OCTOR NILS BERGMAN came up with the idea that the newborn’s natural habitat is the mother. He found premature babies did much better with maternal skin to skin contact rather than keeping them in special cots. It makes sense that after nine months on the inside there would still be that bond, but amazing the way the body out does the expensive equipment.
It reminds me of the blessing for expectant mothers which sounds suspiciously like the prayer at the end of Compline “Visita quaesumus Domine habitationem istam” “Visit, O Lord, this dwelling”. The mother becomes the dwelling place of a new person.
Before children you may be classified by what you do to earn a living. As a mother your children seem to replace any previous qualifications. This can be frustrating when you think of all the time and money that went into earlier life, but after a while that pales compared with the amazing yet commonplace needs of your family. And the amazing love that grows over time.
Pope Francis made headlines for lauding the role of women in his April 3 address (Read it here) The address tackles the need for faith in the Resurrection of Jesus. The women at the tomb are held up as models of faith and joy in spreading the news. But not just women, mammas and women (mamme e donne). He goes on to say that mothers and women have a special role in witnessing to their children and opening the doors to the Lord, “in following him and in communicating his Face, for the gaze of faith is always in need of the simple and profound gaze of love.”
It may seem like a very inefficient way to pass on the faith. Even having children close together that’s only about one new proselyte each year. Plus ongoing commitment for a good 18 years for each one. Surely in a digital age we can find the killer app to do this much more effectively! But that is not God’s way. Love takes time, and gets better over time.
From the same address: “It is the heart that counts for God, how open to him we are, whether we are like trusting children.” It’s not just getting the message across to the next generation that makes motherhood special, but the outpouring of the mother’s life. We grow to trust God over time, to rest secure in the hope that He has a plan and the plan is Good.