Motherhood is not confined to the home, includes the barren and unmarried
Inspired & Blessed

Motherhood is not confined to the home, includes the barren and unmarried

May 13, 2024, 3:29 AM
Bob Acebedo

Bob Acebedo


Yesterday, second Sunday of May, was Mother’s Day once again and, obviously, the feted celebration behooves not only honoring the mothers but likewise the virtues of “motherhood”.

Curiously, it’s worth positing the query: Does motherhood encompass only those who have children and those who are married?

It is interesting to note, ironically so, that even the founder of Mother’s Day in the United States, Anna Jarvis, remained unmarried and childless her whole life. Jarvis organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration in Grafton, West Virginia in 1908. 

Pray thee, hence, what does motherhood really entail? Let me proffer some points.

One, motherhood is a celebration of womanhood, and fecundity is a genuine source of blessing for woman – it is a reflection and participation in the divine creative act.

In her Master’s thesis published in 2018 (University of Notre Dame Australia), titled “The Christian Concept of the Nature of Motherhood and Its Implications in a Contemporary Context,” Christine Lillian Fisk beautifully notes: “Motherhood is not something which reckons woman as inferior to man but is a profound blessing for woman by virtue of it being a means by which she both images her Creator as well as participates in God’s own creative nature. Motherhood is specifically connected to the personal dimension of the human vocation of self-gift and also of self-discovery.”

Two, every woman is called to be a mother. Again, Fisk points out: “Woman cannot choose to not be mother, as someone cannot choose to do away with their nature. As much as a pine tree may desire to be a water lily, no amount of wishful thinking or attempts to alter appearance would enable it to change that which it is. It is woman’s nature to be mother, so anything that obstructs or deprives this vocation must indeed be a result of the veil of sin.”

Three, motherhood is not confined to the home, goes beyond barrenness, and includes even the unmarried (nuns and with religious vows).

Just as woman does not leave her femininity when she walks out the door of her house, so too she is a mother not just in the house, but wherever she goes.

On a similar vein, the barren woman, before being barren, is a woman – she is not defined by her barrenness. A woman bears an inherent goodness – a goodness that is not diminished by the existence of physical ailments, barrenness included. Indeed, even for a barren wife, she can still exercise her motherhood over an adopted child, her home – or, if not, spiritually.

Lastly, even for nuns and those with religious vows, spiritual motherhood is yet accorded to them.

St. John Paul II once wrote: “Nevertheless, the renunciation of physical motherhood (i.e. for nuns and religious), a renunciation that can involve great sacrifice for a woman, makes possible a different kind of motherhood: motherhood ‘according to the Spirit’.”

A MEANINGFUL celebration of Mother’s Day to my dear wife, Malou, and to all mothers…God bless you even more!

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