If Mother’s Day is about love, it’s also about loss and longing, which are wrapped up with love. Honoring the love of mothers means also honoring the pain that comes with Mother’s Day. Because in all the circles of our lives, women are hurting today. They are mourning losses and unfulfilled longings. Some have lost children; some have lost their mother. Some grieve for the babies they could never bear; some grieve for the mother they never knew, or the relationship with her that was never what they dreamed. Some weep for children gone astray, or for children who face myriad challenges.
Somewhere a woman and her children are suddenly alone, and she finds herself embarking on a single motherhood that she never planned for her life.
Somewhere a woman who made the brave and loving decision to place her baby for adoption aches for the child she carried, but feels judged and demonized for her careful choice.
Somewhere a woman is staring at yet another single line on a pregnancy test; somewhere a woman is waiting for another bland and clinical phone call from her doctor, telling her that this IVF, too, was unsuccessful.
Somewhere a woman is innocently preparing for an ultrasound that will shock her with the worst news of her life.
Somewhere a woman is waiting, wondering if her turn for marriage and motherhood will ever come; and another woman is wondering why other people think she should desire those things when she doesn’t.
For every woman celebrating on Mother’s Day, there must be at least one who wishes it would just go away.
Last year Mother’s Day fell the month after we buried our son. The day was torture—not because I didn’t love and cherish our living children, but because I realized I would never again celebrate with my whole family. This year I have a new reason to rejoice—our sweet Baby Petunia—but every year we celebrate, we will still feel the hole where Simon should be. My mom doesn’t get to celebrate with both her children because my brother passed away almost three years ago. For us, and for so many other women, Mother’s Day holds both joy and sorrow. . . .
To those who endure grief on Mother’s Day: I am deeply sorry. I hope you are touched with love today, somehow, through the pain. I hope you feel that your sorrows are seen, and that your love and your losses are honored.
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