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09 May 2010

All Women are NOT Mothers

"All women are mothers."

It's a sweet-sounding sentiment. One that I hear just about every year around Mother's Day, which I most recently read on facebook, posted by a friend who is very sweet and kind, very well-intended, and very wrong.

All women are NOT mothers.

It is true that when God made women he gave us the capacity for nurturing, and many women are very good at that, including many who are not yet mothers. It is true that women with no children (biological, adoptive, step, or other) contribute in many important ways to the nurturing of and caring for other's children. But this does not make them Mothers.

Pretending otherwise belittles the pain felt by the woman who longs for children, but is unable to bear them.

Pretending otherwise belittles the hurt and longing felt by women who, waiting for honorable marriage, can have no children.

Pretending that all women are Mothers belittles and diminishes the tremendous eternal significance of the work that mothers do. It is saying that even those who have no children are doing the very same thing, contributing in the very same way. It is not so. Childless women contribute. But they are not Mothers, and they are not doing the same things.

When the Lord sends a child to a family, He is giving those parents a sacred trust and responsibility. He also gives parents authority sufficient to carry out their responsibilities. He will require an accounting from parents for the raising of their children. While Aunts, Sisters, Grandmothers, and other female friends may assist, that responsibility remains upon parents. A mother is a Mother to her own, and none else.

The calling of father or mother is sacred and carries with it great significance. One of the greatest privileges and responsibilities given to us is that of being a parent—helping to bring to earth a child of God and having the sacred responsibility to love, care, and guide children back to our Heavenly Father. In many ways earthly parents represent their Heavenly Father in the process of nurturing, loving, caring, and teaching children.
-Robert D. Hales

Women without children simply don't have this privilege or responsibility. What they do have is the promise that no blessing will be withheld for lack of opportunity in this life. They have the assurance that the Lord who sees the desires of their hearts will hear and answer their prayers.

He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord.
Psalms 113:9


Chocolate on my Cranium said...

I whole heartedly disagree. :D

"When we understand the magnitude of motherhood, it becomes clear why prophets have been so protective of woman’s most sacred role. While we tend to equate motherhood solely with maternity, in the Lord’s language, the word mother has layers of meaning. Of all the words they could have chosen to define her role and her essence, both God the Father and Adam called Eve “the mother of all living” —and they did so before she ever bore a child. Like Eve, our motherhood began before we were born. Just as worthy men were foreordained to hold the priesthood in mortality, righteous women were endowed premortally with the privilege of motherhood. Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave us."

Sherri L. Dew Are We Not All Mothers? given in General Conference Oct. 2001.

I highly recommend reading the whole talk. It is full of supporting statements that ALL women are indeed mothers. It is an eternal calling.

Anonymous said...

thank for share, it is very important . ̄︿ ̄

Ritsumei said...

Cocoa, maybe I'm still missing something, but I guess I draw a bigger distinction between privileges we are foreordained to and blessings already realized than what Sister Dew does. I think about the difference between being foreordained to become something (in this case a Mother), and already actually BEING something. I think that is a very significant difference. It is the significance of that difference alone, I think, that separates my opinion from Sister Dew's: she says that to be foreordained a mother is to be a mother. I think that the scriptures and the temple teach otherwise; that they teach that there is a greater distinction between being foreordained and actually being ordained. Semisweet and Bon Bon, for example, are not mothers yet - and you wouldn't want them to be because she's not ready. Which is not to say that they aren't well on their way to having the learning and maturity that they will need when their time comes. (Please forgive me for borrowing your daughters for my example; I haven't any girls of my own!)

We waited 8 years for Monkey. In that time I served in the Primary and also worked with youth. I taught piano lessons. It did little to nothing to fill the aching desire to be a Mother. Confidence that the Lord would (eventually) fulfill His promises that I would be able to become a Mother did not ease the sorrow and pain I felt at the delay. I love Psalms 113:9 because I am the barren woman become a joyful mother. My ability to bear children comes directly from the tender mercies of the Lord. And I am not the same person that I was prior to receiving that gift. Physically, emotionally, spiritually, even socially, everything changes when you become a Mother.

Though I understand where you are coming from, I still think that to pretend that all women already are Mothers, when some have not yet realized that blessing, diminishes both the longing of those who have not, as well as the importance of the work done by those who have that incredible blessing.

Womanhood and Motherhood are both certainly Divine things, and they have many overlapping qualities, but I cannot agree that they are the same.

Ritsumei said...
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