Mothers Day can be a sore spot for women who have lost their baby. This past Sunday was Bereaved Mothers Day and of course this Sunday is "regular" Mothers Day.
I kind of understand the sentiment behind a Bereaved Mothers Day but part of me also wonders why bereaved mothers can't be celebrated with all the other mothers? The answer to that one is pretty simple actually: We live in a society that doesn't seem to want to acknowledge the mothers that don't have their babies with them. So we had to create our own special day.
I came across a wonderfully written article over at Still Standing online magazine (a wonderful place to browse!) and it started off with this quote:
"A mother is not defined by the number of children you see but by the love that she holds in her heart." ~Franchesca Cox
I can't agree more! I mean what really makes a mother? It really all boils down to loving your child in a way only a mother can. Which we can do even if our baby is not in our arms. I know many mothers who aren't blessed to have living children that don't feel like "real" mothers because their babies have died. And they are often left out of being celebrated on Mothers Day for the same reason.
But guess what? Even if your baby did not make it, YOU ARE STILL A MOTHER! Don't ever let yourself be treated like you aren't.
Personally, I am very lucky to have two living children but Mothers Day is very bittersweet because I don't have all of my children here with me. I get to spend the day with my wonderful and lively kids but I am also reminded of the two children that are missing. I keep this passage of scripture in my back pocket:
"If a man owns a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the 99 on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?" ~Matthew 18:12
I know myself and several other mothers have been told things like, "At least you still have your living children." I think of that verse often in response to those statements. Yes, I am very blessed to have my two living children. Obviously I am very aware of that. But it does not lessen my pain. And for the women who do not have living children, they are told to just be thankful for their husband or their family or their job or whatever this well-meaning person thinks to say. But it doesn't lessen the ache in their empty arms. We are still mothers, we will always grieve that loss.
A friend of mine posted a wonderful statement in regards to Mothers Day:
"I think one of the issues in our culture is that we are better at celebrating mothers than we are at honoring them. A celebration is more likely to alienate those mothers who are grieving in some way, while honoring mothers is a more inclusive approach to Mothers Day. I do think celebrations are healthy but I think it would be better to remember the part where we honor people."
I really like that little insight. Celebrate vs. honor. It really is hard to celebrate a mother whose arms are missing one of her children. How do you celebrate that?!? But you can honor her certainly.
And just for the record, Mothers Day was founded by a woman named Anna Jarvis to honor her mother Ann, who had survived the loss of seven of her children. Seven! Mothers day began in the first place to honor a bereaved mother!!
So to all my mommy friends out there who have lost one or more of their children, I want to say to you Happy Mothers Day. You are a mother no matter how many children people see (or don't see) you out and about with. You are a mother because of the love that's in your heart.