This Mother’s Day: Honoring the Mothers Whose Empty Arms Ache
5 years ago I celebrated Mother’s day for the first time with my firstborn daughter in my womb and what I knew would be the last Mother’s day I celebrated with her. I awoke that day to flowers on the counter and a card with the word “Mommy” written like a child on the front. And I was undone.
The word I knew I would never hear from the child I was carrying who had a condition that would not allow her to live once born. The word that was more than a word but had become so much of who I was in such a short time.
It was the first Mother’s day that held such ache and it would not be the last. For each Mother’s day since that first one would hold an ache in my soul, as I would say goodbye to yet another child and then welcome another into my arms. That ache has changed in its intensity as the years have gone by but every year on this day it is still there.
Today I think of the mother reading this who holds this ache in her heart today as well. I think of how this day holds so much pain for so many. Pain that can easily be overlooked. I think of how much longing this day unearths in the hearts of so many mothers who long to get to experience the day-to-day of motherhood, or now sit at home with the joy of living children and the ache for the ones no longer here.
I think of how it can feel as if this day is only a painful reminder of what we do not get to experience with the children we have lost.
And I want you to know that though it is hard to see when our culture seems to only acknowledge those with children in their arms on this day that this day is a celebration of the mother with empty arms too. A celebration of Mothers, ALL Mothers who give of themselves sacrificially day after day for the sake of their child. It feels different as a baby loss momma but our daily sacrifice is still present.
Daily, we give of our self for the child we have lost.
In our tears, in the ways we choose to honor and remember their lives, in our perspective on life, in our fight to work through our grief and countless other ways. A mother’s sacrificial love is displayed powerfully when they are asked to step into what no mother can imagine, saying goodbye to their child.
How can a mother endure life without their child? How can a mother continue to love and care for others when the one they want to give so much of themselves to is no longer here? Our choice to daily live, to daily step into the care of others in the midst of deep grief, is a beautiful display of a mother’s love. A worthy display to be celebrated and honored on this day.
For you are a mother, a mother who has endured one of the worst losses imaginable and is still standing. Still breathing, still moving forward, still loving, and still honoring your child’s life and legacy.
It looks different for all of us who have lost a child, but one thing remains the same. Motherhood has been birthed in each one of us for however little or long we knew our child.
And that motherhood will find it’s way out of us into the lives of others in often unseen and unexpected ways.
So I celebrate and honor you this day, this Mother’s day in the midst of all the ache it holds. For the tears we shed today are tears not only of our longing for our child but for the joy of getting to be chosen to be our child’s mother.
Our tears today– a beautiful display of a mother’s love, a mother’s hope and a mother’s courage.