The Illogical Love of a Mother

mom and babyBy Sharon Hodde Miller

It was late August and over a week past my due date when I went into labor with my first child. I am healthy and young and had no prenatal complications, so my pregnancy was classified as low risk. I therefore arrived at the hospital with the standard amount of nervousness about my first delivery, but I anticipated nothing out of the ordinary.

However an ordinary labor was not to be! About 24 hours after my contractions began, I developed preeclampsia and I developed it FAST. Out of nowhere, my blood pressure skyrocketed, my body began to swell, and my head began to throb. The doctors started using words like “seizure” and “stroke.” Suddenly, things had taken a turn for the serious.

The only cure for preeclampsia is delivering the baby, so the labor had to be augmented in order to hurry things along. In the mean time, my doctor gave me a strong dose of magnesium to manage the symptoms. That lovely treatment, which the nurses ominously referred to as “the mag,” made me feel even worse than the preeclampsia!

Needless to say, the labor did not go as I had planned. It was scary and I was very sick, but approximately 30 hours after my contractions first began, my son entered the world. On August 28, 2012 he was born weighing a scrawny 5 pounds and 12 ounces (clearly he needed those extra 11 days in my belly!). He was small, but he was healthy as a horse.

Unfortunately my medical adventures did not end there. Recovery from preeclampsia involves prolonged doses of magnesium, which left me feeling incredibly sick on top of the traditional post-natal recovery. It was the absolute pits, but at that point I didn’t really care. My son was worth the sacrifice.

Any woman who has given birth knows that our bodies must endure an incredible amount in order to create life.  Between the physical changes of pregnancy, the hardship of labor, and the soreness of recovery, I sometimes felt (and looked) like I had been run over by a truck. My body bore the marks of pregnancy and childbirth, and I am quite certain it will never be the same again.

On top of the physical pain, there is the sleep deprivation. For the last two months my life has revolved around feeding my son, who was eating every 1.5 to 2 hours until recently. Put another way, I haven’t slept more than 4 hours since the summer. As it turns out, babies are kind of high maintenance!

Yet despite all the physical pain and discomfort of this last year, despite the bodily changes and the fatigue, I would do it all over again. In fact, I really hope to. When I look down at that tiny face while he nurses in the wee hours of the night, my heart is so full of love. He is my precious angel from God.

An Illogical Love

The amazing thing about my love for my son is how purely illogical it is. My love was instant and unconditional even though I had no history on which to base it. I loved my son before I really knew him. I loved my son before he could ever do anything to earn my love. In fact, I loved my son in spite of the many ways he inconveniences me. I love him in spite of the physical pain I endured on his account. I love him in spite of the sacrifices he requires me to make every day. I love him even though he is unable to reciprocate my love.

My son has done nothing to deserve my love. He is loved simply because he is my son. And each night as I cradle him in my arms and wonder at how much I love him, I can’t help but think about God’s same love for us.

Motherly love is, in a sense, illogical. But it is that character of motherly love that mirrors the love of God. More precisely, the preemptive love of a parent, the initiating love of a mother, is much like the initiating love of God. Verses like 1 John 4:10 remind us that before we ever loved God, He first loved us. Like a helpless child, we did nothing to earn God’s love, and yet He loved us anyway. Like an immature infant that requires sacrifice and even physical suffering, we have required the same of God.

Yet He loves us still.

It can be difficult to conceive of a love like that. I often struggle to understand how God could love me in spite of my sin.  There is a part of me that will always try to earn His acceptance. But when I look at my son and drink in the waves of love that I feel for him, I know I am experiencing a taste of God’s initiating love for me. My son can do nothing to remove my love for him because it was never based on him in the first place. It is the same with God.

 

sharon hodde millerMore about Sharon

Sharon Hodde Miller is a writer and a student, currently pursuing her Ph.D at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. She is a regular contributor to Her.meneutics, Ungrind.org and CultivateHer.com, and she has also written for Gifted for Leadership and LifeWay’s Collegiate magazine. Sharon is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild, and you can read more of Sharon’s writing at her own blog, SheWorships.com. Sharon lives in the Chicago area with her husband and their son.

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