Posted by: molly | June 13, 2011

Illegitimate Motherhood

This mother’s day was my first to be on the receiving end.   On the day to celebrate our mother’s with gifts of cards and flowers I had only one request for my husband:  let me hide in my room all day and not come out until it was all done.  Lovingly he denied my request and forced me to face the world of well-wishers.  I am not against the holiday–I was happy to buy cards for both my mother and my mother-in-law.  I was happy to tell them thanks for everything they have done in my life.  I like the idea of celebrating motherhood.

I wasn’t ready to be celebrated.  Most women experience their first mother’s day with either a bulging belly or a babe-in-arms.  I had neither.  Instead I felt the poignant recognition that I am the mother of another women’s children who I earnestly hope will one day be mine.

My introduction into motherhood came in a unique way.  One morning I had no children.  That afternoon two women left my house wishing me luck as a five-year-old roamed my kitchen while his seven-year-old sister sat timidly in my living room surrounded by trash bags containing all her worldly belongings.  I wanted to chase down those women as they left my house and let them know they had made a mistake.  I was in fact, not a mother after all.

The first time you hear your child call you mommy you should be filled with joy.  I cried.  I felt a need to correct anyone who called me a mother.  However, time changes things.  I am beginning to see that I am a mother.  I am not suddenly gifted with motherhood the day my children take my last name.  I can be a mother to children who will never be my legal heirs.  My motherhood is based on who I have become.

Just the other day I was talking with a friend as I watched another mother interact with my children.  I commented how this mother was great with kids.  My friend replied that motherhood makes you great with kids.  Jokingly I pointed out the fact that I have two kids and have not mastered the skills of childrearing.  She tried to explain to me that she thought having a baby helped in that department.  I let it drop.  A few months ago I would have been crushed with my illegitimate motherhood and how this other person did not see me as a true mother but instead as a pretender.  It isn’t my personal mission to make the world understand the beautiful heartache of being a foster parent.  Instead I rest with confident in my position before God and my family; despite what the world may think, I am and always will be a mother.



  1. I believe you are becoming and are already a wonderful Mother in the fullest sense of the word. You may not have gone through all of the hormonal changes that other mom was referring to, but in my mind that makes you that much more of a mother. Being a mother is all about selflessness and how much more beautiful that picture when it is a mom who is totally reliant on Christ for that selfless grace.

  2. Beautiful … thank you for sharing.

  3. So I know you posted this a long time ago, but I’m just getting to read it. I’m so glad God is teaching you about “true religion” (James 1) through this. I was just asking Daniel the other day about how we should view discipline in regards to Aletheia. He replied, “I appreciate how Molly and Moses handle things.” We are learning from your parenting. You’re doing a wonderful job.

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