I thought I would share this beautiful Buddhist poem about mothers and parenthood.
It touched my heart, I hope it touches yours...
Kind, Pitiful, our refuge she that fed us at her breast.
A mother is the way to heaven, and thee she loveth best.
She nursed and fostered us with care; graced with good gifts is she,
A mother is the way to heaven, and best she loveth thee.
Craving a child in prayer she kneels each holy shrine before.
The changing season closely scans and studies astral lore.
Pregnant in course of time she feels her tender longings grow,
And soon the unconscious babe begins a loving friend to know.
Her treasure for a year or less she guards with utmost care,
Then brings it forth and from that day a mother's name will bear.
With milky breast and lullaby she soothes the fretting child,
Wrapped in his comforter's warm arms his woes are soon beguiled.
Watching o'er him, poor innocent, lest wind or hear annoy,
His fostering nurse she may be called, to cherish thus her boy.
What gear his sire and mother have she hoards for him "May be,"
She thinks, "Some day, my dearest child, it all may come to thee."
"Do this or that, my darling boy," the worried mother cries,
And when he is grown to man's estate, she still laments and sighs,
He goes in reckless mood to see a neighbor's wife at night,
She fumes and frets, "Why will he not return while it is light?"
If one thus reared with anxious pains his mother should neglect,
Playing her false, what doom, I pray, but hell can he expect?
Those that love wealth o'er much, 'tis said, their wealth will soon be lost
One that neglects a mother soon will rue it to his cost.
Those that love wealth o'er much, 'tis said, their wealth will soon be lost.
One that neglects a father soon will rue it to his cost.
Gifts, loving speech, kind offices together with the grace
Of calm indifference of mind shown in time and place —
These virtues to the world are as linchpin to chariot wheel.
These lacking, still a mother's name to children would appeal.
A mother like the sire should with reverent honor be crowned,
Sages approve the man in whom those virtues may be found.
Thus parents worthy of all praise, a high position own,
By ancient sages Brahma called. So great was their renown.
Kind parents from their children should receive all reverence due,
He that is wise will honor them with service good and true.
He should provide them food and drink, bedding and raiment meet,
Should bathe them and anoint with oil and duly wash their feet.
So filial services like these sages his praises sound
Here in this world, and after death in heaven his joys bound.
— Jataka translation Vol. V pp. 173, 174