Motherhood isn't a sacrifice
|Painting by Firmin Baes|
Do women make sacrifices when they become mothers or do women simply switch from one dream to another?
When a woman chooses to become a mother, she is making a big decision—sometimes the biggest decision of her life and the consequences are life changing. And with these changes she must rethink her priorities—what is now her MOST important priority and what is no longer as significant in her life. Things that were once her highest priority have now slipped down the ladder (perhaps a career, independence, freedom, earning lots of money, travel) and have been replaced by a child that requires her utmost attention.
Deborah at Growing in His Grace writes: "I overhear conversations between women talking about “before I had children” and what was “sacrificed.”I see women who posts pictures of themselves in their homes celebrating a time when they were childless–the fun years."
I believe that the term “sacrifice” makes women feel resentful and discontent because for many modern women (Christian and non-christian) it means that they have had “to surrender something prized (independence and self) for the sake of something considered as having a higher claim (your children)” (Sarah Driscoll). Today, we are encouraged to be independent and to carve out an identity outside of our family relationships: in work, in travel, and in our friendships. These activities are seen as very important and what we all should strive for whereas motherhood is for the dowdy woman at home in her slippers—motherhood is not seen as equal in value or importances to other activities. Therefore switching from an independent woman to a mother is a step down and therefore a sacrifice.
But if we change the focus from the word “sacrifice” to looking at all the things a woman gains from motherhood — just in the same way women get promoted in a career—we can lift the status of a motherhood and make it much more positive.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. (Psalm 127:3)
Whilst things change for a new mother, she hasn’t lost anything—a baby can only be seen as a gain, something more precious than anything else she has done. Motherhood is a gift and when you consider it as a gift, how then can you look at motherhood as a sacrifice.
When the baby is small it may limit some activities, however, there are still many things women can do — motherhood doesn't steal everything from us, it only changes our priorities and sometimes we do things we hadn't considered before, such as working from home. Motherhood doesn’t exclude you from life, it only change when you do things or how you do them — so as women we need to stop complaining about sacrifices and all the things we are "missing out on" and look at motherhood as a gift and value all things one gains from being a mother.