Mother’s Day has not been the easiest holiday for me to cope with for the last few years, which is one reason I waited to write about it this year. I also didn’t want to rain on anyone’s parade. As uncomfortable as I sometimes feel about Mother’s Day, I wouldn’t want anyone to feel the same way because my situation is radically different from theirs. Much as I struggle with the day, it’s not fair to not honor the great moms out there, especially the ones that I love and adore. I have two friends who are new moms to adopted children; I have several friends and my sister-in-law who are new moms to babies born in the last year; and I have friends who are expecting new additions to their families this Mother’s Day. And don’t forget my own mom, Blessed (I stood up to type that, so that you can say I have risen up to call you “blessed” :)). These women should be celebrated!
For the last three or four years, I have manufactured a reason to avoid church on Mother’s Day so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the social awkwardness I feel in that situation. It’s hard to sit in a service and listen to praises of the moms who are present – the instructions to “Give your mom a break today,” and the special gifts like flowers and books that are sometimes given out are difficult to navigate. What should I do when they ask all of the mothers to stand so everyone can applaud them? What should I do if someone tries to hand me a flower after church? What if they do baby dedication on Mother’s Day again? What if I can’t stop crying and embarrass myself? Clearly, I have issues with Jesus’s command not to worry. 😉 But aside from that, my weirdness about the situation is not a reason to call off Mother’s Day for everyone, so I simply kept myself out of the situation.
Thankfully, this year was different. I’m not sure exactly why, but I was not afraid this year. In general, I finally feel like a whole person again; plus, I cried all the way through a sermon about a month ago, and the world didn’t end. No one looked at me like a crazy person; no one stood up and pointed at me bawling like an idiot in the choir loft. In short, if I can’t stop crying, I now know I will not be embarrassed. So last week, I felt secure in the knowledge that there were people who knew my story and loved me, and that was a tremendous Mother’s Day gift for me.
I had already decided before church that I would participate as a mom, and anyone who didn’t understand could just wonder about it or ask me about it. But I know in my heart that I am a mother with six beautiful babies waiting for me in heaven, and I think that counts enough to stand up and be counted on Mother’s Day. One person told me Happy Mother’s Day because she just knew that, “One day, you’ll be a mom.” My mother-in-law got it right, though, with a straight up Happy Mother’s Day. It is time for me to proud that my children are in the presence of God instead of feeling ashamed of my failure to be a real mom. I am a real mom who loves her children and misses them dearly. I wonder what they do every day, and I worry that they don’t know how much they mean to me.
After a sweet friend helped me confirm it last night, I have decided I will probably answer everyone who asks that I do have six children in heaven. If nothing else, it opens a door to share why I believe that, and, more than anything else, it confirms their presence in my life. Maybe it will help people to recognize that there are a lot more grieving moms out there who can’t share their stories. Everyone deals with miscarriage differently, but everyone who experiences it grieves for their lost child in some way. I don’t know that acknowledging that in the same way we acknowledge mothers on Mother’s Day would be appropriate. Who wants to cheer or clap for something so horrible? But maybe we could offer a moment of silence or some other gentle and loving acknowledgement of the mothers in our presence who have lost children. That’s just my two cents – what do you all think?