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Four words that sum up the entire ethos of motherhood — ‘How can I help?’: Katie Prejean McGrady

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Moments after my daughter was born, I began to lose consciousness. As I held my child, the nurses lowered the bed to help me feel less dizzy and bring up my blood pressure. But my doctor didn’t realize they were lowering the bed, and as the angle changed, the placenta fell to the floor.

At that moment, the door to the hospital room opened and in walked my mom.

Katie Prejean McGrady is an international Catholic speaker and author. (CNS photo/courtesy Katie Prejean McGrady)

I’d always imagined childbirth would be akin to a Hallmark movie — there’d be soft piano music and the scent of lavender in the air, soft light cast upon my laboring body. It felt more like a Stephen King novel to be honest, especially as medical waste landed on the floor and my mother walked into a scene from Carrie.

Even as I was losing consciousness as I lay flat, my husband now holding our daughter, I knew my mom was in the room. I heard her voice, clear and firm, as she saw the scene before her and instantly said, “How can I help?”

Four words, spoken by my mom with confidence and clarity, that sum up the entire ethos of motherhood.

Moms help.

Mothers step into the chaos, noise, mess and confusion of life and are able to jump right in, offering insight and wisdom along with hands to clean, a shoulder to lean on, a lap to cuddle on, a wise word to offer correction, a work ethic that puts Fortune 500 CEO’s to shame, and a patient ear to listen.

Moms help.

Mothers don’t size up a situation and only do the bare minimum, but rather they enter fully in, every drop of their time, energy and talent poured out for those in need, be it spouse, children, friend, co-worker or perfect stranger.

Moms help.

Mothers walk into a room, with a placenta on the floor and their daughter lying dizzy in a hospital bed, take one look at their shirtless son-in-law holding their first grandchild, and instantly offer to do what needs to be done — grab a mop, pick up a bucket and clean up the mess.

The nurses ushered my mom over to me lying in the bed, and she leaned forward to tell me how proud she was of me, how beautiful Rose was, and to ask me what I needed in that moment. I told her I wanted her to meet her granddaughter right away, and my mom looked down at me and smiled and said, “But I need to be with my first baby first. Really, what do you need?”

A couple hours later, she and my dad returned with adult diapers and a peach shake from Chick-Fil-A, because, and this cannot be stressed enough, moms help.

In a world that devalues a lot and passive aggressively criticizes those who fight for the family, we need moms now more than ever who know their mission and vocation is to help.

Because it’s moms who often juggle all the tasks, fight for justice, comfort the wounded and defend the weak. It’s moms who are there ensuring their kids have what they need while simultaneously figuring out meal plans, work schedules and taking inventory of the pantry so the house doesn’t run out of fruit snacks. It’s moms who walk into the messes of life, big and small, and offer to help without hesitation and give in ways only they can give.

When Gabriel spoke to Mary and told her she’d give birth to the Messiah, she said, “Let it be done.” She helped. In the most profound yet simple way imaginable, the Blessed Mother helped usher in our salvation. And every mom is invited and challenged to, and often does, the same — sizing up the situations before her and helping in the way that only she can.

As Mother’s Day approaches, let’s pray in gratitude for moms and tell them we see their efforts, love them for all that they are and celebrate their vocation to help.

Katie Prejean McGrady is an international Catholic speaker and author from Lake Charles, Louisiana. She is the host of the Ave Explores podcast and her four books can be found at www.avemariapress.com. She and her husband are parents to 2-year-old Rose and is expecting baby No. 2 in September.