tomorrow is Mother's Day.
for some women, it's a day of rejoicing and making memories, especially if you do the whole breakfast-in-bed thing. if you attend church, most likely you'll be asked to stand up and people will clap for you and you might also get a flower. if you go out to lunch with your kids, you'll be wished a Happy Mother's Day by total strangers. and although they may tell you throughout the year, you will especially, on this day, treasure hearing those tiny voices yell I LOVE YOU MOMMY!
but for other women, it's a day of emotional dread and deep sorrow. no small feet will patter to your door to bring you toast and tea in bed. you may skip church because it's just too painful for you to stay seated when the moms are asked to stand up. if you go to lunch, strangers will not even look at you. and you can only wonder what the tiny voice that would have told you "i love you mommy" would have sounded like.
for women struggling with infertility and pregnancy loss, to say Mother's Day is difficult is an understatement indeed. no one can see the children you never bore, and your motherhood is a bittersweet secret that you hold in your scarred heart.
someone asked me a few days ago if i was excited to celebrate "my first Mother's Day." honestly? i have mixed feelings. you see, this is actually my fourth Mother's Day, and it is only by some undeserved miracle that i am able to celebrate this one with a living child. and rather than forgetting the three Tummymuffins that preceded him, the sheer vitality and exuberant life of my baby makes his siblings climb out of the shadow realms of concept and into the reminders of their former reality. i stroke his silky small head and wonder about the color of their hair. i hear his little coos and i think about what their voices would have sounded like. and when L looks into my eyes and wraps his adorable smile around my heart, i imagine what the shape of their mouths would have been had they ever smiled up at me. the joy coexists with the sorrow; one does not take from the other.
this Mother's Day i would ask: please be sensitive and compassionate to the secret mothers. if you know a woman who is dealing with infertility or pregnancy loss, acknowledge the children you don't see. she won't have forgotten them; showing that you haven't either is truly a great gift of love.
and to those of you who called me a mother over these last few years even as i was struggling with the immense promise and despair in that title, i am immensely grateful. thank you.