As Mother’s Day approaches once again, I brace myself for the roller coaster of feelings that inevitably come with it. Eleven years ago, after months of preparing for our first child, my husband and I had a beautiful baby girl on Mother’s Day. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Until you hear that due to complications sustained during birth, she died in my arms three days later.
In the years since our loss we have joyously welcomed two more beautiful girls to our family. And for that reason, Mother’s Day causes emotional whiplash on my heart each year. Part of my heart is still (and will always be) wounded from the loss of my first precious child. Part of me re-lives her birth and loss each year. Part of me feels bitterness toward those who don’t have to include a trip to the cemetery in their Mother’s Day plans. Part of me wants to scream at the mothers I hear complaining about things they ‘had to do’ on Mother’s Day. Things like visiting their in-laws, cooking their own food, cleaning something, or losing sleep for their children. Do they not see that the children are the gift? What more does a mother need?
My girls are enough
The other part of me wants to celebrate the blessing of having two healthy children. I want to savor the time snuggling with them in bed on Mother’s Day morning. I want to soak up the joy they have when presenting me with their handmade cards and gifts. I want to hear their stories and laugh at their attempted jokes. I want to record their faces and voices in my head so I have them forever. I want them to know they make their mother so happy and proud that I feel my heart could explode. Most of all, I want them to grow up and know that they are enough.
I am grateful
For these reasons, I approach Mother’s Day like a mother would. I attempt to do it all. I try to honor the gifts of my children, the angel and the living. I think back to that first Mother’s Day, with some sadness, and with a whole lot of gratitude. I am grateful for the three days I had with her. I am grateful for the husband who shared all of this with me (and stayed). I am grateful for the love and support of family and friends who surrounded us. I am grateful for the wonderful tribe of angel moms I have met as a result. I am grateful for the increased capacity for love and compassion with which this experience left me. And most of all, I have so much gratitude for the amazing earthly children I have.
My wish for mothers
As Mother’s Day comes upon us again, my hope would be that mothers would take more time to reflect on the blessings they have and spend less time thinking about what they think they deserve simply because their lives were blessed with children. Specifically, my wish for all on Mother’s Day is to love the mother who has lost a child, love the child who has lost a mother, and love the woman who wanted to become a mother and never had the chance.