I have a list. It's a list of names. Other mothers that I pray for.
I update my list every month, or as the need arises. New names get added, other names move to different categories.
My list has categories.
Pregnant women, that's one category.
But not just pregnant women. Women pregnant for the first time. Women pregnant for the seventh time. Women who continue to work and run errands and exercise as if nothing has changed, and women who spend 9 months curled up on their couches and vomiting into their toilets. Women who wanted to be pregnant, desired it, dreamed of it, prayed for it for months, sometimes years. And woman for whom a new life is an unexpected shock, joy is clouded by fear and stress, another mouth to feed, another body to cloth. Grace and peace and good health, O Lord.
The babies keep coming, the months tick by, and the names in this category come and go.
Then there are women who want to be pregnant, but aren't. Women who long to hold a baby of their own for the first time, and women who's babies are grown, and long for one more. Please God, just one more. Women who are in and out of doctors appointments, trying different diets, supplements, and medications, and each month brings another disappointment.
This category, unfortunately, doesn't change as much.
There are other categories besides these: working moms and stay at home moms. Moms who's husbands travel a lot, or are in school, like mine, and do a lot of solo parenting, and single moms who bear the weight of parenting alone. There are moms finishing school, moms attempting to home school. There are moms sitting with their children in doctors offices and therapy appointments, turning their worlds upside down for a child with special needs or health complications. And there are moms suffering through their own poor health, each day they rise above it and care for their families. Lord, hear our prayer.
There is a category for when the unthinkable happens; mothers holding their children's hands in hospital rooms. feeling the helplessness that comes with watching a child suffer. Lord, show us your mercy and love. And there are mothers saying goodbye to their children and entrusting them to the arms of Jesus. And grant us your salvation.
When I look at my list of names I am reminded that I am not in this motherhood thing all by myself. I am reminded that when I have hard day, or week, someone else is too, and I can offer my own trials up for them. I am reminded that there are other women praying for me.
When I look at my list of names I am reminded that motherhood comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and that there is no room for me cast judgments or comparisons. Because it's hard. This motherhood thing is really hard, and we are all trying our best for our families.
When I look at my list of names, I am reminded that what every mother needs and deserves is compassion, understanding, a listening ear, and a praying heart.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love