Mothers Day is challenging for me. People see me pregnant now and say “Maybe this will be your first Mothers Day!” as if delivering the baby before then will ensure that I am a mom this Mothers Day. I don’t understand why we say life begins at conception and consider the thing inside me to be a baby, but don’t consider pregnant women mothers.
Furthermore, last year was my first Mothers Day. It was about two months after I gave birth to Caleb and proceeded to lay him in the grave. Just because my two children aren’t in my arms doesn’t mean I’m not a mom, or any less of a mom than someone else.
But what are you supposed to say to me: “Happy Mothers Day?” It’s kind of happy. I’m certainly excited about this new little one and getting to meet him face to face soon. I’m happy that I had Caleb, even though it was a short time. I’m happy to celebrate my wonderful mom and mother-in-law, my grandmother-in-law, my sisters who are moms, and a host of other great mom examples.
But for me Mothers Day is lonely. It’s a reminder that Caleb isn’t here. He can’t ever be replaced with another child. I imagine part of me will always feel like this on Mothers Day. Someone is missing. When people acknowledge me on Mothers Day, it’s a reminder of this. Yet when people don’t acknowledge me, it makes me feel like Caleb has been forgotten.
I feel like I’m a “mom,” always having to qualify my role… “Is this your first child?” Kind of…. When they ask all the moms to stand up at church, do I stand? What questions will I have to answer then? If I don’t stand, is it like I’m ignoring Caleb?
I don’t write this so that you’ll acknowledge me in some way on Mothers Day. It’s really not about me. It’s really about a Mom who doesn’t want her children to be overlooked. I’m sure there are other “moms” in your life: women who have struggled with infertility, women who have miscarried, women who never had the opportunity to give birth to their own children. Maybe you’ll just take a minute to think about what makes someone a Mom. As you celebrate this year, be sensitive to the “moms” whose children aren’t in their arms but are forever in their hearts.