The Sacrifice of a Mother—by Emily Hannon

Sacrifice. We know this word well. We, who have been given the title “mother,” live it every single day.

Your own experience has likely already taught you that sacrifice is the stuff of motherhood. The months of sickness as your baby grew in your womb and your body expanded to accommodate his little body; the moment you pushed with all your superhuman strength to bring him up onto your chest as he took his first miraculous breath, or the moment you lay heroically on an operating table, watching the doctor pull your baby out into the world; the sleepless nights spent feeding him and rocking him in your arms; the first day you went back to work and kissed his little face goodbye in the morning; the hours spent pumping behind a bathroom stall or closed doors in your office; the precious nap time hours spent cleaning up after him or researching birthday party ideas; the decisions you make every single day to allow him to grow and flourish and know that he is so loved. All of it requires sheer sacrifice, and it is both beautiful and hard. All of it calls you to say over and over again, “I surrender, I surrender, I surrender.” 

We give of ourselves physically, emotionally, and mentally for the service of our children day in and day out. Their wants and needs almost always come before our own, and for the first few years of their life, they literally depend on us to live. It is the highest honor, this opportunity to shape these little people we’ve been given, and it can also be the greatest, most taxing challenge, too.

Through the demands of motherhood, we pour ourselves into the service of our family—and perhaps the challenge in this is maintaining our identity in the process. The challenge becomes finding ourselves even more fully as we sacrifice so much for someone else. But not only is this possible, it is perhaps one of the greatest surprises of motherhood. Motherhood refines us as it highlights all of our failures and beckons us to do better, to be better. And by being our best selves for our children, we become our best selves for the world. 

Maybe since becoming a mother, you’ve realized certain things make you come alive just a little more. Maybe you’ve realized you have a love for repurposing thrifted furniture so you go down to your garage during nap time and paint your heart out. Maybe you started writing again and have found a voice you never thought you had. Maybe you’ve started up an initiative or project that is helping change the world. Maybe you’ve become more attuned to the simple beauty in each day because you’re seeing through the eyes of your children. Whatever it may be, you have been changed by motherhood and the sacrifice it requires.

Certain aspects of who you are have been awakened and as you continue to mother your children, you continue to foster that growth and become more of who you truly are. Motherhood has a way of bringing to life so many different dimensions of who we are if we allow it to change us and stretch us, rather than rule or drain us.

So, keep doing the things that make you a happy, flourishing woman and you will be a happy, flourishing mother. Explore what makes your heart beat a little faster and go do that. Keep doing the good, important work of raising these little humans who will one day be women and men, and who will one day look back and say, “I had a mother who gave to me endlessly, and through all of it she was happy and whole.”

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