The mother who is……
Crying in the middle of the grocery store reading Mother’s Day cards
Frozen in a rocking chair wondering if her child is going to make it through the night
Praying the diagnosis can’t be true -it can’t possibly be true
I UNDERSTAND you! Although, my life is different now -it doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten. Events wedged in my brain such as dressing my daughter in Barbie doll clothes when she passed away, the first Mother’s Day after my initial miscarriage when I was looking at Mother’s Day cards to send and tears wouldn’t stop flooding my face, the ultrasound where they couldn’t detect a heartbeat, waking up in a pile of blood, having contractions and going in shock in a shower in Mexico, listening to my sister’s voice when she talked about another infertility treatment and so desperately wanting to be a mother, or hearing mother’s in a hospital room beg for their child’s healing. Events that made Mother’s Day not flowers and restaurants, but true, passionate, deep, messy, cut to the bone pain. The type of pain where you have to make it through Mother’s Day and every other day piece by piece and moment by moment.
Now I have a younger daughter. She is alive, breathing, and well and she gets excited about Mother’s Day. Most Mother’s Days – breakfast in bed is a happy occasion, but at some point in the day I remember my daughter Hope and my unnamed child. I remember the other mothers who know Mother’s Day can be scary, confusing, and teary-eyed. It can be about the woman who wishes she would have a child, the woman who has lost her child, the woman who misses her child, or the woman who is scared of losing her child.
My belief is the moment we hear we’re going to be a mother, we become mothers and we grow this gigantic amount of love and responsibility inside of us before we even know who this person is. I remember loving Hope the moment she was a line on a stick or a kick in my belly. It’s unexplainable, but it’s true. We ate rice cakes and peanut butter together. I skipped riding rollercoasters. She had a suitcase filled with Disney souvenirs. Then the bad news came. We were told if Hope made it through the pregnancy, which was a big if, that Hope would suffer. We were told there was no percent chance of Hope having quality of life. The word “suffer” kept ringing through my ears. No mother wants her child to suffer, so, my decision was a conversation with God and to let him know no matter what Hope’s destiny couldn’t be about suffering. Unfortunately, God’s plan was to make her an angel before I hoped, but he had answered my prayer…Hope would not suffer. He had also answered my prayers when I asked questions such as – why couldn’t I have protected her? Why had I failed at being a mother? Through my story, God knew I hadn’t failed, but would eventually heal others. There was also the call about adopting a baby boy. The parents were conflicted about us and another couple at another agency. Initially, they said they wanted to meet both sets of parents before making a decision, but on the day we were to meet the parents we were told the couple no longer wanted to meet us. Instead they decided upon the other couple. Again, another blow. I can still remember asking why didn’t this couple want to get to know us? My husband’s response was perhaps God made this child for the other family and deep down I agreed, but it still hurt. In full honesty, I questioned at this moment, and after a year of waiting, if the dream of motherhood would ever happen. Coming home to an empty room was painstakingly hard. For many women, going to baby showers, listening to horrifying news stories of child abuse, surviving Mother’s Day, or seeing children and mothers on the street when your dreams of motherhood is up in the air, can tear at you. For those who don’t know any of these stories, please be thankful, but please don’t judge when someone who does understand the story declines your baby shower or child’s B-Day party invite. Truthfully, we are only trying to save you and ourselves from more pain. For those who do accept your invite, please understand their courage because it is a decision to move forward everyday. In my life, it took a ton of faith and seeing the story unfold with my youngest daughter to know God had another plan.
For those who understand my story, there is a time when all you are is scared of not knowing all of the answers or being able to control destiny. However, there’s a moment where you realize you have to surrender because it will break you. You have to learn what it means to move forward. Women are stronger than we can imagine, but part of strength is not fighting the battle alone. It is not about giving up the fight, but surrendering to the one who can lead us the best. God understands our thoughts, our hearts, and all of the junk we have to sort through to be mothers.
From my own experience, motherhood, in itself, is a unique role only those who have the job completely understand. We play house as children and think we know what it means, but can never understand what it is like until we’re mothers. Quite frankly, we think motherhood automatically occurs, we’ll know how to do it right, and nothing will ever go wrong. Then we grow up and real life happens such as infertility, miscarriages, untimely pregnancies, illness, behavioral concerns, etc. There is no manual for being a mother or any type of manual for tough circumstances and tough decisions. We just accept the role and pray for the best. When the best doesn’t happen, it can shake us to the core. For me, God had to be my manual.
Again, I don’t want to take away the blessing of being a mother or the celebration of being a mother because all mothers deserve Mother’s Day (whether they have gone through a loss or not), but want to personally honor the Moms and women who may not be smiling on this day. The mothers and women who want to delete the day from the calendar. The mothers who feel guilty or broken. The mothers who Mother’s Day may remind them of a lost hope, dream, or reality. For these women, I want to say to not give up in God’s plan. Keep praying. Know your story is not solely about tragedy. The story may not have yet unfolded in your life, but someday you will understand. Someday you will be able to eat breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day and smile. I promise.
A Mother Who Understands