Becoming a mother is probably one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life so far — and I don’t mean the birth part. By comparison, even with a scary emergency c-section, that has been the easiest part of this whole thing. Between getting used to having a tiny person around, to lack of sleep, to adjusting to him being a toddler life has been, let’s just say an adjustment — looking at you two-year molars.
Don’t get me wrong, motherhood is probably my greatest joy. I mean, I got to partake in procreation and MADE a tiny human being with JP. My number 2 love came from my number 1 love. Even when the nights are hard or sleepless I still find myself longing to be home with Bernhard (and JP!) most days.
One of the things about being Catholic that I love is being able to lean on the saints — I like to think of them as a big extension of the whole “it takes a village” part of raising a child. Prior to becoming a mother I had devotions to several saints, but after becoming a mother I’ve found that has increased for me — even if it’s a simple as invoking a name to help me in the rough times.
one// Saint Elizabeth of Hungary
Saint Elizabeth is my name saint. I think I chose her sometime in elementary school out of all the other Elizabeths (my mom may know?). When we were in Vienna for the Grand Fifth Anniversary Adventure we tried to see her skull, but due to some misunderstanding of the instructions on the website we couldn’t — I may have sobbed in the streets, but we have a reason to go back!
Saint Elizabeth has become more special to me for many reasons since becoming married — by all accounts she had a happy marriage, she was a mother., and eventually took vows similar to those of a nun, and there are still religious communities that can trace their lineage back to her.
two// Saint Zelie Martin
Oh Saint Zelie. Wife to and mother of other saints, including a Doctor of the Church! In some of her writings she penned that St. Therese was a bit of a willful toddler — can you guess when I invoke her? We often hold the saints up on a pedestal, rightly so, but it’s good to know that they were very human and dealt with similar situations in life similar to what I’m going through.
I also pray that someday I too can claim to be the mother of saints.
three// Saint Gianna Molla
Saint Gianna is probably the saint who has most recently come into my devotions, and I’m still learning more about her — I invoke her a LOT during the week as I feel that she of all people understands how hard it can be to be a working mother, needing to straddle the two words of having a dual (well, techically triad) vocations we’re called to, to both work and be a mother, and the sacrifices those of us who work outside of the home make.
Please don’t take this to think that I don’t think highly of stay at home moms — because I truly do! This isn’t meant to poke into the realm of “the mommy wars” and crying that I have it harder. All mothers, in all circumstances, make great sacrifices for their children. We need to support each other and lift each other up.
four// Saint Gerald
Surprised to see a male saint on the list?
Similar to Saint Gianna, Saint Gerald is a fairly new saint to be welcomed into my repertoire. A family friend on a whim gave me a prayer card with his depiction when I was pregnant with Bernhard, which I tucked into my wallet. On the back of the card was a prayer invoking the saint for a happy delivery. I prayed it off and on throughout my pregnancy, and while things ended up on the scary side and totally off my written “birth plan”, when I came to from the general anesthesia to meet my son I can honestly say that I was at total peace with how things happened, and I give credit to Saint Gerald for granting me that grace.
this is one of my absolute favorite depictions of the Blessed Virgin and Child. It was painted by Lucas Cranach the Elder, and at the end of our first trip to Germany I was fortunate to see it in person!
five// the BVM
My devotion to the Blessed Mother is a long running one, but I feel like it’s become even deeper since embarking on the journey of motherhood myself.
So, funny story. Last week when we were at Mass to celebrate Candlemas Bernhard decided that acrobatics in the pew was a great thing to do during the first reading. The end result was him biting his lip/tongue and me whisking him out to staunch the bleeding. Ah toddlers… as I was taking care of my close to screamy child the statue of Mary located to the right of the alter (left if you’re looking at it from the pews) caught my eye and I may have grinned to myself. Yes, Jesus is the Son of God, born of a woman, God made flesh, but I have a feeling that He experienced the very human aspects of growing up — and that his dear mother dealt with toddlerisms too! I felt in that moment that Mary had my back in Mass, and sure enough, seconds later another mother popped out to make sure Bernhard was ok and to see if I needed anything.