Prior to my conversion to Catholicism, motherhood was something I both loved and hated.
To the pre-Christian Christine, motherhood was a choice best made when all the right conditions aligned: financial security, worldly success, a stable home, and other various achievements that could be pulled out and examined wistfully when the enslavement of motherhood threatened to overwhelm. Look! This is what I can do without children! You’ve still got it, and one day you’ll get to prove it again!
I struggled mightily with the self-giving and sacrifice that motherhood requires. Often, in the earliest moments of my role as mother, I counted down the years until I got my freedom back—first, when toddlers were out of diapers; then the long school days; and finally their own adulthood, when I could get back to the more important things in life, like quiet mornings with coffee that never went cold and with books that actually got read. I could devote myself to my work and get promotions. I could travel. I could enjoy a return to the radical independence I once had.
But as pre-Christian Christine, I also experienced, for the first time in my life, a love that transcended any I had previously known—for those same children I struggled to tend alongside my selfish desires. I feared my mortality, worried that these years would pass too quickly, longed to give everything to these small creatures whom I had miraculously grown within and now held close in my arms.
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