The Ghost of Motherhood Future (continued)

The Ghost of Motherhood Future (continued)

A few weeks ago, on the plane home from Budapest, I found myself sitting right in front of a young couple. Maybe half an hour before landing, two flight attendants came over and stood in an anxious huddle in the aisle by the wife. And then the announcement, “If there’s a doctor on board, please…” The wife, I overheard, was in the 9th week of her first pregnancy. She was throwing up a lot and feeling very dizzy. The doctor didn’t seem so concerned, and we landed and the couple went on their way.
But I’ve thought of this young mother-to-be quite a bit over the past weeks, what lies ahead for her (IY”H). The challenges of pregnancy, and the pain of childbirth, and the post-partum ups and downs, and the intense demands of caring for a baby and toddler and young child.
When you are a mother in that teensy-kids stage of life, working SO hard, countless times choosing what your child needs instead of what you want, it seems unfathomable that one day, in the not so distant future, those kids will grow up–into adolescents and teenagers and young adults and adults, and your no-longer-a-young-child won’t be able to remember the good, important, life-sustaining things you did for them for so many years. In fact, chances are, they will mostly remember the things from their early years that you did that they didn’t like, at the time or in retrospect.
To be fair, big kids can be wonderful, generous, giving, amazing. And they can feel gratitude. For a meal, a gift, a thoughtful act etc. But for the thousands of hours spent nurturing that child when they couldn’t care for themselves, establishing the potential foundation for life-long emotional and physical health, that is deleted from consciousness like last year’s headlines.
A few days ago I went on a walk through the Jerusalem Forest with a good friend who, like me, is the mother of a blessed gang of no-longer-young-children. And when I told her my thoughts about the woman on the plane, and how that baby will never thank her for what she went through to bring them into the world, my friend said something that flipped around the way I saw the situation–180 degrees.
“We mothers,” she said, “are like Hashem.
“God created the world,” and with her outstretched arm she indicated the gorgeous pine trees and green hills and blue sky. “But God’s behind the curtain. He gets little credit. Little appreciation. As we go about our lives in this incredible world we barely remember Him at all.”
“And that’s us mothers too. We create human beings, nurture them and care for them and love them so much, and in exchange for all that work and self-sacrifice, in the long run we are largely under-appreciated, often criticized, mostly forgotten.”
My friend’s comparison made feel better about the whole young child vs. no-longer-a-young-child dissonance.
I was, am, and will be there for my children. Whether they remember to thank me or not. Just like our Father in Heaven.


  1. Wow. This is one of your very best pieces, in my humble opinion. I’ve followed you since my children were young and now my brood is also not so young. Your writing resonated with me then, as it does now. Thank you for taking me on your mothering journey, I’ve gained so much. Much continued brachas and hatzlacha in the next chapter!

  2. very touching.
    Sometimes (many times?) the kids do realize and appreciate…so many years later, when they themselves are parents or even grandparents.
    My mother, who is in her 70s, told me that there are so many things she used to dismiss about her own mother and think she was being so old fashioned and only now appreciates how right she was.
    I also see it as I’m raising kids – I realize how much I put my parents through, and how much they did for me, and during my teenage or even young adult years I just did not see what the big deal is. I do now and try to thank them. But it is still not enough to express gratitude for all they have done and still do.

    • Its sad to think how we also had/have this same gratitude blind spot regarding our parents

  3. Inspired to go thank my parents right now!

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