Can we just applaud pregnancy for a minute?
I’m 30 weeks pregnant with my third baby. Inspired by my globe-sized bump, my thoughts have been orbiting around motherhood. And ducks.
Let’s talk about Eider ducks. Pure Eider down is quite valuable, it’s considered a superior grade feather down. The Eider duck has an interesting pattern of nesting behaviors. I had assumed that all birds gathered bits of twine and other found objects to insulate their nests. I’ve seen plenty of nests lined with garbage.
Not the Eider duck, apparently. A mother Eider plucks the soft, valuable down from her breast to feather her nest. She gives her best for her babies. She gives the very softest feathers from close to her heart. She literally gives all that she has, and when her down is exhausted, the father Eider duck will contribute his own.
I heard this tidbit years ago and I’ve often thought of this imagery. It seems like it would really hurt the duck, to individually wrestle the feathers from her skin until they are all gone. Parenthood is like that, though.
Let’s just take a minute and think about all that is required of a mother just to bring a child into the world. It literally costs a pound of flesh. In many ways, mothers have a horrible, exacting price to pay. (I’m talking morning sickness, varicose veins, stretch marks…I should stop there because this list gets unseemly at an alarming rate…) And then there’s the actual labor and delivery of a child. I was SHOCKED when I had my first child. Absolutely overwhelmed by all that motherhood required of me physically. It suddenly seemed astounding that there were so many people in the world, knowing the price that a mother pays to bring just one person into it.
Mothers are tough. There is nothing easy about it. So, regardless of what mothering takes place AFTER the baby is born, can we just applaud pregnancy for a minute? I want to shout out to all mothers everywhere. Look what you sacrificed! You did an amazing thing. A divine act, truly.
It is a great and terrible process to join hands with our Divine Creator in the process of carrying a baby. But, there is something so right and so beautiful even in the horrors of it. Like the Eider duck wrenching feathers from her heart, it is natural for a mother to giver her all, her very best for the benefit of a child. In those moments, I know many mothers feel the gravity of their gift, I hope all mothers do.
Regardless of whatever else a mother can give her child, the gift of life is a sacrifice worth honoring.
“No love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child.
To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle—and all will—I say, Be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. You are doing better than you think you are.”
-Jeffery R Holland (Read the whole address I’ve quoted from. It’s a feast for the soul.)
Photos curtesy of Christy Calton of Sugar Plum Shots.