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A Mother’s Heart

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I’ve been a bit emotional while working on this particular issue of the magazine. You see, when it comes to mothers and kids—in utero to toddlers, tweens, teens and everything in between—my mama heart often empathizes to the point of pain.

This is your first child and he has a fever? My heart aches for you. Let me tell you about the acetaminophen and ibuprofen combo plus lukewarm baths that will bring it down. I’ve been there and it will be okay, Mama.

Your kid scored their first soccer goal? I’m cheering with you. First Communion? Thank you, Jesus! Struggling to make it through Mass? Oh yeah, been there, done that. Let me hold your baby so you can focus on your toddler. Tween angst? Oof. Let’s commiserate over coffee. Fighting with your spouse? I’ll listen without judgment and pray for you both.

And this is not some phenomenon unique to me. When I told my mom friends recently that I had been in and out of Children’s Hospital for a week of diagnostic testing on my son, they all empathized and wanted to help. I had friends offer to sit with me at the hospital through an MRI; moms who jumped in to watch my other children; and a friend whose children made my son a “Get Well” card. I even called a mom friend to put her on backup babysitting alert as we ran to the ER in the middle of the night. I was so worried my son would head into surgery and I’d need my husband by my side. She didn’t even hesitate—going so far as to text me at 3 a.m. to make sure we were still okay, even with her own littles fast asleep at home.

While I speak specifically of moms here, I know many dads, grandparents and friends without children who, no questions asked, would do all of the above and more. Maybe it harkens back to the “It takes a village mentality,” but it’s in our DNA, in our God-given souls, to help mothers, fathers and children. And beyond just the simple desire to help, it is our calling as Catholics to not only support pregnant women, but to care for them and their children beyond birth.

This issue of the magazine shares just a fraction of the amazing ways we, as Catholics, do that. There are pregnancy care centers and organizations that help young moms who are floundering after giving birth. There are groups who help families get beds and find shelter and those who advocate for education. All of these organizations exist, yes, because we deeply desire to help others, but also because we believe in the dignity of human life; that God formed each and every one of us for some definite purpose. And though life on earth is fraught with struggles, suffering, confusion and mistakes, God gave us empathy, a desire to help and the means to do so.

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