The Two Sides of the Motherhood Coin: Pain and Joy

[Artwork: “Mother” by Liz Lemon Swindle]

For Mother’s Day, I’ve been reflecting on the irony of motherhood. And just as there are two sides to every story #momsisalwaysright it seems to me there are two poignant sides of the motherhood coin.

There is pain. Lots of it.

It’s hurt, loss, and conflict. It’s watching your child, doing for your child, being for your child. It’s every hour–the thousands of hours–that you have put into that child. Every tear, prayer, stress, conversation, and confusion.

I’ve thought about the mothers in scripture, and what pain has been theirs.

There is Elizabeth birthing her miracle son, John the Baptist, only for him to be imprisoned and beheaded. There is Sariah, seeing her sons fight, attempt murder, and tear the family apart. There is Mary, watching her Son be mocked, beaten, and brutally crucified.

And, there is joy. Lots of it.

Elizabeth sharing a divine three-month visit with the mother of the Son of God. Sariah being guided by her son-prophet Nephi to live in the promised land. Mary seeing her Son rise from the dead, the resurrected Lord and Savior.

It is the ultimate irony.

It is profound. It is priceless. It is the epitome of purpose.

It is the crucifixion. It is the resurrection.

It is both.

In the divine partnering of emotions, pain is seared to joy. So much so that Eve burst out with this epiphany: “Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption.”

At least for me, this two-sided coin is a familiar commodity in combining the everyday motherhood and the eternal motherhood. And they are one. That the underrated mundane–cooking, cleaning, caring–is actually the powerful heart of raising a life pumped by the unseen eternal–love, sacrifice, progression.

And that makes sense.

If we are to sit at the same table with the noble and greats such as Sarah, Mary, and Eve, surely we must pay the price of our own motherhood sanctification.

This Mother’s Day, you may be experiencing a bit of both sides of the coin–of pain or joy. But they are both necessary halves of motherhood. From the birthing experience to the raising process, we cannot have one without the other.

And that knowledge brings peace.

On this day, many women will be tempted to spend it in doubt. Doubt about how they are doing or what they should do to better fulfill this overwhelming and incomprehensible calling.

But whether we are a mother of our own children or someone else’s, we do not need to doubt our ability or contribution; to wonder about what should have been or what is now. We can simply be grateful that we have the divine ability planted within us to be a mother, and the supernal opportunity to grow that seed.

From my heart, I wish you a joyful Mother’s Day, knowing that with who you are and what you daily attempt, you receive the gift of yet another exquisite coin in the heavenly account of motherhood.


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