Yet the theme of broadening the definition of motherhood once more captures my attention. Especially among singles, we see women who haven’t given birth to children complain about how celebrating Mother’s Day simply rubs in their face the dream they want but don’t have.
The truth is you don’t need to birth a child to be a mother. But for many, that’s easier said than believed. So this Mother’s Day, let’s honor motherhood by helping everyone believe that. Let’s help our single sisters identify themselves as the mothers they are for the care they show to others. Let’s honor those who play motherly roles to others — the mothers we don’t see.
See what already is
I call them “the mothers we don’t see” not because we’re blind to them. Of course we physically see them. But too often we’ve not seen these women as mothers because they have no children of their own. We need to see these women for the mothers they already are.
Yes, they haven’t borne children, but they do have children who love them for the care these good women show them. Some of these women are Primary teachers or school teachers who find great fulfillment by “adopting” the children of others. And yet other single sisters show great care to grown children of our Heavenly Father. You don’t need to be a mortal child to appreciate the care shown by single sisters who adopt motherly roles for themselves.
Such broadened perspective reveals meaningful lives because motherhood is about something more fundamental than delivering a physical body into the mortal world. Motherhood is about sharing love with those who need it. And that’s something every woman can do, regardless of marital status or life circumstance. Celebrating those women who make that choice helps everyone adopt a broader perspective on what motherhood really is.
See what could be
Seeing our single sisters for the mothers they already are can also help them believe in the mothers they could be in the future. I believe many single sisters (and many single brethren, for that matter) keep themselves from having their own children principally because they don’t believe in their own potential. It’s always easier to believe in you when others do too.
But most people will take their cues about you from you. So when you don’t believe in the blessings our Heavenly Father wants you to have, you radiate an energy that broadcasts what you really feel and think inside of you. And others pick up on that energy. They presume you’re the expert on you, so if you think you don’t have a blessed future, most will simply defer to your expertise, thereby fulfilling a type of self-fulfilled prophecy.
Think for a moment what might happen if we celebrated women not just for the motherly roles they do play but the ones they could. We could help those sisters who haven’t believed in themselves to turn around and change course. We could help them become the mothers they’re capable of becoming, launching loads of love into the lives of people all around.
Celebrate a broader vision
We’re all biologically hardwired to get our sense of normal from those around us. So when everyone around us thinks motherhood means bearing children, it’s normal for us to think likewise.
But that works in other ways too. If everyone around us believes motherhood is really about sharing love with those who need it, then we establish a new standard for normal. It’ll be easier to believe that’s what motherhood really is all about. And it’s even easier to believe that when we celebrate the women who live that definition of motherhood.
So this Mother’s Day, by all means celebrate your own mother. But let’s also celebrate the mothers we don’t see, the women who we traditionally haven’t seen as mothers but who are mothers all the same for the love they share with others in need. More celebrations of love will encourage even more love, helping to push back the darkness of the world. And that will bring us more joy in our journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and since 2018 I've been producing a weekly Internet radio show and podcast to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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