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Motherhood: Honor. Privilege. Responsibility. Punishment?

May 10, 2013

Motherhood is the ultimate sorority.

It’s not particularly exclusive. Nearly all women have  at least the potential of membership.  But this ancient sisterhood is the most honored and cherished of any human collective. Without it, life would simply not exist.

Now, settle down, men. You have equal status — and responsibility — in creating new life. But from the instant when life is sparked in a woman’s womb, her body becomes the vessel of supporting and nurturing a being with a separate identity and DNA.  Everything  she ingests will be either nourishing or toxic to its development.  How she moves and exercises her body could also determine its life or death.

baby as gift from god

The precious duty of motherhood is the ultimate gift of a Creator God, conferred on the female of every species.  Female bodies are uniquely designed to harbor and support fragile, developing life.  We have been wired emotionally — most of us — to serve the dependent newborn as its primary caregiver, companion and teacher.All babies cherish and require a healthy bond with their mothers to thrive physically and emotionally.

AA mother and baby

All civilizations recognize and respect this divine duty. We venerate the ideal of a tender, self-sacrificing, loving, and responsible mother. The quintessential USA idiom “motherhood and apple pie” is our standard of what is wholesome and good and noble and desirable about our country. It is what our soldiers fight for when our country is threatened by oppression from foreign lands.

mom and apple pie

In today’s mixed-up, postmodern, post-wholesome world, the term “motherhood and apple pie” (or “baseball, motherhood and apple pie,” attributed to sportscaster Howard Cosell in 1974) is seldom evoked without a dram of snark or parody. It represents a pre-feminist era of Wonder Bread and bb guns and Stepford Wives. (None of you under 45 understand any of these references, do you?) Motherhood has lost much of its innocence, purity, and, for many, its desirability.

feminists do it betterAmerica’s ongoing sexual revolution, arguably launched by the release of The Pill in 1960, has changed the perception and parameters of motherhood. Now, having a child can be considered an inconvenience, a punishment, or a simple acquisition. Abortion, legal and available at any time of pregnancy, including the  unspeakably violent partial-birth abortion,  is now commonly used as a form of birth control. President Obama famously said in 2008 that he didn’t want his daughters to be “punished with a baby” if they made a mistake. Movie and television characters both reflect and inspire self-focused (“It’s all about ME!”) attitudes that a baby can be a fashionable accessory to a modern life — with or without a marriage taking place, with or without both a mother and a father, and with or without consideration of what is best for the child.

The momentous murder trial of Philadelphia abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell has been  studiously ignored by the mainstream media, whose excuses have included that it is “a local crime story” and that it is “too gruesome.”  At least one honest reporter admitted, however,

“For what it’s worth, I do think that those of us on the left have made a decision not to cover this trial because we worry that it’ll compromise abortion rights.” ( 

Gosnell’s reprehensible charnel house-cum-surgical clinic horrifies us in its workaday commission of murder and butchery of live infants. Even more disturbing are charges that such filthy conditions and unspeakable practices are not an isolated case, but can be found  throughout the country.

What have we become, America? We are less than the apes when we so value sexual license that we abort our young.

The pro life/pro choice debate isn’t about women’s health. It’s about the health of a helpless and separate individual who is dependent on its mother for the continuation of its life.  Yes, mistakes happen and unwanted pregnancies result. Young women especially fear disruption of their lives and futures when they unexpectedly become pregnant. But women have other options, including marriage and adoption. Those options may be  inconvenient, but inconvenient pregnancy  is a known consequence of unprotected sex and unsafe forms of prevention.

pro life poster

Since Roe v. Wade was passed in 1973, mothers have ended an estimated 56 million womb-dependent lives. Their own suffering includes a litany of physical and psychological risks and conditions which can last a lifetime.

There was a time, before ultrasound technology was perfected, when  an acceptable pro-choice argument was,

“A fetus is only tissue, not a baby.”

We now know better. The chromosomes and DNA profiling the genetic characteristics of a new human being are created at conception. The third week of conception, the baby’s brain, spinal cord, heart, and other organs begin to develop. Of course, the child is not viable separate from its mother’s womb for many months. The mother has to choose and accept motherhood if the baby is to have the opportunity to survive.

my life is in your hands

As we honor our own mothers this Sunday, the ones who chose to give us life, let us pray for those young women who are facing a choice, that they might have the courage and character to bear the responsibilities of an unplanned pregnancy. Let us pray for all young girls, that they might resist the twisted demands of a so-called “liberated” culture to  quench the sexual appetites of young men as an expression of independence, freedom, self-worth and “girl power.”  Let us pray for all men, that they might respect women; and for all women, that they might respect themselves and deserve the respect of men.

I’m a mother, and I am eternally grateful to be a member of that universal sorority. Happy Mother’s Day to all my sisters, women of every age and color and in every land.  May we live up to the honor , admiration, respect and responsibilities of our calling.

diverse babies backside view

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