Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Pain of Motherhood

Yesterday's news of the murders at Virginia Tech has all of us reeling at yet another senseless massacre. Megan at Velveteen Mind has captured for me here what goes through my mind each time something like this happens.

Before I became a mother, stories involving loss of life, whether on a large scale like this, or just of an individual, in whatever circumstances, made me sad. Having children of my own however brings a whole different perspective. A deeper reaction and one that stays with me for a long time. I find myself imagining what each mother must feel on hearing that her baby has been taken from her - what a gut wrenching, painful piece of news to ask any mother to digest. Imagine the pain too of the mothers whose children commit these crimes? How do you even begin to deal with that? I feel for the fathers too of course, and the siblings, and the investigators, and the members of law enforcement, or other people whose task it is to break that news to next of kin, but I find myself feeling much more so for the moms. It just runs so contrary to the 'natural order of things' to ask a mother to bury her child - and I know many mothers have lost babies through illness, accident, or at the particularly rancid hands of a pedophile, and they have to do it on a daily basis all over the world - it's still wrong somehow.

There is something more jarring about what happened yesterday, and in other cases like the Amish school shootings which happened only days before I delivered my son in October past. I sat and looked at him in my hospital room feeling for those Amish mothers all the more - never did they think when they looked into their own newborns' eyes that some crazed gunman would shatter their world and take those innocent babies in a few short years. I feel for these mothers and their painful loss, for the pain of the question 'why?' that is sure to be rattling around their heads, now and for some time to come. I feel for the task they have ahead of picking up and carrying on after all the 'busyness' that surrounds a death and the formalities that will proceed in the days ahead. This is painful for me, a mother, just because trying to imagine what they are going through tears me apart - how much more painful must it be to actually go through it?

This is a scary world at times, one that makes me want to order up the largest, lifetime lasting, bulk order of cotton wool imaginable to help me protect my babies.

My thoughts are with all the mothers who have lost their babies, yesterday, or any day. May God hold you in his loving arms, now and always.


Jenny said...

Well said. It is amazing how being a parent yourself brings a whole new level of empathy to experiences like this.

Oh, The Joys said...

Amen, amen.

In the Trenches of Mommyhood said...

Beautiful post. And as a fellow mother, I couldn't agree more.

Shauna said...

Great post. I think we're all feeling it, but not always able to express it, but you did wonderfully. Cathartic, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

I can't agree any more.

This is a gigantic fear of mine and something that I have witnessed too many times. Even if from afar.. it is gut wrenching.

You put it beautifully.

...and thank you for visiting me today.

moodswingingmommy said...

That was just beautiful, and so true. I just couldn't deal with all of this yesterday, but you did it for me. I'm in tears and going to hug my baby girl now.

Velveteen Mind said...

This is exactly what I was trying to convey in imagery. What I did not say, however, is to pray for the families of those that feel compelled to do these horrible things. That needed to be said, as well.

"The Pain of Motherhood," indeed.

The Humble Housewife said...

So well put Annie! I know what you mean about your feelings now and before you were a mother. I remember with my first being on maternity leave and revelling in the fact that I got to watch Oprah everyday for six weeks! I turned it on with my three week old baby cuddle in my arms and the show was about "baby rape" in South Africa... I just about died. I actually threw up I was so horrified as a new mother. I get the same feeling anytime I hear things like this now... amazing how birth changes your life forever in more ways than one!