I No Longer Cringe Under Criticism



When the words “the joy of mothering ” popped into my head as a title for my short stories it was like an epiphany for me because those few words verbalized my experience living with little people. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. Indeed, it has been a long journey from confusion, guilt and public condemnation to reach the liberating point that I am today. 

I can now shout loudly,”This is my call, this is my vocation, this is my witness to the world.” 

 After the birth of our fourth child, Michael and I struggled to understand exactly how to live our lives. We were discussing an article by an author whose main premise was that ‘letting go of control and trusting in God ‘ was not some abstract principle but a day-to-day practical  call that included  the surrender of our fertility. Of course we practised natural family planning but I was one of those rare individuals who could conceive long before ovulation.

 As my doctor said once, “Ah, I remember reading about a woman in New Zealand, two years ago, who conceived five days before ovulation.” 

I  raised my hand and chirped, “Well, you can add me to that list!”

Although we could not imagine how large our family would become, the words of that article resonated within both my husband and I. It took time to accept the fact none of our children were a  failure of  the natural family planning  method. We’d stumbled blindly at times and then a burst of clarity would shine light on our purpose. 

For example, twenty-five years ago, I once again slipped into panic, worrying if I was pregnant with my fifth child. Suddenly a wave of peace enveloped me and my whole body relaxed 

I heard these words within me,

“This is your call. This is your vocation. This is your witness to the world.”

All sorts of objections rushed into my head,

“People don’t understand. They just think we are irresponsible or idiots.”

Then  unexpected joy bubbled within me and I sensed these words in my spirit, “I am with you.”.

That was it for me; I understood and I said “yes”. 

Mothering children saved me by compelling me to dive deeper into my spirit for strength. They forced me to let go of non-essentialn and revealed what was truly important in life.


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