Wed | Dec 1, 2021

Garth Rattray | The privilege of motherhood

Published:Monday | May 10, 2021 | 12:06 AM

“The mother is everything − she is our consolation in sorrow, our hope in misery, and our strength in weakness. She is the source of love, mercy, sympathy, and forgiveness.” – Khalil Gibran

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” (The Bible – Psalm 127:3)

Once the egg is fertilised, it is usually wafted through the Fallopian tube and into the womb, where hormones already prepared the womb to receive the gift of life. It is nestled there while it accesses nourishment and oxygen from the pregnant womb. The foetus grows, transforms itself, transposes cells, tissues, organs and systems, all the while protected from harm for forty weeks.

The womb is more than just an incubator; it plays a crucial role in influencing the development of the foetus and in affecting some of the lifelong physical and psychological traits of the future baby and adult. Chemicals accessed by the foetus may determine some endocrine, sexual and even personality nuances. Some believe that the foetus also reacts to certain types of music, discord, anger, fear, peace and love in the home environment. Therefore, a pregnant woman must be mindful of what she puts into her body and of her surroundings. The developing foetus is more than just an obligatory parasite, it is a gift from God.

The steady and comforting heartbeat of the pregnant woman soothes the developing foetus. A calm voice and loving tones all serve to influence the little one inside the womb. Birth is usually traumatic; so traumatic that it is unlikely that any adult could survive the same physical stresses that babies endure during birth. The constriction, oxygen depletion and sudden emergence into a cold, harsh world are monumental. There is no weaning period, babies must suddenly feed and breathe for themselves. It is a good thing that the mother awaits her new arrival with open arms, places her baby on her warm chest, and suckles the child to the familiar rhythm of her nearby heartbeat.


Every child is a precious blessing, every child belongs to God, every child is given to parents to mould into the best that he or she can be. Every child responds positively to love and is deformed by hate. No one can love a child as much as, or more than, a mother. It is incumbent on mothers to learn and grow with their children; it is an unspoken decree from God. Fathers are supposed to provide the masculine influence, the physical support and the psychological backing. But mothers are supposed to provide the day- by-day nurturing that children need in order to develop into wholesome adults.

Writer and poet Khalil Gibran said this for children: “They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you…” Children are an awesome responsibility; they are vessels of eternal souls entrusted to parents. In them lie the genetic codes for all future generations; and in them must be placed the moral codes to guide all future generations.

But our society has been warped by those parents who produce children carelessly or for selfish reasons. Some parents view children as a liability and treat them with disdain. They deny them the love, respect and the affection that they need for proper psychological development. They bark at them and abuse them, they plant seeds of hate and neglect, yet they expect to reap love and support from them later in life. They unleash vicious, cold-bloodied, home-made monsters on our society that carry out heinous crimes.

Motherhood is not just a biological function, it’s not just proof of femininity, it’s not just a method of preparing for infirmity and old-age pension; it is a privilege. It is a gift, an opportunity to provide the earthly needs of an eternal soul and to contribute positively to the future of the human race.

Garth A. Rattray is a medical doctor with a family practice. Email feedback to and