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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Birth (infancy) (08/20/09)

TITLE: A Painful Topic
By Helen Dowd


BIRTH! Write about BIRTH? I can't! BIRTH! That is a painful topic for me. I've never had the experience. The Lord didn't allow me to have a child. I remember a time when I wanted to become pregnant so badly that I imagined that I was.

At that time, I went into the hospital for some sort of female problem. I thought I was pregnant. They gave me a pregnancy test, which was supposed to let me know in 3 days if it was positive or negative. When I learned the result, I cried my eyes out. I phoned my husband to tell him the unhappy news. He said words that were supposed to be a comfort to me. "I don't care if we never have children. You mean more to me than 10 children."

That made me cry all the more. I wanted so badly to be able to present him with a sonóJames, after his grandfather, was the name I had picked out for our first boy. Or even if I been able to present him with a daughter, Jessie Bea, after my mother and his mother, I know he would have been just as happy. But NO! the doctor had just informed me that I was NEVER to bear a child. I couldn't have felt more EMPTY. I just wanted to crawl into a hole and die.

And wouldn't you know it? The day after I got out of the hospital, a friend, with her newborn baby, came to visit. Smiling from ear to ear, she held out her bundle of joy and said, "Would you like to hold the baby?"

"No!" I shot back, running from the room to the bathroom, where I stayed until I felt ashamed. I think I would have dropped him, had I held him. My face still burns when I think of that experience.

SO! Can I write about BIRTH? No! Tears still come to my eyes when I think back on those days.

But wait a minute! "Stop being so self-centered," I heard a voice inside me saying. "No one said BIRTH had to be about YOUR BIRTH experience."

My mind took me on a little trip then: "What about Hannah, the mother of Samuel? Does that ring a bell?" Of course it does. "Remember how badly she wanted a son? Remember the taunting and persecution she went through from her husband's other wife? Remember the promise she made to God if He would give her a son?" Of course I do. "And God answered her prayer. And what about Sarah? Wasn't that an impossibility? Remember how, at a very old age God heard her cry, even if it may have been a secret cry. And look at what came of that? Isaac! Isaac, the father of Jacob (Israel)! And how about another impossible BIRTH? Elizabeth gave birth to John the Baptist when she was far past child bearing age. And don't forget Mary, the unwed young woman who became the mother of our Lord. Remember her BIRTH experience? Stop being so self-centered. Think of those BIRTH experiences."

"What's that got to do with me?" I argue. Nothing. But the rebuke shouted at me for being so self-centered. If God had wanted me to experience BIRTH, He would have allowed it.

Now to bring my report up to date: No, I have never had the BIRTH experience. But God has allowed me to be a mother, nonetheless. My 86 year old neighbor calls me Mother all the time because she says I look after her. I have a friend in Nakuru, somewhere in Africa, who addresses me as Mum, and another friend, also whom I have never met, in Lagos, Nigeria, who calls me Mum. Along with the rebuke, came those soothing reminders.

BIRTH! Write about BIRTH? In conclusion: Now I am old. No, I have never had the experience of BIRTH, nor have I had the pleasure of experiencing the BIRTH of grandchildren or great-grandchildren, but I am happy and content that God has allowed me to be a surrogate mother to many. And I am happy that I can now rejoice with the young people who have recently experienced the joy of bringing another child into the world.

"Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows ... so are children. " Psalm 127:3-5

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 09/01/09
You express your emotions SO clearly here - and the rawness of it, and your contentment at the end-- definitely spoke to me. Good job.
Lisa Johnson09/01/09
Your pain at not physically being a Mom shows, but your joy at being a surrogate (spiritual?) mom also shines through. Thanks for sharing your story.
Mariane Holbrook 09/07/09
This had to be painful for you to write, Helen. But you expressed the feelings of many the way you so sensitively handled this topic. I have found your work to be an honest reflection of your character, telling it just like it is. God bless you as you minister to others so beautifully here on the Challenge, with your web site and also with your wonderful book. If I could, I would buy a copy for every person in Faith Writers. It's that good and it has blessed so many people!