Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and I am already seeing the blogs circulate. I am thrilled that we are speaking honestly about a day that is tender for so many of us.
As I sit outside on this Saturday afternoon with my laptop in hand, I am aware that I could write on many topics surrounding motherhood. I know the feeling of yearning to become a mother and not being able to. I know what it is like to give birth and raise a child with my husband’s eyes and my hair color. I know what it is like to mother a child that has someone else’s eyes and hair- to watch your heart and family expand through adoption.
I know what it is like to peel the white strings off of oranges because that’s the only way they will be eaten. I know what it is like to sleep, but not really, only then to stumble down the hall towards a baby that needs you. I know what it is like to be utterly vulnerable and exposed because after all, motherhood is scary. Knowing that every inch of your heart is walking around with that tiny person is risky. And yet, we take it. We open ourselves up to it all, knowing that it is worth it to love these precious ones.
I know about all of those sides of motherhood.
But there is another side that I also know.
I know how to be a mother to babies I never got to hold.
I wish that wasn’t part of my story and I wish it wasn’t part of yours, my friend.
I hate miscarriage.
I am convinced that it is one of the most heart breaking things a woman can go through. It is the worst kind of irony. Something that is designed to be so beautiful- carrying and sustaining life inside your womb- instantly becomes horrific as your own body rejects your child. All without your permission.
It happened to me four times. And I will never be the same.
Where was I? What was I doing when that tiny heart stopped beating? Was I washing the dishes or eating dinner? Was I laughing? Was I sleeping?
I missed it.
If I could cup that little face inside my hands, I would whisper these words:
“I am so sorry, my sweet little one. I wished it would have kept beating. I wish you could have grown healthy and strong. I wish I could have seen your face. I wish I could have heard your first coos and your first laugh. I wish I could have held your hand as you took your first steps.
I wish you could have had a lifetime of memories.
It feels a little empty without you here- like a puzzle with missing pieces. We will never know what the full picture would have looked like because you aren’t here with us. And that will always be sad, little ones.
You will always be missed.”
I wish I didn’t know this side of motherhood. And I will never know why some of us have to and others do not.
I don’t know why it happened to you, sweet sister.
But you are not alone.
There are more us. There are more of us who miscarried more than just our baby that day- we miscarried a lifetime of mothering that sweet soul. And our lives will always be different because of it. Our hearts will always be different.
So although I wish I didn’t know this side of motherhood, it is my reality. I am a mother to babies I didn’t get to meet. Tomorrow, I am going to take a moment to honor that part of my story as a mother. I am going to slip away to some quiet corner away from the hustle and bustle of the day, and cherish the love I gave those babies and the part of my heart they will always hold. I am going to honor all the tears I shed for them.
After all, isn’t this what we celebrate on Mother’s Day? We are thanking our mothers for loving us in a way that no one else on earth can. We are thanking them for taking the risk, no matter what it cost them.
And my friends, your love for those babies cost you a lot. And you paid it with such grace.
As their mother, you loved those babies like no one else on earth could.
And that, my friend, is worth celebrating.
Happy Mother’s Day.