So, I've been thinking. I've been thinking about the vocation to family life and Motherhood. With the March for Life right around the corner, most people in the Catholic world are vamping up their ever-present support for unborn life, so I, too, have been thinking about what kind of witness I am to the sanctity of life...am I a good witness?...do people look at me and think "wow...that mother really loves her children and her family"?....does my example make others want to value their families more, or be more open to life? As Catholics, we are called to witness to the truth, and the truth is, life is valuable and worth living - no matter how hard it is. And, the truth is that it is not up to us to decide whether or not a life is brought into the world...it's God's decision. But, the hard part is making others see the beauty of raising a family - whether you have 1 or 10. On the surface, motherhood is anything but glamorous...I mean, the baby literally threw up down my shirt the other day. My two year old ate something off the floor that she thought was chocolate, but it most certainly was NOT chocolate (what was it doing on the floor, you might ask??...doesn't matter...). My six year old brings frogs into my house. My 4 year old is on the verge of learning to communicate using only his bodily functions (what is the deal with boys thinking that is so funny, anyway?!). And, children need to be disciplined, they make messes that they refuse to clean up, leave their dirty clothes on the floor after being repeatedly told to pick it up, and don't get me started on the sink in the kids' bathroom! It's a never ending cycle of cooking, feeding, cleaning....lather, rinse, repeat. But as a mothers, I also know that all those mundane details are SO WORTH it! The love in a child's eye when they look at you, kissing them good night, hearing them read for the first time, those little hands and feet, baby yawns, the joy of holding a new baby for the first time, hearing them say their first words...there is just so much love for these little people, that it can't fit into your heart, and it can't help but spill out into hugs, kisses, and affection for them.
But, some days, it's really hard to see past all the grit and grime. Some days, I feel like I'm in the trenches, and I am the worst witness to motherhood ever. I yell...it's not pretty. Many times, when I go out in public, and I have small children climbing all over me, people just think I'm crazy for having all these kids. They love to tell me just how full my hands are...as if I didn't know that! And, heaven forbid that I ever complain about how hard things are, because then it's "well, then stop having kids" Well, I don't want to! I love my children...I want a big family, but that doesn't mean it's easy all the time. So, how do we get people to see past the surface, and that by sacrificing so much for our children, we actually gain so much more in return. It has to be one of life's greatest paradoxes. But, some people just don't want to see the beauty and the value. All they want to see is the stuff they would have to give up, and the demand on their time that is too great. I actually heard a woman on the radio once say that she wanted to have a child, but really wanted to have a surrogate carry the baby for her, because she "didn't have time to be pregnant"!!! I...what...where does that kind of logic come from?!?!
I can only do so much in my role as mother. I can't exactly be present at all the pro-life rallies, and the marches, and travel around doing missions. My place right now is at home with my little ones. Much of the time, a mother's sacrifice and effort goes completely unnoticed and unappreciated by the world. So, for me to be a good witness, even when no one can see it, I have to be joyful...firm, but loving. And not just for the sake of others, but for the sake of my family. My husband needs to see me happy and glad that I am part of his family (which, of course, I am...even on the hardest of days I love our life). My kids need to see that I am honored and over-joyed to have them for my children. I need to keep in mind that my kids will be adults one day, and the way that I treat them will affect whether or not they will be pro-life. If they see a mom who completely loves her job as a wife and mother, then they will have respect for life, too. I can't be a good witness and draw people to the Catholic Faith if my life doesn't reflect joy and happiness, even in the midst of suffering.