Motherhood confusion

motherhood confusionIs motherhood a good thing or a bad thing? For too many women, it’s a bad thing if the child is unwanted, which explains the tragic incidence of abortion. And yet motherhood sets women apart. This motherhood confusion is widespread.

Let’s contrast two different perspectives.

A writer for The Atlantic, Honor Jones, penned an essay with the provocative title, “How I Demolished My Life.” But the subhead, “A home-improvement story,” suggests that the ‘demolition’ was a good thing.

Ms. Jones grew weary of her marriage, and despite the presence of several young children, decided to divorce her husband. She explained:

“I didn’t have a secret life. But I had a secret dream life—which might have been worse. I loved my husband; it’s not that I didn’t. But I felt that he was standing between me and the world, between me and myself. Everything I experienced—relationships, reality, my understanding of my own identity and desires—were filtered through him before I could access them. The worst part was that it wasn’t remotely his fault; this is probably exactly what I asked him to do when we were 21 and first in love, even if I never said it out loud. To shelter me from the elements; to be caring and broad-shouldered. But now it was like I was always on my tiptoes, trying to see around him. I couldn’t see, but I could imagine. I started imagining other lives. Other homes.”

By all accounts, her husband was a good man. He didn’t philander, drink, or abuse her, which are common issues in many divorces. She claimed to love him but viewed him as an impediment to her own self-actualization.

It’s unclear how Ms. Jones defines ‘love.’ If the definition of love is the Thomas Aquinas definition: “to will the good of the other,” Ms. Jones falls short. Love is sacrificial. It’s not about ‘me,’ it’s about ‘you:’ Children. Husband. Family. Home.

Dr. Carrie Gress presents a different perspective:

“Our goal is to get home to heaven. Homes can evangelize … Catholic living, with all its imperfections and struggles, its mercy and its joy, not to mention aesthetic and hospitable beauty and nourishing food, can be an intoxicating inducement to the reality that life is fuller, more secure, more exciting, and more fulfilling when lived in the context of the divine.”

“We find our home in God”

Dr. Gress is co-author of “Theology of the Home” with Noelle Mering. Holy Families help us keep on the right path in our journey through life to our heavenly home. In fact, Gress and Mering tell us that family time actually gives us a foretaste of heaven:

“We are incarnation. We want to unite the tangible to the intangible. We want this life we’re living to be beautiful in a deeper way. There’s a reason people write songs and make movies about going home. It’s a universal longing, which also means it’s a universal access point. It’s a force for evangelization. When I first realized I was going to marry my husband, I started to feel he was my home. The language of the home is universal. A deeper meaning of home is about longing and relationship. We find our home in God, which is a foretaste of what heaven will be like.”

What a contrast. Dr. Gress quickly embraced her husband as her home, while Ms. Jones eventually viewed hers as a barrier to something else, which she couldn’t even fully explain:

“I wanted to be thinking about art and sex and politics and the patriarchy. How much of my life—I mean the architecture of my life, but also its essence, my soul, my mind—had I built around my husband? Who could I be if I wasn’t his wife? Maybe I would microdose. Maybe I would have sex with women. Maybe I would write a book.”

Sadly, her children’s needs were outweighed by her own need to ‘will the good of herself’ for the sake of herself.

The Blessed Mother never experienced motherhood confusion. When presented with a ‘choice’ by the angel Gabriel, she said yes and never looked back. Mary, Mother of God, created and maintained a Holy Family.

Pulse Life Advocates promotes the holy family as the ‘soul’ solution for a wounded nation. Our 4-part webinar continues this Sunday night at 7PM with episode two: Fruitful Mothers.

You can view it for free and catch last week’s episode by simply registering.

As Dr. Gress so beautifully explains, we find our home in God. And God is at the heart of a holy family.

[Register for episode two of our free Holy Family webinar now. Air date: Sunday, March 13th, 7PM.]