What makes a Mum a Mum?
This thought has been in my head for a wee while now. I guess what has made me think about it is the fact that we are fostering children who either have no Mum or who have a warped view about the role a Mum should play. It is something I struggle to understand because, to me, all the aspects of being a Mum seem to be fairly obvious and natural.
When I was growing up, I had good role models around me which shaped my view of what a Mum is. However, I know this is not the case for every woman who has given birth or become a ‘Mum’. I hear from social workers that they need to teach women who have children how to interact with their child, what they should be saying to them, how they should be playing with them and how they should be reacting to the cries, tantrums or frustrations of their child. They also need to do work with children to help them understand the word ‘Mum’, especially those that have no relationship with their biological Mum.
This is very sad and shows again the all-encompassing effects of the fall. All these things got me thinking about these questions: Does giving birth make you a Mum or is there more to it than that? Is a Mum just an incubation vessel or is she something else? Just because you have given birth to a little person, should they call you ‘Mum’ if you have not cared for them appropriately or if they don’t know you? Now, obviously you can’t get away from the biological facts about how & where babies are made and how they grow. This is the way God designed it and it was ‘very good.’ As much as society would like to try and change things, there isn’t a lot you can do about this fact of nature.
More Than Biology
The reality is that being a Mum is so much more than biology. Once you have given birth, you would be foolish to think that your job as Mum is over and done with! When in actual fact your role as Mum has only just begun. You will continue to be a Mum even when your baby grows and has babies of their own. To be a Mum is to unconditionally love, care for, nurture, train, discipline and teach your child/children. This is a life long task.
Even when your child has flown the nest, they will still call you for advice about stuff. So, although over the years the role changes as the apron strings loosen, you are never made redundant. This role is a God-given one and should be highly respected. Think about it—the God of the universe has seen fit to bless you with a little person to care for. He has entrusted the well-being of that child into your care and keeping. That is a huge responsibility. How you are as a Mum can either help or hinder your child for the rest of their life.
A Mother’s Affect
Lots of women I speak to are still affected by the relationship they had with their Mum, both in positive and negative ways. Sometimes this can be very crippling and will have without doubt spilled over into their own parenting. We have to be so careful that we are not unintentionally causing harm to our child. It is so easy to become a controlling, over bearing Mum rather than allowing your child to flourish and become the person God wants them to be. It is a fine balancing act and one that requires lots of wisdom and grace. Remember also that how you parented will also affect the future generation either positively or negatively.
The sad thing is that I know adults who were taken into the care system as children, whose own children are now in the care system. The cycle for them has continued. The only way this will get broken is for Christ to break into their lives and completely transform them from the inside out.
One of the really encouraging things about working in a scheme is seeing the total transformation the gospel makes in people’s lives. We have women who are part of our congregation who have had their children taken off of them and we have social workers worshipping together. We get the privilege of seeing women piece their lives back together bit by bit as they seek to get their children back home. For them and their children the care system cycle has been broken. When people come to know the Lord as their saviour, it is not just their life that has been transformed but future generations also. Which is such an encouragement and joy to see.
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”