Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Missing Season of Mentoring

I've been thinking a lot about how eager and willing we are to mentor younger women in their new seasons of life. Entering college, adapting to a career, being a newlywed, stepping into new ministry roles, or becoming a mom are exciting times. It can be fun and satisfying to walk with our younger friends through them. I think women are generally eager to share and pass on their knowledge. I can name every person God used to mentor me through those seasons and I'm really grateful they poured into me. 

One thing I hardly ever hear other women talk about is the end of the season of childbearing. I don't mean menopause because I know for a fact that women like to talk about that. When I was a recent college grad I worked in the office at Living Proof and I got quite an education. But it seems like most women in our culture end childbearing before they truly reach menopause. 

I'm just not sure there's a lot of mentoring in the ending of childbearing. Why do you think that is?  Is it because no one hires a photographer to send out "We're done reproducing!" announcements and no Pinterest boards with great ideas for "We're moving on!" reveal parties? Is it because this isn't very exciting and therefore it's unseen? Maybe it's just too private a matter. (But let's be honest. We get down to the nitty gritty about childbirth. Do we care that much about privacy?) 

Where is the 30-day devotional about this topic? Publishers send me new books every week but I haven't come across this one yet. And I don't remember seeing it as a breakout session at a conference for moms. Maybe it was there but it just seemed irrelevant at the time.

When every mom faces the end of the baby years at some point, it seems strange that it isn't talked about more. If I'm missing the voices that are discussing it publicly, please point me in their direction. I mean that.

I don't know about you, but I need to hear these stories. I need to know what it looks like to move on gracefully even though there is heartache. It would be really powerful to know the stories of the older women in my village. I need to take the time to ask them these kinds of questions: Why did it end for you? Was it your decision or was it because of circumstances out of your control? Did you and your husband agree on when it was time to be done? If not, how did you come to peace? Five years later, did you have regrets? Do you have regrets now? Did it end on a high note or with trauma? Is it even possible for this season to end on a high note? Is this painful for everyone? 

I need to shut my self-important mouth and listen to them speak. 

If you have already walked this path, your wisdom has tremendous value. You may not get an announcement in the mail from the one who needs it, but she will be relieved when you come alongside her share this part of your story.