There are some verses in the bible that have always left me baffled; wondering what Christ was trying to imply. For example, Luke 23:29, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!‘ This contradicts the belief that a child is a blessing. It contradicts ‘Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them (Psalms 127:3-4)’.
I may not know what Christ implied, but for sure there are pains that only a mother can feel. This statement he said during his journey to crucifixion when he met women who were weeping for him, and he told them to weep for themselves instead. I picture Mary, his mother, accompanying him in this journey. We watch this in the bible story movies and those of us who are weepy will definitely cry but there is a pain that only she felt. The pains of watching your child suffer… There is no mother who won’t wince when a child falls. There is no mother who won’t turn away at the sound of a crying baby. There is no mother who won’t get irked when they hear that there is rampage on a certain university. I remember my mother telling me sometimes back when Moi University went on strike and my brother was a student there that she could not sleep until he arrived home at 4am. How he got home is a story only he can tell. I don’t know of a mother who won’t call their child in this Nairobi if a bomb explodes somewhere. This remnds me of the August 7th 1998 Bomb blast at the American Embassy in Ufundi Plaza(the site is currently August 7thMemorial Park). I heard the news of the twin blast in Nairobi and Dares Salaam. It didn’t strike me as alarming until my parents asked me twice what I really heard and mentioned that she was praying all my siblings were well wherever they were; Reality check. I know I have been disturbed by a sight of a child being beaten ever since I was a child myself. A friend of mine keeps telling me that she was willing to carpet her house wall to wall because her child kept falling and hurting herself. The default button when you are a parent is to imagine the worst and always hope and pray that it does not happen to your child. When they go out you worry, when they are in the house you worry, when you are expectant you worry and when they are all grown with their own families you worry. When they make mistakes, you live the mistake…
Children make mistakes and most of us did make our own mistakes. The things we never realize the mistakes we make are a double edged sword to our parents, one they experience pain for the mistake and they suffer the consequences with us. Not because they will literally contribute in any way, but because they walk the journey with us. All of us probably have these two fears; fear of imminent pain, and fear of imminent death-I know I fear pain. That is why news of a cancer diagnosis will probably sound like a last nail into the coffin. Fear drives us to do crazy things. For a teen daughter, it is the fear of labour, sleepless nights, a child bringing up another child, support, provision, unknown future, terminated dreams, making it, what type of child will be brought up, the desperation of holding a sick child, the pain of watching your child make mistakes, the double edged sword that you embrace by being a parent… The list of worries is endless. One of the key is the death of the dreams you actually had for this daughter of yours. I believe that is the initial hurt. This is followed by many psychological self induced hurts fuelled by the fears I have stated above. Imagination is a crazy driver. Every time you hear of a child molested, you imagine that that could be your child, if a child is mistreated by their caregiver, if they are raped, stripped, beaten, shot, it all comes to you, and you share in the pain of that mother. When they leave your house, you have probably imagined all things that could go wrong and when they are not home on time, your heart will skip beats when your phone rings fearing for the worst. And of course when you see a little coffin, you can only weep.
That is all theory until it happens to you. I am a mother to many daughters and most of those who know me know that I have cried many tears for and with them. There is just that sword that cuts through you. I am a great advocate of life. I have recently learnt that one of the mistakes that cuts through a mother’s heart and shreds it to pieces is the realization that their child is sexually active and in the sexual activity, a child was conceived. Whoever said “it’s just sex” lied (my opinion), because no matter what we do, sexual roles that is the native and procreative functions will always manifests themselves at some point in time and the consequences of both must be born, whether if it is through heart breaks for unitive and pregnancy for procreative. I will scream at the top of my lungs that you keep your pregnancy, because that child is a key to many blessings in your life. I will advice you that it is not the end of life when you are teenager, and you have made that one mistake that will make you a teen mom. I will give you a dozen examples of successful teen mums who chose to against all odds live this life with the fruit of their wombs. I will give you a dozen more successful influential people who made a difference in this world but they are abortion survivors. I have cried for the unborn children that never see the beauty of this earth and experience the joy of overcoming challenges. But recently I have learnt that I can tell you the reasons why a sane man and woman would actually advice you to procure an abortion, especially when that person is the woman who bore you. I have learnt to appreciate why mothers would banish their children for ages and refuse to be associated with their grand children. I have learnt that sometimes it is not the child’s mistake parse that scares the parents but the consequences of the mistakes and the fear of the impact of those consequences on their lives. They say that every mother goes to labor with their daughters; they nurture their children with them; cry when they cry; celebrate when they do; and most of all they parent these children with them. Why is this so, because they have been there, done that literally.
While the fears and worries may be justified, I still believe that, as my friend Agatha says, the cross that comes our way will never be so heavy that we cannot bear. God knows His children before they are born and God for sure takes care of the child when they come. He never promised that life will be easy, but He sure promised to be there for us, to travel with us to the end of time. So there comes a time when our own selfishness, which is what drives these fears must be set aside and the good of another be made important. We have to somehow, amidst this confusion of creative imagination, sort the fears and bury them and start living positive steps. We must celebrate life. We must embrace life. We must fight for life. We must fight fear and live in hope. It is good to go down the pain road, but it not good to let pain dictate our life. Negative activities will always be there. Evil will always be there, but it must be there so that good prevail. Am not saying that any child deserves to be raped, neither is any boy or girl worthy of being sodomized, no woman should be undressed and no human being should be beheaded or blown away by some bomb. All I am saying is amidst all this is a beautiful world. We cannot let fear dictate our activities. We cannot become permanent slaves to our own anxieties. We have to rise beyond that which inhibits our becoming and live life to the full. We cannot totally negate the fact that our children make mistakes, but we can resolve not to let the fact that they made them define the relationship we have with them. We cannot shield them from all the harm of the world but we can equip them with a skin so tough that when they indeed get touched, it will only scathe them not scar them. We cannot stop our children from becoming their own persons, we cannot hold them back from growing, we can pray to the God who co parents them with us every day to watch out for them, to hold them close to Himself, to shield them from the contagion and the evils of this world, and when anything does befall them, that He may give them the strength and the resilience to pick themselves up and rise beyond that which weighed them down. Like one Gary Thomas said in his book Sacred Parenting, pain builds resilience and confidence in our children. May God grant us the graces to bear this pain, because by the virtue that we are parents, we will feel pain, but may we bear this pain knowing that it is all for the good. The poet Kahil Gibran wrote: “When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow, that is giving you joy. The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”
I pen off…
I am yet to be a mother and i would want to be one in future.
You write such beautiful articles with so much emotion, i would probably relate with you as though av known you forever would we meet.
And that starter verse at the top, that’s a sure bulls eye.
Thanks for your sentiments. Maybe someday we will meet.