Learning the Loving Embrace of Your Mother–and God
by Sarah Kovac
Author Sarah Kovac reflects on her fears of being a mother with a disability—and her assurances of finding healing in Christ
It twists and pushes. It churns in my stomach. Ever harder to breathe—harder to move, I feel less and less like myself. This life inside is swallowing me up. A tiny person grows from the deepest parts of me, and I can only wonder at all that my body can do.
But then I grit my teeth and ask: can my body do enough? These crooked arms don’t easily cradle a baby. They don’t easily do anything. They hang limp at my sides, a cruel reminder of what might have been. Yes, these feet will do their best to compensate by snapping the onesies and car seat buckles, by spooning oatmeal and wiping tears—but feet are not hands. There will be plenty I cannot do for my baby. There will be nights I weep with this child who’s so quickly outgrown his mother’s ability to carry him. There will be a lifetime of wrestling with, grieving over the mother I am not. The mother I wish I were. The mother I think he deserves. I will try not to consider whether he might have been happier calling someone else Mama. Whether other hands could have soothed him in ways mine cannot. Oh, to have such capable arms. Oh, to be that capable mother.
But the mother God gave him is me. God, who knows my flaws of body and character more intimately than anyone, cradles a child in these feeble arms. Knowing all the ways I would fail, He crowns me anyway. He gives me a new name. He sets me on a new path. A gutsy move, I think. I am unsteady, stumbling my way through this new adventure of motherhood, but somehow He is not worried.
Could it be that, in truth, the pressure is not on me to be the perfect mom? Is it possible that my crippled little arms don’t have to be strong enough? If God loves my son even more than I do, does His embrace undergird mine deep in the night when holding and being held becomes the meaning of life? What a sweet mercy.
I will grieve what might have been. I must. I will mourn the struggles my son endures on my account . . . in the face of having a mother so different. But I will also celebrate. I can rejoice all the things he could only learn from me. From the way I’m forced to approach life. I can be glad that he will understand that people are worthy of our respect, no matter their differences. In my inability to be my son’s everything, he will learn to rely on God. For that I can be glad.
For all the uncertainties we face, this I know: nothing in heaven or on earth can keep my child from the loving embrace of God—not even a flawed mother.
Sarah Kovac is a wife and mother whose story of living with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC) has garnered national media attention and inspired thousands with a message of hope and love. She shares her personal journey of self-acceptance with audiences at churches and organizations across the country. Sarah lives with her husband and son and baby-on-the-way in St. Joseph, Missouri