven, but when I was a toddler, pre-teen, and young teen, most of what my mom went through during her pregnancies went over my head completely. Now I’ve caught a glimpse of how hard she worked to bring my siblings and me into the world.

“The first one is usually the hardest” is one of the things people say when they find out your wife is pregnant. I still don’t really know what that means — a healthy agnosticism about all things related to pregnancy is the safest position for a male to hold — but my wife does. She experienced what that meant through all nine months of pregnancy and 24 hours of labor.

She wrestled with her changing body and adjusted to new experiences on a daily basis. She pushed herself through random bouts of morning sickness (I learned that “morning sickness” is a shameless euphemism for vomit-inducing stomach-wrenching that comes not just in the morning but at all hours of the day and night) and a variety of other discomforts and challenges.

She also grappled with fear and anxiety over our baby’s well-being. Each life is fragile, fleeting, and precious; Scripture compares it to a mist or vapor. My wife was well aware of this reality, having witnessed her mother go through a number of miscarriages. She feared making some misstep or error that might negatively affect the baby — not the overhyped warnings of maternal mortality. But it was clear to everyone around her that she was fully equipped to nurture and grow our little child.

She did so with style and grace, adjusting to the hills and valleys of pregnancy with patience and calm. As our tiny baby developed inside her, my wife kept me updated on the baby’s progress using fruits and veggies for comparison: from kidney bean to strawberry to peach to mango-size our baby grew.

With wonder, my wife realized that some of the stomach “rumblings” she felt were actually our baby’s first movements. Later she would gently pull my hand to her stomach so I could feel our daughter’s kicks. As her due date approached, she even waddled (her term, not mine!) gracefully. Her love was visible in her gentle whispers to the baby and her joyful surprise at the baby’s sudden jerks and tumbles. I could see it in her thoughtful smiles and the way she placed her hands on her ever-growing baby bump.

My baby’s little pokes and prods make me think of how my own mother carried me many years ago. I daydream of her in the early days of her pregnancy, toting me along in her stomach up and down the streets of a small Kansas town as she delivered letters and parcels for the U.S. Postal Service. On an evening in late June, she spent the first few hours at the hospital laboring on a gurney in a hallway (apparently it was a busy night for births). I try to picture her in the hospital room where she introduced me to the outside world; I imagine the straining and the pain and the tears and the joy.

I think of what my wife went through to bring our daughter into the world. Watching her endure the pain and fatigue of labor with so little I could do to help was one of the most difficult things I’ve been through (how much more difficult for her!), but I was so impressed by the courage, fortitude, and physical stamina she displayed. I know my mother endured the same pain and fatigue for me, and I think I understand her love for me and all her children a little bit better now that I’ve seen my wife go through the same experience.

A mother’s love is beautiful and suprarational. It defies pragmatic logic and self-serving calculation. It is cultivated in the long months of pregnancy, of discomfort, change, emotional strain, and physical nearness between mother and child. A mother’s love comes to fruition in the pains of labor, in the seemingly endless contractions that persist long into the night and the early morning hours. It is consummated in long years of service, of teaching and training, and growing friendship between mother and child.

Our culture doesn’t value mothers as much as it should because it doesn’t value selflessness as much as it should. Instead, we tend to value selfishness, choosing the self-serve lane of life and racking up the score. Of course, that’s the opposite of motherhood, regardless of how many politicians and pundits use Mother’s Day as a platform to disingenuously clammer for unrestricted “reproductive healthcare.”

True motherhood is an inherently selfless and self-sacrificial endeavor, and mothers deserve our genuine appreciation and admiration. We shouldn’t let the DINKs (Dual Income No Kids) and the deliberately childless patting themselves on the back for their self-prioritization dim this perspective. Rather we should acknowledge the reality that is so self-evidently true: through their sacrifice and love, mothers make our lives not only possible but also infinitely richer.

So to my wife and to my mother and to all mothers everywhere, a very happy Mother’s Day. You’ve truly made our lives better in a thousand different ways.

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