When you’re the “other” mother.
Life has lots of “others”. Sometimes people are the “other” friend, the “other” woman, the “other” church, or job, or child.
But what about when you’re the “other” mom?
Society has pegged me as a target because of my differences in today’s parenting age. I didn’t breastfeed for “6 weeks to 6 months” which was best. I chose the “other” method of feeding, and thusly, perhaps poisoned my kids, and gave any other child a head-start against them.
I don’t have 2.5 kids. In fact I’ve nearly doubled that and become a “crazy other”, like some sort of circus spectacle.
I want to homeschool, and I’m not organic. The two seem to go hand in hand these days. Either you’re an “other” for completely sheltering your children from all things processed or man-made, or you’ve exposed them to the dangers and torments of the world we live in. I’ve chosen the “worst” of both: my kids get refined carbohydrates and high fructose corn syrup, AND a home-grown education where they may become socially awkward. (Wow I feel like I’m winning already!)
But I’m the “other” mother on a terrifyingly new, and heartbreaking story, that’s more real life than I wish it to be. A distant friend of mine lost her sweet baby boy, just weeks before he was due to make his entrance into the world. And I happen to be the “other” mother, who can’t relate.
I’ve never had a miscarriage. I’ve never struggled to get pregnant. In fact, I’ve found myself, three out of four times, pregnant with a baby that was “unplanned”. I’ve never had a long, hard, or difficult pregnancy, delivery, or recovery. I’m the “other” mother, who had all of her kids in less than 5 hours labor total, didn’t gain lots of extra weight, lost said weight within about 48 hours of having each of those babies, and who recovered well. So well that within the “6 weeks recovery” period, I got just that: a period.
I don’t say all of those things to brag. Because lately, I’ve found that I am more blessed than I deserve, given more grace than I can conprehend, and shown mercy beyond what should be allowed. So I humbly write this, thinking and saying out loud, “Thank you God for blessing me!”
But I don’t know what to say or do now. Not because anyone actually will ever have the words or things to say or do to anyone who has loved and lost. But because in some ways I feel guilty for having the “ease” that I’ve had along the way.
The story of David and Bathsheeba comes to mind in fact.
And my friend and I, are two halves of the story.
You read about David, having looked at this beautiful woman, and without so much as batting an eye, he takes her for himself after having her husband murdered in battle, appearing to be an honorable death. He and the woman conceive a child-a child born from the result of sin.
This is the part of the story that I share as common ground. The part where sin and lust and pride intervene and are allowed grounds to walk in the hearts of two people, and out of an un-holy union, a baby is born from human detriment into the same.
My friend however is on the flip side. She had the most holiest of unions. A husband and wife made one by a Holy God. Who had conceived a child out of purity and love, carried out only to end in loss and pain and torment. Just like David and Bathsheeba, her baby boy died.
Dear Jesus, why.
That’s been the question that haunts me as the ” other” mother. The one who had her fourth baby, again unplanned, and to be candid, unwanted, up until about 6 months of pregnancy.
I spent the first few months of this fourth pregnancy in tears and lonely cries in the night, asking God why His plan was so different from my "perfect" one. The one where I got a "break" from being pregnant yet again. The one were I didn't have to be pregnant for 9 grueling months more. The one where I didn't need to deliver yet another baby into this world. "Why do I have four?" "Why did you God, open my womb yet again, when I didn’t want to be a mother again." "Why would you allow a pure and holy and innocent baby, the first and only baby, of someone else to go?" Especially Abbey's.
My mind won’t let me rest, and every moment I spend alone feeding and soothing, changing and burping, watching, talking, rocking, and holding my sweet baby, I think of her.
My mind haunts me, and yet hers must be more. My heart breaks, but undoubtedly her is more broken. My sadness is deeper than I’ve known, and yet hers deeper than most will ever imagine.
Guilt and shame and embarrassment fill my mind, when I post photos of my baby. When I let the world know of a new milestone in her life, I feel as though her, the “other” mother will resent it. Or me. Or maybe she finds peace knowing her baby would be doing the same things In the same season, since our babies would be so close in age. Maybe she feels comforted by the similar smiles and features of a new baby, even though they will never compare to her own.
After having my firstborn, the child born from sin, I was given a word of wisdom. It came from the story of David and Bathsheeba.
At the conclusion of the story, David is found worshipping. Pouring out his trials and triumphs to the God of total Lordship.
And regardless of me, or my friend, or you or an “other”, we should be drawn to worship. Whether on the highest of mountains, or in the muck of the lowest valleys, we too should pour out our songs of sadness, praise, thanks and worship to the Maker of all.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve learned in the last four years that the love of God is deeper than my deepest feelings of love as a parent. That my babies are gifts, and I cherish them. That regardless of methods and means, they too are part of the ransomed chosen children of Christ. And for that I am yet again blessed.
But I pray that I would be found worth of the cause of worship, in my everyday as a parent.
Usually people have to remind themselves that “God is sovereigb” as they walk through hardship. I’ve been walking through someone else’s hardship reminding myself that He is as well. But it’s a new perspective for sure.
The last time I found myself throwing up because of an “unwanted”pregnancy, I found myself clinging to words that He is the cornerstone, regardless of my position. And recently I’ve found myself asking for forgiveness because my heart was not aligned with God’s plan that is perfect. And I pray that the perfection of His plan, although difficult at times, would be realized by my friend sooner than later. In fact, every time I look at my baby, I remember hers, and pray for sweet peace to flood their home. I pray, That God would grant her the grace to find each day easier than the day before. Please Jesus, do it.And even though she has been broken into pieces by circumstances out of anyone's control, she, like David, has poured out beautiful worship to Jesus. I know that not because of the "songs" I've heard her sing. But because her responses, and her actions, in the everyday grind, which is where it is most difficult, have been an anthem to the God who is now holding her sweet baby, until we all, one day, rise again in Christ.
One thing I do know is this: there is NO “other” deserving of my worship.Or hers. Our yours.
"My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But whilst trust in Jesus name
Weak made strong in the Savior’s love
Through the storm
He is Lord
Lord of all. ”
"When He shall come with trumpet sound- Oh may I then in Him be found Dressed in His righteousness alone Faultless stand before the throne." And sweet Lincoln...already is.
And that has been my anthem, through the news of pregnancy last august. My anthem through job loss, and doubt and worry. My anthem when life has thrown me through unwanted and yet necessary lessons. And through this painfully difficult situation. And will continue to be until my song rises to Him.