3.06.2014

Spiritual Motherhood: Not Just for the Infertile Woman

I've been working on this for a long time and even as I hit publish I'm not sure it's quite right. I've come back to it, tweaked it, deleted it all together, and more. I even have a very eloquent post sitting in draft form that's been there for a while, you'll see it in a bit.

A couple of weeks ago, when we were in Texas for NFP Teacher Training/Enrichment, after The Man and I shared about infertility with the NFP teachers, we also spent some time looking at the structure of the third class we teach. This class has always included something about infertility and while it can be brutal (emotionally) to teach, it is important and a good lesson in dying to self is also important. I'm so glad that it was already part of what couples get when they learn Standard Sympto-Thermal NFP before The Man and I gave our presentation.

Ever since The Man and I started TTC it has gotten a bit harder and harder to teach this particular class though I couldn't quite put my finger on why. Through conversations that I've had with a number of people recently and then standing up doing a "what we teach in class 3 and why" presentation (instead of just teaching the class) it hit me. There is (was - it's been changed now) a transition from the slide about infertility to a slide about adoption and being open to life in other ways than just physical. What really stuck out to me about this is that adoption, volunteering, coaching little league, etc. are not to be reserved for those poor, unfortunate souls who can't "have children of their own." (I'm sorry, I'm hearing Ursula from The Little Mermaid in my brain...)


Anyway, I spoke up and it seems that most everyone in the room agreed and so the ordering of the slides was changed. That's the background on why this post and why now. Here's the real "stuff" I want to say.

I have long since really disliked the phrase "spiritual motherhood" - see? (this is the very eloquent post that's been in my drafts for, oh probably at least 6 months now)


I also hate the phrase "why don't you adopt"? But honestly that is a whole other post of it's own.

I want to say to the people who say these things to me (usually they are already parents): why didn't/don't you adopt? how about I take your kids and you can have spiritual motherhood?

(In order to not confuse two topics, I shall focus on spiritual motherhood here and just state that adoption is not just for the infertile couple either. I will also say that all of this applies to men and fatherhood as well, I will just mostly use mother and feminine pronouns to help keep this a bit easier to read.)

I, of course, do not say these things. I know (or at least I assume) people genuinely mean well and I realize this is just one more instance of it being about my pain. Only, in this case I think it needs some considering...

Is it really only infertile couples who are to adopt? Is it really only women who are infertile who are called to spiritual motherhood? Well, we'll count priests and sisters in there on the spiritual mother/fatherhood side of things, and of course people who are single, right?

But what about everyone else? You know, the people who marry and give birth to children? What about them? Are they exempt from spiritual motherhood?

I don't think so.

I don't remember reading anywhere in scripture that only those who aren't physically fertile are to care for the widows and orphans. I don't remember Jesus saying "when you infertile women visited the sick and fed the hungry, you did that for me." And even though the Catechism states that infertile couples should consider caring for orphans, it doesn't say only infertile couples should consider caring for orphans.

If we want to create a culture of life, to create a new humanity, I think that it's time every woman starts to ask herself, how am I called to motherhood? Is it physical motherhood? Is it adopting (Side Note: I suspect that adopting is much more in-line with physical motherhood than it is spiritual motherhood since after the child is born and then adopted (even if adopted older), there is very little, if any, difference. I admit I have no direct experience with either, but I can't help but think this way, my friends who have adopted, feel free to correct me if I am wrong.)

Many times every day, women are called to mother and men are called to father - regardless of their marital status or fertility. When I consider spiritual motherhood in this light, in the light of who I am as a woman rather than as an alternative to physical motherhood, I free myself to walk down the road towards it; to see how I live out this call that is part of my feminine genius. The enemy is smart though, for each time I take a step down this particular road, someone suggests to me that I can "always be a spiritual mother" or asks "why don't you just adopt?" and I stop and decide that I will not go down this road after all. This is evidence to me that I'm on to something here, that this isn't just the ranting of some bitter, infertile woman, but rather that if we all (myself included) truly stepped up to our call to care for one another, to be mothers and fathers to those we encounter, that it would have a tremendous impact.

I'm not advocating for an either/or here, it isn't physical mother/fatherhood OR adoption OR spiritual mother/fatherhood, but rather a both/and approach to openness to life. I'm speaking specifically about those called to the vocation of marriage (and I'm including those who are called to marriage but still wait for their spouse in with those of us infertile married people, as I have it on good authority this difficulty with the phrase "spiritual motherhood" applies greatly to them as well.) Someone called to consecrated or religious life embraces a call to spiritual mother/fatherhood alone, giving up physical mother/fatherhood for the sake of the kingdom, just as they are celibate for the sake of the kingdom. For the rest of us, again, myself included, we must open our hearts to both/and.

Et et.

(Edited to add: Usually I like to respond in an email message to comments, but I'm finding your comments are really helping me to work through this some more, so if you don't usually subscribe to comments, you might want to this time. Also, please read the comment thread if you have time, as I've already been able to have some more pieces of this puzzle filled in for me.)

44 comments:

  1. Yes yes yes yes beautiful!! Amen! Thank you for this, Rebecca. Just today Mr. M and I were talking about spiritual mother/fatherhood and he made the great point (I may be biased...!) that even "spiritual" mother/fatherhood also has very physical elements. Opening your home to those without a family. Spending time with a lonely person. Taking a little old lady to the grocery store. None of these involves the physicality of giving birth, but they're still physical because we're body-soul creatures and that's how we love!

    Now, if everyone could please stop using spiritual motherhood or adoption as second-rate consolation prizes, that would be great! Both/and - I love it! So Catholic =)

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    1. Ah! You just put one of the "missing" pieces in for me - thank-you!!! The physical-ness of it and our creation as bodies not merely spirits! I don't know why I was missing that, when it is so obvious, perhaps it was my own fixatedness on the physicalness of giving birth, etc. Ah, you just helped me to take a few more, big steps down this road. So grateful.

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  2. I completely understand your view. And if this is a rant, so be it. I get that, too! I also agree that most often these comments are made because someone else is trying to alleviate your pain. But I know it really doesn't. People just in general don't really know how to "suffer with" someone.
    But from having had many of these comments and so much more before we became parents, all these comments worked on my heart. And really I think that is what they are designed to do. Maybe the "spiritual motherhood" idea is to learn to accept the possibility of not being a physical mother. Or the "just adopt" is for one to really consider adoption as a viable option for parenting.
    Just thinking out loud here.

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    1. I think you are exactly right about how it's usually someone trying to alleviate pain rather than suffer with, it seems a nice "solution" to the problem and will hopefully prevent any unnecessary tears.

      I also think there is a big difference between someone who has suffered with (not necessarily a fellow infertile, just someone who has been willing to suffer with the infertile couple) asking about adoption or encouraging ways to pursue spiritual motherhood and someone who is trying throw a solution, any solution, at the problem. So, yes, in a sense, that part was rant-y.

      But, all of that taken into consideration, I really do think the prevalent notion is that these things (adoption and spiritual motherhood) are to be left to those of us unable to have biological children. That they are somehow second-best and should only be considered if one is unable to have biological children. Most women who are physical mothers probably don't consider the ways in which they are spiritual mothers, and how important that role is, just as important as their physical mothering. This is the part that I think truly must change. We all must consider our call to motherhood - in each way it is appropriate for our vocation/state in life - be it biological, adoptive, or spiritual. If that were a well-understood topic, someone suggesting I consider how I can be a spiritual mother or to adopt may not cause me to feel like screaming "I am not a second class citizen!"

      Thanks for your comment E - it really helped me to flesh this out some more and clarify, or at least I hope I clarified :).

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  3. This is so so good! I am only part way through your post, but it is good so far! I just need to comment quick before I forget...I do not consider adoption to be spiritual motherhood at all...it is totally physical motherhood (though not biological motherhood). That is what my experience (and I think what theology) would say.

    Ok, finished the post--what a great reminder for me that even though I am physical mother, I cannot forget about my spiritual children that God has given me: my godchildren, those who I give counsel, my nieces and nephews, etc...it can be hard to be 'open to life' to all these 'little ones' but they are a part of my vocation, too.

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    1. K - thank-you! It was actually your recent post "They don't feel biological" that really caused me to step back and think about this. One of my earlier drafts had wrapped adoption and spiritual motherhood all together and it just didn't feel right. When I read your post on your husband's comment, it made sense why it wasn't making sense to combine adoption and spiritual motherhood as if they were the same.
      They are the same only in that they are viewed as a "if you can't have biological children" option.
      Thank-you! :)

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  4. The hardest part of this whole spiritual partenthood thing is how the waiting for something "real" to come of it is so hard. For us, our job has been working with kids and teens for the last 7 years... and I cannot see us giving up this life goal.. but it still does not fill the deep heartache completely. At the end of the day you can only hope you have made a difference. I think for anyone parent or not, as we age we hit all sorts of grieving. If it is not infertility it is a medical issue, the loss of a loved one, a bad marriage, singleness, swamped in debt ect. ...There is a point in faith that one just has to put on their boots and keep walking. To persevere and try to find a way each day to choose joy and to serve God...

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    1. I agree, I don't think spiritual motherhood can fill the heart, not at all. Ultimately though, only Christ can fill it, not even physical motherhood (adoptive or biological) can, not really. It can be so hard to remember that, so easy to turn a child into an idol (I speak for myself here, not projecting onto you or anyone else) and think that if only I were a mother, my life would have meaning or make sense. And yes, yes a thousand times, there comes a point where you just have to put one foot in front of the other and trust that He is enough, that He is trustworthy.

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    2. I just want to clarify. Yes, spiritual and physical motherhood can fill a heart with joy and they both shoulf. I'm referring to the deep ache within all of us for God, that I know I didn't really want to admit was there. Infertility is teaching me detachment from this world in ways I couldn't have imagined. And it is not fun.

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    3. So agree with everything you say! And it is easy to make children or an ideal life a idol. It just stinks when you are trying to do everything right and out of nowhere the grief or tears come... I will say, in serving with kids it does force us to be more normal around others a less sensitive to the triggers of IF. I think if we did not have the job of working in ministry we could easily become isolated and maybe even socially awkward because of our pain. Most days our hurt only comes out at the end of the day when it is just us... or on the blogs... (thanks by the way for facilitating support groups; it helps!)

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    4. Yes! Oh, the out of nowhere tears - they are sometimes the hardest part of infertility, being caught off guard with sadness by something that should be joyful. And yes! working in ministry, especially marriage and family ministry, forces me to face things that I would probably just suppress or not even really think about.

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  5. Hi, Rebecca! I'm so thrilled to have found your blog, and to get to know your gentle and insightful heart! I think you hit a big nail on the head when you said:" ...I don't think spiritual motherhood can fill the heart, not at all. Ultimately, though, only Christ can fill it, not even physical motherhood (adoptive or biologicval) can, not really." This comes straight from the Holy Spirit. It doesn't matter how many children we have, or how much love we give or receive, in what way' on this earth; we only find fulfillment in that small corner of our love that is most like His -- truly unselfish -- without thought of what we are giving or not giving, getting or not getting. We won't ever find out the whole enormity of Love -- what we know we're missing and what we don't know we're missing -- until we see Him face to face. So we accept. And try really hard. The best joy we find is in trying to give that love away ourselves -- the very best we can. To our own children if God gives them to us, or to adopted children if He wishes that for us, or the the old lady down the street, or the bum on the corner -- or practically perfect strangers on the internet. ;) God bless you, Rebecca. You so rock!

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    1. Hi Lisa! Thank-you for your kind words and comment.

      "We don't know what we're missing." - how that gives me hope! Thank-you :).

      I have a whole post about give of ourselves that is in the works as well, so thank-you for helping me to tie that one and this one together in a new way.

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    2. Ugh *giving of ourselves.

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  6. Great post! Great thoughts here. And the comments too! I don't really have much to add, just that I gained quite a bit from reading. I agree that we all need to be encouraged to spiritual motherhood/fatherhood, infertiles to super-fertiles, and everyone in between. Then I agree, I think that when others tell us to try for spiritual motherhood, it won't be as much of a "solution" to our "problem," just a natural step for everyone to take at some point in their life. Thanks for the insight!!

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  7. Thank you, Rebecca. This is exactly what I heard the other day in my heart as I cried out to God in my own grief and feelings of loss. We are all called to motherhood/fatherhood. He does not see one as greater than the other. This is so much easier to say than to truly own in my mind, but I feel it in my heart (the sobs pretty much ceased after I felt the comfort of that message). I am so grateful for all your insight and hardworking putting this down. Writing. I'm looking forward to reading more comments on the topic.

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    1. *hard work putting this down in writing.

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    2. While I wish you never had to feel that grief, I am so grateful that He spoke to you so clearly. It truly is all grace, isn't it? I wear a necklace that says "By Grace Alone" that The Man bought me as a gift after a difficult time in our marriage (pre-IF) and I am so caught off-guard by how true and deep such a simple phrase is.

      Please know of my continued prayers for you.

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  8. I like this! I think you need to push this idea even further. This is something big.

    Some random thoughts from my heart.

    A) I think all married Catholics should actively consider adoption. That doesn't mean "you're extra cool spiritually if you adopt." It's not a status thing. It's more of having an "open to life" heart--all life.

    B) I think that spiritual mother is different than motherhood and by golly if God hands you a biological child to care for in your life, you had BETTER be spiritually connected to them. I'm in a 12 step recovery group. There are way too many people who got food and shelter but little to no spiritual nourishment in their own families growing up. That is a set up for a life-time of pain!

    C) I think spiritual adoption is real. I don't think we talk about it much as laity. That's a shame. We should learn more from priests and religious.

    D) I think the loss of biological fertility is a real loss. I think grief is real. I think our culture kind of sucks at dealing with grief. I don't think talking about spiritual motherhood or actual "normal" adoption-- so ever be a substitute for a woman wanting to talk about her infertility grief with a friend. It's two different issue. I don't think real compassion or Christian Hope is based on a denial of grief "oh your pain isn't really that bad." I think Hope is a virtue that raises up beyond the pain. I think most humans sort of really suck at having enough emotional space to listen to a friend who has grief. Grief is lonely. Thank God for grace!

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    1. Thanks Abigail. I do think I might revisit this at some point - I really needed to get this out and everyone's comments have been so helpful!
      To your points:

      1) Yes! I keep coming back to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's quote on infertility and how we (all husbands and wives) are charged with creating a new humanity.

      2) SUCH a good point. I never even thought of it that way!

      3) Yes! I've heard of people spiritually adopting a baby that is danger of abortion and it seems so powerful, not to mention the example of the prayer component of organizations like Reese's Rainbow!

      4) Thank-you for this validation. I have a whole post about this in the works too - about how infertility is something to be grieved! While we cannot let comparison steal our joy, we must also be cautious to not let comparison rob us of our right to grieve either.

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  9. This is awesome, Rebecca. After reading your post, I went back to my adoration journal from exactly one year ago today, and found some specific quotes from the book I was reading at the time, "My Sisters the Saints" by Colleen Campbell. I apparently need to revisit this book. Here are a couple of quotes that I wrote down that day.....
    [pg. 112-113] "Genuine spiritual motherhood lies in leading others to freedom, not dependence; in giving, not getting. But a woman cannot give what she does not first possess. Only in loving union with God can she find the strength and selflessness she needs to be a true spiritual mother. A woman's craving for God's love is not a weakness, Edith (Stein) says. It is her greatest strength: 'The intrinsic value of woman consists essentially in exceptional receptivity for God's work in the soul.'" {my aside: Edith Stein is another genius on the topic of REAL femininity and the maternal instincts that are the gift of women alone.}

    [pg 117] "....I realized that there is nothing second-rate about spiritual motherhood. It is a powerful channel of God's love in a love-starved world, one all the more potent when it springs from trials you do not choose."

    I certainly do not have the answers. This is so, so hard. And I totally fight it all the way. But I think that we are all called to support each other in the search for how to truly live out spiritual motherhood, and to recognize that this is a worthy goal for ALL women. Thank you so much for your beautiful meditation.

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    1. Hmm, this book has been mentioned to me a few times, I'm wondering if maybe it isn't God whispering to me that I need to pick it up. I certainly love those quotes that you posted and yes, Edith Stein is amazing!

      Thank-you for your encouragement and for the quotes!

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  10. I loved your post, maybe I can give a copy of it to everyone who makes those comments to me...hehe! One thing that is tough for me is that people seem to look more highly on international, special needs, or transracial adoption...not everyone is called to, or able to do that. My hubby wrote an article on how marriage relates to the trinity even without kids, and not just because of spiritual fruitfulness, and its really helped me.

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    1. Share with whoever you like ;).

      I loved your DH's article! And yes, even within adoption it seems there is a hierarchy. We humans really mess up "Love one another as I have loved you", don't we?

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  11. I'm completely guilty of thinking, "why don't Rebecca and The Man adopt?" because I'm a Reece's Rainbow advocate. I had no idea how painful it is for you to hear that. I am so sorry.

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    1. Jen, thank-you. Thank-you for hearing and in your apology being willing to open your heart to see and suffer with me. I am grateful.

      I will say, I don't necessarily think the question is completely out of line. We've certainly asked ourselves this question, and all I can say is the answer is anything but simple.

      Also, while you may have thought this question, to my recollection, you've never asked it, which also makes a difference. While you didn't understand, you didn't just assume either.

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  12. I am single, called to marriage and motherhood, over 40 and just plain sick of dating. You have no idea! ( shout out to Abigail up there who referred to the "oh your pain isn't really that bad" camp! )
    I'm still stewing over a comment my cousin made in August... "Oh, you just have to accept God's will." Well, you may have accept it when I claw your eyes out, sweetie!
    How easy to talk about God's will when, for her, that meant a handsome, faithful doting husband, and three beautiful children. Ugh! I wish I had said that AND " let's imagine God's will is... Poof... No husband and no children..... Just accept it... You had them and now you don't. How about you spend 20 years feeling like you don't deserve a husband and family, and that God forgot about you entirely. Your turn sister.... Just imagine a life without love and accept it.
    Not so easy is it?

    Oh, but that's my rant. Thanks for letting me spill it!

    Want to know what's more fun than hearing you should adopt? When you're single and 40 and poor and they suggest you adopt! Yes, why don't I work 40+ hours a week to have just enough money for daycare so a kid can sit in daycare while I work?
    I want a family, not a nightmare!
    To me, a family is two parents and a child... I'm not going to sign up to give a child a worse life than if they were on their own.

    I don't like the sound of Spiritual Motherhood either, because it often sounds like consolation prize.

    I do my share of it though, I have children in my life who are very special to me and I them! It is indeed precious! I work with several parish programs to nurture the hearts and souls of others... But none of it is cure for my empty house and empty bed.

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    1. Glad you felt comfortable enough to rant here :). Getting it out certainly makes a difference, doesn't it?

      I'm so sorry your sister said that to you. :(

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  13. In reading this post and in reading all the comments, I think I finally understand why I resent the phrase "spiritual motherhood" so much. It is not and cannot be a substitute for the emptiness in our hearts and arms and anyone who suggests it as such is cruisin' for a bruisin', even if it's not entirely fair to them. There is no substitute for the physical family that we all long for, and if that is never fulfilled in this life, there is nothing that will take that pain away, though in the hands of God it can become something very beautiful.

    BUT, I do love the idea of spiritual motherhood as something that every woman is called to. I love the idea that we can live out who we are as women in giving ourselves to others in whatever ways present themselves in our current lives, whatever that may be. In that context, suddenly instead of "spiritual motherhood" setting me apart yet again, and keeping me once more out of the club that all women seem to be in as wives and mothers, it finally allows me a place as a woman again. As a woman in this context of being single and not having children. Not only that, but women who may feel disenfranchised (seems like a dumb word, but I don't know what else to use) due to not being able to have children, or because they are widowed or divorced or whatever reason they do not feel that they fit into the club, they can figure out how to live out their authentic womanhood in these contexts. As I told you, my mom is considering some of this spiritual motherhood as she deals with the hole of not having any grandkids (despite have 6 children, 4 of whom are of the age and would like to provide those for her but circumstances are not permitting), and so she is addressing it in that context. Finally, for those that are "in the trenches" so to speak of physical motherhood, maybe this common call can help us support each other instead of everyone feeling this huge divide.

    In summary: Spiritual motherhood as a substitute for physical motherhood, gag me with a stick and then leave me alone to crawl into a dark hole of misery. But spiritual motherhood as a way that all women are called to live their lives is an opportunity for me to discover that call in my current place and situation in life, not because I am single, but because I am a woman.

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    1. Wow, did NOT realize that comment had gotten so long! Sorry to steal your combox for a whole post. ;)

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    2. I'm glad you left this awesome comment! It is beautiful - and so true. Your last paragraph just summed up all that I was trying to say - only much more eloquently!

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  14. I love this post. Love it. So, so true. I don't think I can add anything intelligent here, but yes... amen.

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  15. I remember the first time I heard the term "spiritual mother". It was from a priest in the pulpit on Mother's Day. When they prepared to hand out a flower to each "mother" in the congregation, he said "we have flowers here today and are giving them to all the women because whether you are single, married, have children or don't have children, you are all Spiritual Mothers." I was a single woman at the time and I recall feeling so validated by that comment because even tho I had no children, I felt very much like a "mother" to the little girls in my Scout troop, to the children that I taught, etc. I was very proud to walk up, as a woman with no physical kids, and get a flower on that Mother's Day. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that sometimes the context in which we hear a term can overshadow its true meaning. Spiritual motherhood is a beautiful thing, and you are right, it is something God asks of all women. It is unfortunate that some people just don't "get it" and think that one replaces the other. As Abigail pointed out, to be a good physical mother, spiritual motherhood is imperative. If anything, practicing spiritual motherhood made me a much better physical mother when the time finally came, but one kind of motherhood certainly does not replace the other. Just like an adopted child can not replace the loss of a biological child. Sometimes you need to mourn the loss of the biological child that you may never have before you are ready to consider adoption. It's never as simple as many people make it out to be. Thank you Rebecca for your insight and for starting this conversation.

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    1. I would love to hear a priest talk in depth about spiritual motherhood on Mother's Day. I've had a priest invite all women to receive a blessing or flower, but without much explanation and even before infertility it felt awkward to me. If he had phrased it that way, I think I might have felt less awkward, so I'm grateful you had this experience! Perhaps I will send an email to the priests in our diocese encouraging this for mother's day this year. (Thanks for your comment that spurred this idea!)

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  16. I may hate the phrase "spiritual motherhood" even more than you do! I would skip over it completely and just say that that "we are all called to love one another." That emphasizes loving one another and giving generously of oneself regardless of the age or station of the other person.

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    1. I totally understand your temptation to skip over the phrase, but we must be careful to not neuter ourselves. It is important that we are created as male and female - all called to be fathers and mothers (spiritual for all of us, physical for those also called to marriage) and in our masculinity and femininity we not only complement each other, but we image God. It is not male alone that is created and the image and likeness of God, but man - male and female - that does so.

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    2. While I certainly agree that it's important to not neuter ourselves, especially in a culture that often tries to deny that there are any differences between the sexes, much of what we do in loving and serving one another isn't necessarily gendered. While a woman may be more inclined to make a meal for an elderly neighbor or just sit and listen to him or her and a man may be more inclined to clear that neighbor's driveway of snow, that doesn't make it wrong or unnatural if a particular woman who can't cook is more comfortable clearing the driveway or a man who loves to cook provides the meal. Everyone, male or female, has his or her own God-given gifts that they should use to love and serve others.

      What I was thinking of, though, wasn't the gendered part of it, but rather that the phrase "spiritual motherhood/fatherhood" can lead to focusing on serving children, whereas someone may be more comfortable serving a different population in need or his or her gifts could be better focused on serving a different population. Could caring for the elderly be considered spiritual mothering? Probably, but describing serving and caring for someone older than me as "mothering" feels a bit weird to me. Is it service? Undoubtedly. Is it a way of putting love into action? Certainly. Would teaching struggling adults about managing their finances be an act of spiritual motherhood/fatherhood? Again, maybe, but that descriptor feels odd to me. When I think of spiritual motherhood/fatherhood, what comes to mind are things like being a godparent, CCD teacher, Scout leader, etc. Certainly those are all important acts of love and service, but there are many more possibilities, too.

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    3. I agree - we shouldn't box ourselves into how we serve one another (for example, thank God for sending me a man who likes to do dishes!). I do think our femininity and masculinity matters though - in everything that we do. Not in the "women's" work and "men's" work way of look at it, but in the very realness that men and women are different and part of that difference is our gender. (I think we are agreeing here, I just want to make that point :).)

      While it can be weird to think of mothering someone who is older than us, sometimes that is just what we do. And there is a very real need for spiritual motherhood and fatherhood from lay people to those in religious/consecrated/ordained life - regardless of age. In addition, while I am a godmother and love that spiritual motherhood experience, right now most of my "mothering" comes in the form of serving the engaged couples who attend their weekend retreats and also the other people who attend retreats or events that I plan for work. Often times the person may be older than me, but for whatever reason, they are in my life as someone who I am to guide and lead closer to God. So, yes, I do think teaching struggling adults about managing their finances would be an act of spiritual motherhood. In the times I've cared for my Nan after surgery, I have definitely "mothered" her.
      While we must love one another, and not all of those acts of love will be in a parenting sort of way, many of them are.
      Thanks for your comment Stephanie, truly :). I really do think it helped me to clarify even further my thoughts on this.

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  17. Such a wonderful post, Rebecca! I'm so glad you hit "Publish".

    Praying for you always! ((Hug))

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  18. I have not read all the comments, but I LOVE this post. I am so dreadfully far behind on blogs lately, but I am so glad I jumped over here when I had a few minutes. I'm so glad you wrote about this. I wrote a post sort of similar sentiment (though you did 1000X better at articulating the point) this time last year. I think everyone is called to spiritual parenthood, and that being a biological or adoptive parent is part of that, but its not the whole, and that even for women who have physical children, the seasons of life when they are the most demanding might coinside with a time when most of your spiritual mothering is also with/for them, but then in other seasons of life, it might come in the form of leading a group, volunteering, mentoring, etc. You are so right that it is not one or the other!
    Also, you NEED to read My Sisters the Saints. So wonderful. Love you!

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    1. This is Sarah B. It says Eric because hubby was logged in!

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  19. We need more posts from you Rebecca! It's Lent!

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