My defining moment. No, really.

Just the other day, my blog got featured as the best of “hot off the press” on the homepage of WordPress.com.  I have no idea how it happened, but it created an insane influx of traffic to Diapers and Divinity.  By 8:00 a.m., I had well over 500 hits, and finished out the day at unprecedented numbers.  I felt temporarily famous, and it was pretty cool.  Most of the feedback was positive, but at 11:00 a.m., I received this comment in my Inbox.  I’m assuming the writer had perused the blog and my profile and such.  (I edited out one phrase for the sake of decency.)

So you ended up being just a mother.

Just another mother, like a chimp, a cow, an elephant, a whale, just another mother, like an insect, or an octopus, or a worm.  Just another mother.

Your kids will not thank you, your husband will not like you, your own mother will pity you for making her own same mistake.

Just another mother.

For a moment of frenzy, of uterine voracity, irrational and irreversible, you destroyed your body, your beauty, and your own intellect.

Parental-brain-atrophy-syndrome, where your brain biologically adjusts to the need of your infants, descending at their own subhuman level, with just one dimension, food, or perhaps two dimensions, food and feces.

You left your ambitions, your achievements, your potentials outside your life and outside the lives of those who really loved, only to become a receptacle of an unknown body of an unknown person that never will be yours, and to whom you will never belong.  Strangers united in a pool of blood and dirt.

And dirt has become your life, and your life has become dirt.  Urine, remains of food, excrements, diapers, vacuum cleaners, old soap, crusts, a life of dandruff and diseases, vaccine and lice, high school and drool.

You lost your dignity . . . garbage-in-garbage-out, a boomerang of boredom.

Do you remember who you were?

Do you realize your loss?

Nobody chooses prison voluntarily, except for mothers, except for you.

You chose the life of a slave in a cavern of dirt.

People around you, who know that you are just another mother, do have compassion for you, but no respect.  They know all about your emptiness, your pain, your despair, all dressed in the robes of a Virgin Mary.

And a Virgin Mary you are not, because Mary was not a Virgin, and you are not a Mary.

You were manipulated into just another life wasted on the heap of trash of a lost humanity dedicated to popular procreation and proletarian proliferation, to please the leaders of a domain of plebeians.

The world lost you, and you lost the world.

Good bye, sad mothers, good bye, old cows, with dried-out utters and distorted hips, good bye, and so alone you all will die.

Um, wow.  I know that my friends and regular readers might want to pull out your claws and start fighting, but let me tell you something.  Never in my life have I felt more proud to be a mother than when I read this comment.  I smiled and felt a complete inner confidence all the way through.  Initially, I was a little bit shocked, but it quickly faded into an amused pleasure as I realized that I am so sure of what I am doing that these words didn’t even wound me in the least.

So I typed up a brief reply and pushed send:

Dear ed,

As a simple response to your long comment:

Yes, the answer to almost all of your questions is yes.  And I have no regrets.  The only two points I wish to dispute are 1) the word “mistake,” since I entered motherhood admittedly a little fearfully, but absolutely intentionally, and 2) the claim that I will die alone, since I believe that my choice to honor the doctrine of family by building loving and nurturing relationships is my greatest guarantee against such an end.

I wish you all the best and hope you may be able to find your own kind of joy, even if you don’t understand mine.

Sincerely,

Stephanie

Rather than rip this sad person to shreds, why not share with me your own testimony of motherhood?  Let’s celebrate what we know and feel, despite and perhaps especially because of the way some people feel about our role.  Seriously, I feel absolutely empowered.  I know exactly who I am.  I am a mother.  And it feels WAY better than being famous for a day.

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45 thoughts on “My defining moment. No, really.

  1. Wow. I feel sorry for that person. I like to tell people I’m a mother to invest in the future of the world. There are so many people out there trying to improve the world and there is no surer way of improving the world than in raising as many children as we can and educating them, about the world and how to care for it, about our country and what our freedoms mean, about God and his laws and his love.

  2. Awesome. I have to say that comment is extremely eloquent. I love that you can turn almost ALL of it on its side and you have ME! Exactly as I want and love to be.

  3. Oh, I read that and felt so sad; until I read the line “do you remember who you were?”
    Yes! And I’ll tell you:
    I was moving into my late twenties, and still single. I was really happy with my life and who I was, but couldn’t quiet the longing to be a wife and a mother, but no longer impatient about the timing. I knew it would happen when the time was right.
    I was a sad girl in my early 20s, who felt lonely when all her friends were getting married and having their first babies. They were starting families of their own. Sure, I had a career that I enjoyed, and a graduate degree to boot. But I knew that’s wasn’t to be my life’s most important work.
    I was a little girl who dreamed of being a mother and having children of her own to love a nurture. I practiced by swaddling my cat in a blanket and pushing him around in my stroller.
    Before any of that, I was in heaven, learning and waiting for my turn on earth. Waiting to come here to learn more, to be tested (boy!do my kids test me?!). Waiting to be a mother. Waiting to join with God in creating another human, bringing more of His children to earth, and adopting some that were brought to Earth by other mothers, birth mother angels. Waiting to fulfill a woman’s great purpose: to hopefully influence future generations by teaching my children to love God, follow Jesus Christ, and by doing so, being upstanding friends, neighbors and citizens.
    Yes, I remember who I was. And when I do, it makes me a better woman and mother every day.

  4. Wow. I have to add that I too wouldn’t trade motherhood for one second. What better way to contribute to the world than raise the next generation? I get far more fulfillment from watching my children grow than I EVER did from any job, any class honors, any comment about a pretty face.

    What did I give up? Not a thing. But I have gained so much more. And my intellect has not been wasted. It is everyday tested by and passed on to my children. The life that I lead as a mother matters so much more to me than the life that I led as just another wage slave in the world.

    And most importantly I know that me being a mother is pleasing to my Heavenly Father. That’s more important to me than any honors the world could offer.

  5. I maintain that everyone, not just mothers, has to deal with dirt. I’m pretty sure that people without children have to clean up after themselves too.

    Anyway. My life is so much richer and more real with my children. It’s true that I will never go on awesome vacations to remote parts of the earth, but that’s ok because a smile and a knowing look from my teenage son about a family inside joke is as precious to me as a trip around the world.

    One of my very favorite things to do in this world is to laugh, and my children have provided me with more hours of laughter than anything else in this world. There may have been tears mixed in with the laughter, and sometimes it took a good deal of time before I could laugh about particular incidents, but it’s all worth it.

  6. I find that so short sighted and sad. It’s hard to even comment on it. It doesn’t make me defensive it just makes my heart hurt as I feel being a mom is a huge part of my calling. God created me for this and them for me. What great life is there? Fame and riches, a spotless home yet with no legacy to pass it on? I’d rather me a tad unkempt and my house cluttered with dirty grimey kisses all over me than in the opposite state of loneliness.

  7. Reading that comment really brought home some deep, familiar feelings of what we are up against here. I am so grateful for the Savior, that it is him we follow, and he fights this battle for us, and has allready won.
    That comment move me to tears – of gratitude for Jeus Christ. It made me grateful that I can seek refuge amongst the robes of his doctorine,just as a child would, and let him respond to such evil. He is my friend, and repects me and my role as a Mother.

  8. Well said. As I was reading his comment, I just kept feeling so bad for him and so bad for his wife and/or mother. Such a sad life to be so angry and hateful about the most wonderful, rewarding calling in the world. A calling we choose to accept and develop. He will die alone, we mothers and fathers won’t.

  9. I fought for five years to become a mother and I KNOW that what I’m doing is right. From the outside, I can almost understand why motherhood would look so awful. It’s exhausting, it’s often thankless and I had to sacrifice a whole lot of things that may have brought me a lot of praise and honor from my peers. But entering into it, making those sacrifices, has given me a deeper understanding of who I am and what my role in this vast universe is than I ever could have gained in any other way.

    You can only understand the miracle of motherhood by having the courage to enter into it, and then having the courage to embrace it. Sadly, it sounds like Ed will never understand what he’s missing. He’s chosen not to. I feel sad for his mother too.

    I know exactly who I am. There is no opportunity shiny enough to tempt me away from the life that I have chosen. I love who I am. I love the life that I have.

  10. Nothing has given me more fulfillment than my child and my husband. I know that not everybody feels the same way, but man is this a frightening adventure! 🙂 I love it! It’s way more ambitious than getting a PhD or attaining my life-long dream of becoming a lobbyist (so as to corrupt things MY way). My two boys are a part of my soul that I could never fathom regretting.

    If this is prison, I don’t want to be paroled.

    And if I must die alone because I chose to be a mother and wife, then so be it. Though I hope that I will have been a good enough mother that my child(ren) will not be thankless and cruel. That i will have taught them better.

  11. Aww….he’s just jealous he doesn’t have the power to give life to another like we mothers do. 😀

    It’s interesting, isn’t it, that Eve was called the mother of all living before she even bore a child. So really, he’s degrading all women with his comments.

    I am so grateful to be a woman, a wife, a mother. I consciously made the choice to become a mother. I saw the joy and fulfillment my own mother and grandmothers received from bearing and raising children. Is it easy? Hell, no! (Um I hope that’s not an inappropriate word here. :D) But the struggles and heartache make the successes all that much sweeter.

    I love wet, sloppy goodnight kisses. I enjoy hearing the sounds of joyous laughter coming from my children. I soften at their hugs, pain as I wipe away their tears of hurt, rejoice in their triumphs.

  12. I completely agree- when I read that comment I do feel sad for the writer because they obviously have had bad experiences to feel that way about motherhood and the purpose of life in general. It makes me wonder what kind of pain they have gone through.

    And at the same time, it puts my minimal struggles in perspective because I DO know who I am, and that this life is what I chose, not just what I fell into. My legacy in an office would die once my “employee of the month” plaque is taken down, but my legacy as a mother will live on in my children who are already growing to be excellent, productive, happy human beings. And though I still haven’t gone on my European cruise, paid off my mortgage, or bought my convertible, I wouldn’t trade what I do have for the world and everything else can wait. I’d rather be here.

  13. Great response to that awful comment.

    I ditto all of the above comments! I can’t even imagine NOT being a mother. Every part of my being –my body, my brain, my SOUL –screams out in joy when I look at my children. Even when they color on the wall. Even when they wet their beds. Even when they throw-up into my hands.

    Being a mother is the greatest privilege that has ever been given to me. To create life with God and my husband and then to raise them with faith and love feels like I’ve won the lottery over and over and over again.

    For sure, the sorrows are many. Absolutely, my body has been worn out. But it has all been worth it. Time and time and time again, it is worth it. I would never trade places with my old self –nor with anyone else.

    [I feel sorry for the commenter who wrote those awful things because even he had a mother. And whether or not she was a good one, she still gave him life. That’s a big deal!]

  14. Wow!! I too am saddened by that comment. How sad I feel for Ed and his mother. I have been blessed to raise four children to adulthood. I regret many things I did or didn’t for and with them. BUT! I never regret giving up a career or the honors of men to stay at home and be with these amazing individuals. My life is so richly blessed because I am a mother. My husband was told once when I got pregnant the first time that this would ruin the piece of art that my body was. He was shocked and so was I at such a comment. There is nothing in this world that can compare with carrying a child under your heart for 9 months and no body worth saving to pass it up. When my children tell me I am beautiful when I am wearing no makeup and my hair is a mess is a far better and more meaningful compliment than the work of art comment could ever be! Motherhood whether you are a biological mother, an adoptive one or just a friend to children is the greatest and most honorable job and role in the World!! My dear mother passed away 5 years ago next month and she did not die alone. Her 4 children, husband and extended family surrounded her and she was welcomed home by a loving father and mother of her own. I miss her and call her blessed! Thank you goodness for Mother’s.

  15. That comment was so incredibly sad. It likely was from someone who lacks strong personal family relationships.

    You handled the comment beautifully! And congrats on being the “hot off the press” blog. Hopefully many new readers discovered your brilliance :-).

  16. Reading that comment made me feel just as you described yourself while reading it. Sure being a mom is full of ups and downs, but so is everything else in life…and nothing else is as rewarding. Before I had my first child, I don’t think I really knew who I was or what my purpose was. But then, when I saw that sweet baby’s face, I knew, KNEW, that I had finally become the woman I was supposed to be. Having children has allowed me to see life anew through their eyes. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything, not even the praise of man.

  17. Your response made me cry, Stephanie. I am so grateful to be a mother. It was my dream since childhood and I rejoiced the day I resigned from teaching knowing I could continue teaching but do so at home, while fulfilling my dream of being a mother. I’m so delighted to have two little boys and I’m so grateful for the knowledge we have of the importance of motherhood.

  18. Wow! What a person to write that! Honestly they have NO IDEA what it TRULY is like. Sure, you can look at all the bad, but you can do that in ANY situation. Even things like owning a car! The car will never give you anything. You spend thousands of dollars on upkeep. And yet, eventually it ends up in a scrap pile of metal, dead and worthless. But the memories you made in that car are amazing. SAME STORY about motherhood! What an empowering email you got!

  19. Wow- you are right, the person must be a sad person not to see the ‘utterly’ complete joy there is to raising children. That was a joy I would never give up. Yes it is hard, yes, we lose our shape, but life is not about how we look.. Goodness, God gave us the desire for each other so that we may have our children. HE sent us children.
    And do I know who ‘I’ am? I am woman, hear me roar. We are invinceable. We are stronger for what we do in bringing these precious spirits into the world to nourish and strenthen. To teach them the right so that they may return back ‘home’ to their Father in Heaven.
    I am glad I had the opportunity in life to have raised two precious children. And I thank God for that.

  20. That almost sounded like a form letter. So I’m glad you didnt take it seriously.

    I sort of like to think of motherhood like this. I see a lot of bad things in the world but I see a lot of good. I’d like to raise my children to be among the good. To be people in this world that make a positive difference. To be people who encourage in others their desire to do good and be kind and uplift those around them. I want to raise children who are going to know right from wrong.

  21. I agree with others, it sounds like it was already written..like some sort of poetry. No doubt they have probably sent it to various unsuspecting bloggers. So glad that it didn’t get you down. Proud of you!

    Regarding motherhood…I just try and do a little better than I did the day before. I give my kids hugs and kisses. I try and teach them to be responsible. I try and make our home a haven. We might not get it perfect all the time, but it is in the striving that the growth comes.

  22. Congratulations on getting so many visits!

    I have really been struggling a lot recently with the whole divinity in motherhood thing. But I would have to say that even at my lowest of lows I still know that I will NOT die alone and that my husband respects me all the more for being the mother of his child.

  23. You’re a better woman than me. I would have cried if I got that comment. Although, as I read it, I thought that I know I wont be alone when it’s done. And motherhood is noble.

    Good for you, Steph. I love your testimony of motherhood.

  24. That comment literally took my breath away. I know people feel like that, especially as they learn about what motherhood (and fatherhood!!) entails.

    However.

    They also do not understand the JOY and FULFILLMENT that comes from motherhood.

    Yes, it is often overtly thankless.
    Yes, it means GIVING rather than TAKING.
    Yes, it is hard.

    But.

    How can you describe the first smile your newborn sends your way? Or when your toddler puts her arms around you and says “I love you!” Or when your toddler runs to you screaming “MA MA!”

    How do you explain the indescribable feelings of joy as you see your newborn for the first time? Or hear your daughter saying “Please” at another person’s house? Or when your baby giggles and smiles at your silly faces?

    Bland. Yeah right. I have never felt so blessed since I have become a mother.

  25. As I have had to be separated from my kids for medical reasons for a week I would have to say that I feel like my life LACKS so much without my kids. Being a mother brings purpose and happiness that was never there before. It brings a JOY unmatched by career and it brings a closeness and bonding in marriage that would be hard to be duplicated through any other means.

    I truly feel sorry for that person’s relationship with his mother. Whether it was his fault or his mother’s. The least we owe to the woman who gave us life is honor and most definitely not a disdain for the crowning aspect of womanhood.

  26. I am the mother of six wonderful, grown children, 3 boys and 3 girls. After losing one of my children, a daughter AND her husband, to a terrible tragedy in Utah in 2006 (drowned and died from hypothermia in Strawberry Reservoir, Nov. 2006), I want everyone to know that I consider motherhood as a partnership with God and am so happy to know that my Heavenly Father lives and loves us and knows us and that we have an eternal life to look forward to, to see our loved ones again and be able to continue our life in the hereafter. I thank God everyday for the gift of Motherhood that He has given to me and for the wonderful children that He blessed me with!

  27. As women we have a unique responsibility and honor to bear children. This does not make it easy. This does not make it appreciated.

    Margaret Thatcher once said (paraphrased) that as a woman we will have different phases in our lives. It does not mean that at any particular phase we will not be keenly aware of things we may be missing or not involved in currently.

    If we are wise and good stewards of each phase of our life, we will be able to live full and happy lives with much variety. We should not lament the things we have lost in our current endeavor to raise children (the ;mommy phase’), rather, rejoice in the learning opportunities it gives us.

    To this man’s idea that you are merely ANOTHER mom of many millions of mom’s, I would assert that point of view is what has brought the degredation of morals and honor to our society. Yes, biologically, all women are endowed with this potential, but to actually become a GREAT mother is something entirely different than becoming a mother. If society would place value on good mothering, the crime rate would fall and a return to decency would be the result.

  28. I used to get a little angry about people who felt a need to put down mothers, especially stay at home ones, but now I react like you did. I’m just terribly sad that they don’t understand the joy it gives me.

  29. Wow. Amazing to me that someone would think this way.

    Good for you. Good for all of us who have made this choice. How sad for him that he obviously didn’t have a mother who taught him how important it all really is.

  30. Pardon me while I pick my jaw up off the floor. Holy cow, Steph… that really was quite a comment.

    The thing is, we aren’t just mothers. We are so much more than that. But I guarantee at the end of the day, even mothers that are doing amazing things outside of their homes will tell you the most rewarding things are those that happen within.

    Motherhood rocks. The end.

  31. Right now, in this beautiful, heart warming moment, I just adore you Stephanie. Truly. What a kind heart you have. What tolerance for someone who sees the work from such a radically different perspective.

    I can’t help but think that there is no worthwhile aspect of this life on earth that does not have hard work and struggle as its counterpoint. Every joy requires effort, and the effort required of motherhood therefore yields such an abundance of joy. For those looking from the outside they might only see the struggle, the dirt, the tired and weary days. They see the outside of motherhood’s fruit – the dry harsh rind in which the sweetest and most delectable of rewards resides.

  32. I agree with everyone else, good job handling this one. I guess that person must not have kids. Nothing brings me more joy than my baby. Is my stomach covered in stretch marks? Yes. Am I ever going to have that big career? Probably not. But those are sacrifices I chose and would again if I had the chance.

  33. When I first read this I thought “This is going to get real upbeat any second…any second…?” Then I thought “Umm, Old boyfriend?”. I love your reaction! I wish this person understood the sacrifice, the beautiful sacrifice , motherhood is. I wish many more people understood that. Heck! Sometimes I wish I understood it more. That dying alone statement at the end couldn’t be farther from the truth. Being a {dedicated and loving} mother almost absolutely ensures you will be anything BUT alone in the end. Thank you for sharing this!

  34. oh wow … what a sad letter. 😦

    I love being a mother, almost all of the time. My own mother is a fabulous mother, and I have thanked her for putting up with my teenage/YA years. And no, I don’t think she’ll die alone. We’ll all want to be with her.

    I just hope my own children love me as much as I love her.

  35. My first thought was, “I wonder if his mom feels the same way?”

    My next thought was, “I am so proud of your response.”

    Right this moment, as I have a little one doing a little dance inside of me, I feel the importance of motherhood. I am a vessel, and I am proud of my decision to become a mother and I am proud of my children.

  36. Leave it to you to make me feel Christ-like towards someone who has attempted to belittle a role that I hold so dear to my heart. I feel so sad for this person and even sadder for their mother. What an awful feeling to be looked down upon by the person you gave life to.

    I didn’t “lose” anything when I became a mother except selfishness. I became a more giving, loving person who is compassionate because everyone is someone’s baby. We are all children of a Heavenly Father who loves us no matter what choices we make in this life. Carrying and bearing my children were the most empowering, gratifying experiences I have ever had and no amount of slander can change that.

    We are not just mothers, we are the creators of the next generation of righteous souls who will defend and create Zion.

  37. I just can’t believe there are such awful people who would say things like that to other people. It makes my heart ache for whoever he is. You are right though reading that made me feel empowered because motherhood has been a conscious choice for me and I am at peace with it!

  38. I simply HAD to answer you as soon as I Googled the words. Apparently, this Ed is making rounds. He seems to enjoy posting his one post on the Internet, perhaps for folks who make the “Freshly Pressed” list. If you check out my blog from 6/30/10 (I think that’s the date, the experience you wrote of is almost verbatim to my experience!) So my sweet sister in motherhood – I will share with you what I’m sure you’ve heard before. Keep writing YOUR stuff. This is the place for you to write your words, not repost anyone else’s banter.

    xoxoRASJ
    Lessons From Teachers and Twits
    http:rasjacobson.wordpress.com

  39. I received that comment on my blog after getting Freshly Pressed as well. I didn’t get upset, either, b/c it seemed so clearly somebody’s desire to make waves, but I’m glad to know I’m not the only one!

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