On Tuesday, Matt and I sat on the coach with huge grins on our faces as we felt the baby eagerly kick. A small piece of my heart began to once again glow with happiness.
Sometimes when women become pregnant again after a loss, we distance ourselves for a while from the life growing inside of us out of fear that we may lose that baby too. It is easy to forget the joy that motherhood brings when we are attempting to work through the pain of a loss.
But when I felt that first kick, a small piece of my heart softened again, and I was reminded of the other side of motherhood. With Mother’s Day looming, I really needed that kick this week.
I think the best way to describe how I feel about Mother’s Day this year is “conflicted.” Part of my heart is thankful for my own wonderful mother and is overjoyed to be a mother of two beautiful children. There is another part of my heart that hates the reminder that comes with Mother’s Day – the fact that one of those children is no longer with us here on earth.
We are the invisible, the silent, and the easily overlooked mothers. We are the mothers who have lost a child – the ones who will never get the privilege of seeing our child take their first steps, get their driver’s license, or graduate from college. We are the ones whose motherly duties involve keeping the memory of our child alive and acknowledging their short life.
If there is one thing I could tell the world this Mother’s Day, it would be this: There isn’t a certain length of time with your child that magically makes you a mother.
Some are given hours or days, while others are given years, or decades with their children. There is no set number of days, weeks, months, or years that makes you a mother.
I share this not so you will be saddened on a day set aside to celebrate motherhood. I share this so that we as a culture will be more sensitive to the fact that there are women of all ages who carry a heavy heart on this day. This is something that I had never considered before this year.
I am not the only one who finds Mother’s Day a bit challenging. In addition to those who have lost children at any stage of life, there are many others who find Mother’s Day to be difficult including those who have lost mothers and those who have struggled with infertility.
For people like us, it is easy to dwell on the sad emotions that can come from a day like today. However, I think it is important to celebrate motherhood in general.
We should celebrate the fact that women past and present have chosen to sacrifice for their children. We should celebrate the fact that each one of us comes from a mother who carried us for many months and then brought us into this world. We should celebrate the women, whether our biological mothers or not, who encouraged us to do our best and to be successful in life.
In addition to our own mothers, we as a society should celebrate motherhood in general and its importance in our world.
On this Mother’s Day afternoon, I am going sit on the couch attempting to feel the tiny baby inside me moving around. When the conflicting feelings about this holiday inevitably begin to stir inside me, I am going to attempt to focus on the beauty of motherhood. I am going to thank God for my own mother, for my mother-in-law, for my grandmothers, for my godmother, for giving me the opportunity to be a mother, and for all the ways that motherhood has positively impacted so many people.