When I became a mother, I found a fierceness that I did not expect.
When I think about this fierce protectiveness, I think of the women at the beginning of Exodus who defied the power surrounding them, as they became mother figures for Moses. I first think of Shiphrah and Puah, the midwives who defied the Pharaoh’s orders and kept baby boys alive. They lied to Pharaoh to protect the children that they helped bring into this world, “. . . the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live” (Exodus 1:17). Some protect children before they are born; the midwives, doulas, doctors, nurses, and all those who give their great wisdom and help guide children into the world.
My experience of motherhood has been one where I was pregnant and gave birth to my children. But there are so many other ways to be a mother figure.
This message is excerpted from “Mother Figures” by Elyssa Salinas in the May 2021 Cafe online magazine. Today we commemorate Monica, mother of Augustine, 387.
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