Motherhood is a valued profession. Even though it has lost some of its importance through the years, motherhood is on the way back to being held in high esteem.

In the Old Testament, there are many instances where motherhood was treasured, even to the point of jealousy and manipulation. Take Abraham's wife, for example. Sarah was so desperate to have a child, she gave her maidservant to her husband to bear a child for her.

Somehow, through the years, motherhood lost its worth. We, as a society, quit promoting fertility and even went to extreme measures to stop it.

What happened to "be fruitful and multiply?" What happened to appreciating and valuing motherhood?

A new trend for women truly began with World War II when numerous women entered the workplace. Women enjoyed having their own money and independence. Thus, contemporary feminism began. Women wanted to work. They wanted equal rights and pay in the workforce. And as this movement gained momentum, more means -- pills, devices, shots -- were created to suppress childbearing. By the 1960s, various forms of birth control became common practice.

There were women who still wanted a family, and they were told they could have it all -- a career and a family, just not a big family. Women became educated and began moving to the top of the workforce.

Women in the workforce is good, and it is wonderful women have the opportunity for higher education and can choose from a variety of careers. We have all profited from women in the workplace.

What happened though, was a devaluing of motherhood. If a woman chose to stay home and raise her family, she had a tendency to be labeled as boring, uninteresting, unmotivated and even lazy. If a woman has more than two children, three can be overlooked, but by number four, comments are pouring forth. "Don't you know what causes that?" "Five children? Wow. Can't they control themselves?"

I have a good friend who told me people kept asking how many children she and her husband were going to have, but after number seven, they finally quit asking. This family sees children as a gift from God, and they value all 13 of their children, so much so, the mother and father arise early every morning to pray together before their children awake and their work day begins.

I have another friend who works diligently to stay focused on God and her prayer life as she raises her two children without a husband. She does have an education and works outside the home, but she values her career as a mother more than anything.

There is another young woman I know who has a college education but refuses to leave her children, and thus, she runs a daycare out of her home.

As a female of the baby boomer generation, I had many choices in life. I've had a career. I received higher education. I made a good deal of money. I could spend without blinking an eye. But nothing made me happier than being a mother. My only regret is I didn't value it enough to have more children.

Possibly, my generation can take lessons from this new generation. The tide is turning, I believe, and being a mother will again be appreciated and valued.

This Mother's Day, let us congratulate all women who nurture others -- whether they are birth mothers or not. Mother Theresa of Calcutta nurtured many people without giving birth. She did, however, give new life to many. So, let us congratulate mothers wherever we see them -- at the grocery store, in our churches, in the workplace. And let us especially appreciate those who choose to accept children as a gift from God and not limit their family numbers.

Donetta Robben is a freelance columnist from Hays. Write to her at P.O. Box 614, Hays, KS 67601, or e-mail her at donetta@ soulcommunications.net