Mother's Day is one of the worst holidays for mothers who have had a loss. This is especially true for mothers who have no living children--to have to live through a day devoted to mothers only to have everyone forget that you are a mother, even though your little one is not here. Luckily, I have never had to live through the pain of a Mother's Day with no living children, but I have lots of friends who have. I have a very close friend whose son died shortly after he was born in May of 2007. Last year, she gave birth to a healthy, wonderful little girl whose very breath continues to take their breath away on a daily basis. Imagine the pain and sadness she felt when, days before what would have been her son's second birthday (last year), she got a card that said, "Congratulations on your first Mother's Day!" (emphasis mine). Imagine how much more it hurt to know that this card came from a family member.
Because it wasn't her first Mother's Day, now, was it? For two horrible, awful Mother's Days before that, she was mom to this beautiful little boy--a boy with a tremendous abundance of dark, curly hair, a cute button nose and small, pouty lips. She was a mom who had gone through labor and delivery and had nothing but some photos and the memory of him in her arms to show for it. She was a mom without her baby--and, especially on a national holiday devoted to Mothers...well, that just isn't an easy kind of mom to be.
And, of course, even if you have living children, it is still challenging to celebrate a holiday devoted to moms when you are a mom who is missing one (or more). People who celebrate with you often choose not to mention the missing one (generally with good intentions--they don't want to remind you, as if you could forget) and sometimes it feels like the whole world just "doesn't want to talk about it." But do you know what? Most moms who have had a loss do want to talk about it. Or at least we want the option to talk about it. We don't want our babies to be the proverbial Elephant In The Room. Because Mother's Day isn't just about celebrating the work mothers do, it is about celebrating the love mothers have for their children--ALL their children.
To all the mothers in my life and all their babies, Happy Mother's Day!