Mothers Are Born in Love

This is the second story from the 1000 word short story competition. It’s one that deals with an issue that has hit so close to home for many of my loved ones and friends.

Mothers Are Born In Love

Amy staggered to the rocking chair, her strength spent. The worst of the cramps were past, the bleeding slowed, but nothing could staunch the flow of despair at the loss of her fourth pregnancy. None made it past 20 weeks despite fervent prayers, fasts, and priesthood blessings. Now she sat rocking and wondering why God refused to grant her deepest desire – to be a mother.

After sobbing herself hoarse in the shower, Amy crawled into bed. The intensity of her despair kept her from kneeling. She needed to pray now more than ever, but her heart was shattered and the loss hung over her heavily. 

It was only after her eyes finally closed that she felt a tap on her shoulder.  She turned quickly and saw Camille, a sister in her ward and mother of five wiggly, wonderful children. Camille was the absolute poster child of what Amy longed to be. Beautiful, trim and with arms full of babies that seemed to appear there effortlessly. Tonight she was dressed in a simple white robe. Secretly Amy could hardly talk to her for jealousy, but Camille was always friendly, which only made Amy feel worse than ever. But here in her dreams tonight with the pain of loss so raw in her chest, there were no holds barred.

“What do you want,” she snapped at Camille. If Camille was shocked by Amy’s rudeness she didn’t show it. 

“I’m here to show you your children,” Camille said, motioning for Amy to follow.

“What?!” Amy scrambled after her, her heart racing. Looking down below them, Camille pointed. Amy hurried to her side. A group of little children sat in a church classroom. Amy’s heart deflated. She recognized them as her CTR 5 class.

“Those aren’t my children,” she said bitterly, turning away. She loved her little class, but it wasn’t the same.

Camille stepped toward her, tapping her forehead gently. “See,” she said.

Suddenly Amy was no longer in the darkness with Camille, but standing in the foyer of little Alice’s house. 

“Goodbye, honey. I have to go to work now.” Alice’s mother waved aside the drawing in Alice’s tiny hands and gave quick instructions to the teenaged babysitter before rushing out the door. The moment it closed the teen plugged her earbuds in and plopped on the couch, phone in hand. Alice sighed, taking her picture to her room where a photo of her and Amy sat on the dresser. It was a simple Christmas gift that Amy had passed out months before. “Look Sis. Marshall. You always love my drawings.” She told her beloved Primary teacher all about her artwork. Amy watched, her heart squeezing painfully. She’d never considered the impact she had on her little students or what her attention meant to them when they felt lonely.

Yet her heart ached. “But they’re not mine!” she said, “They’re not mine, not really!”

“Who becomes the family of Christ but those who love Him,” Camille said.

Amy closed her eyes against bitter tears. When she opened them again she was looking down on the dance class she taught each week at the community center. Young teens from the surrounding neighborhoods learned to move to the music and stay out of trouble. 

“When you come to see what your body is capable of, you learn to respect it,” she was telling the group at the end of class, “You care about what you put into it because now you see that you’re worthy of the best.”

As the youth turned to leave one girl spoke to another, “She’s the only one who makes me feel like I can do anything.”

The other girl nodded, “Mrs. Marshall is the reason I quit smoking. She’s right. When you treat your body good you can dance better than ever.”

“If she hadn’t asked me to, I never would have had the courage to dance at all,” a boy interjected as they walked down the sidewalk. Their voices faded and suddenly Amy was alone with Camille again. Her breath caught in her throat as the impact of their words settled over her. 

“Not every child comes from your womb, but every mother is born in love,” Camille said from behind her.

The scene changed again and her husband Scott was at the door of their apartment, letting in one of his tutoring students. Abe was young and troubled, but when her husband’s sessions concluded, Amy was exceptionally adept at drawing a smile and conversation from Abe’s lips. Her famous cookies might have had something to do with it. Abe’s mother leaned in and whispered to Scott, “You know, your wife is the only reason that boy studies. Something about their friendship makes him want to do well where my words only lead to arguments. I thank God everyday for her. You’ll tell her won’t you?”

Scott nodded. He’d told her, but Amy was in the throes of another miscarriage and all she heard was that she could help someone else’s child but not have her own. Now her ears were open.

“No one tells us what our trials will be, but we choose how we endure them,” Camille said. Her arm was around Amy’s shoulders as tears dripped down Amy’s face. “One day you will be a mother. It’s up to you when.”

“You mean I can choose when I’ll have a baby?” Amy asked hopefully.

“No,” Camille looked into her eyes, her face filled with compassion, “You can choose when to believe you’re a mother.”

The words echoed in Amy’s mind. When she woke the next morning, her body was still sore from the aftermath of her loss, but her heart was different. She rolled out of bed and onto her knees. With tearful voice she prayed for help, for comfort and for hope. Her closing words were, “….And please help me to see my children.”

2 Comments

  1. Heather Scott
    Feb 14, 2012

    Christene! I love your work- it gave me chills. I so look forward to your book when it gets published. Keep me updated! I’ve already learned a lot from your example. Also, hubby and I are trying to do everything we can to get me a spot in the writers retreat. I hope to see you soon.
    <3, Heather

    • Christene Houston
      Feb 14, 2012

      Heather, thanks for the kind words! It has been a joint venture in hope and taking a risk for my husband and I too. I’ll be looking for you in April! You’ve got to write, girl!

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