This blog's mission is simple--to encourage moms who are married to non-Catholics and raising their children in the Faith. If you know a mom who needs a little encouragement in continuing her efforts, I would be delighted if you would share Kathleen's Catholic with her. Thank you!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Finding Her Joy After a Life of Career--Motherhood

I'm delighted to introduce to you a guest blogger, Stephanie Principe. Stephanie is devoted to the pro-life movement. She shares with us how she found her joy in becoming a mom later in life after a long career, and how she discovered the grace that Our Lord has granted her in her new role. Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing!

by Stephanie Principe

For as long as I could remember, I always had a love for babies and children, ever since my mother gave me my first baby doll to play with. I was only a small child, not even five years old, when my mother would catch me rocking my little baby doll and talking to her lovingly. I always seemed to have the desire or calling to be a mother.

The way that my life turned out for me, I received the gift of motherhood later in life. After being married for three years, my husband Jeff and I were wondering if becoming parents would ever happen. I had just turned forty years old. We had recently asked our small prayer group to pray for us. Of course, my husband and I had said many tear filled prayers of our own: "Please Lord make us parents."

After a few more months of our friends praying for us and some counsel from my OB/GYN doctor, I became pregnant. I remember taking an at-home pregnancy test and seeing the postive result. We could hardly believe it. Could I possibly, finally be pregnant? Has God answered my fervent pleas? "Please Lord, make me a mother!! I just want to have a child of my own, I want to know what it is like to carry and give birth to a child."

I made an appointment with my OB/GYN. My husband and I did not want to get our hopes up until we spoke to the doctor. I remember so well to this day what it was like waiting in the examination room at the doctor's office. My doctor walked in, holding in her hand a small piece of paper. She had just preformed an ultrasound exam to determine if I was indeed pregnant. With a big, sunny smile on her face, she handed me the piece of paper and said, "Congratulations, this is your first baby picture!!"

I can hardly put into words the feeling I had at that moment. I looked down at the small slip of paper that revealed the ultrasound of my baby. It was a black and white image. My baby looked like a miniature, abstract dot, like a small seedling, but to me it was the most beautiful image my eyes could ever see. It was as if I was looking at the most beautiful piece of artwork ever created, or the most breathtaking sunset on the beach.

The tiny image hardly looked like a baby, but I couldn't take my eyes off of her. The busy doctor had left the room, and I sat there staring at the tiny ultrasound image of my daughter. "My baby! Oh Lord how could I ever thank you enough!"

After our daughter was born, I would just sit holding her and rocking her--hour after hour. I would just look at her and be in awe with this thought in my heart, "This is my baby. This is the child that you Lord have chosen for me. From all Eternity, you chose her to be my child and I was chosen to be her mother." It was the most wonderful feeling. God created this tiny soul for me to care for. I would be entrusted with her life and soul. To raise her in the Faith. To teach her to love God. To teach and show her what it means to love and be loved. This is what God had appointed me to do.

I always knew that I wanted to be a mother. I always loved children. Unfortunately, growing up and attending a secular university I did not always have the most positive image of motherhood. I had grown to think that having a career came first. I thought that being a wife and a mother was somewhat of a subserviant role, a second class position in life. More or less you "give up " your life to do a lot of the thankless jobs that a man does not want or have the time to do. I used to hear from some of my mother's friends about how they had to sacrifice so much for their children. They all sounded so unhappy about this. It was as if they felt they were cheated in life--as if they ended up with the short end of the stick.

Despite all this, I knew when I married my husband, that I wanted to have a child.

But what I did not realize was how much joy it is to have a child. Carrying my baby was the biggest joy. There is really no greater joy in life. I really did not have true joy in my life like I have now. Is raising a child work? Is there a level of sacrifice? I like to call it self giving. Yes, you have to give of yourself. With being a mother there is an opening of your heart. It is in this, through prayer, God gives you His grace.

God tugs on your heart and you open your heart. This opening of the heart makes you want to give of yourself. You give of yourself to your child and to your husband out of love. As you give, as your heart opens, God in exchange fills it with His joy--His joy, His peace that you have never felt before, because you are loving your child. You are caring for your child and your husband, so you are living according to what God's will. You are doing what you were created to do. To be a mom!!

Then you have the most awesome realization that God--the God who designed the whole world, the same God who spoke the world into existence--has chosen you!! He has chosen you to be a mother of your child from before the world was made, from all eternity, from before the beginning of time.

I now know that being self-centered and living just for myself and being selfish--which is what the world tells us to do--can never make me happy. That can never bring me the same joy I now have, the precious, sweet, wonderful joy of being someone's mom.

You can connect with Stephanie Principe on Facebook, and join her in the joyful message of the pro-life movement. If you would like to read more about the pro-life movement, you can get started at Voices for Life.

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