May 12, 2017 4 minute read
Dear fellow mom,
There is so much I want to say to you — so much I want you to know. But everything will fall short because if you are reading this then you are grieving your child and for that I am so sorry.
I want you to know that it doesn’t matter how many times you kissed their little toes. Maybe you’re still waiting for the second line to turn pink or the adoption to be finalized. Maybe you had to say goodbye before you could even say hello. Maybe you had years to watch them grow. It makes no difference, because you carry the title of mama and you carry it bravely. And yet, Mother’s Day might be hard. You might wish it would disappear. That you could skip it, sleep through it, escape from it. You might need to avoid shop windows or parks or familiar faces. But you will wake up on this holiday and realize that you cannot ignore it. You might even find that you want to honour it. It is your day and you can do what you want. Because you are still a mother.
I want you to know that if you venture outside, seeing children with their families may hurt a little. Or a lot. The baby in the stroller, the two year old on the swing, the five year old on the bike. All being pushed by their mothers. It might fill you with a bittersweet type of joy to feel so close to your child who sometimes feels so very far away. Or it might be hard to see other families seem so whole when yours feels so broken. And that’s ok. Would it help if I reminded you that you don’t know their story? It might not. There’s likely not a whole lot that will soften your pain. For though by all appearances you may walk alone on this day, in your heart your child is right there with you. Because you are still a mother.
I want you to know that the cards and handmade presents might seem so unimportant as you approach this day, but when you open up your social media to see other moms receiving these things they might suddenly seem incredibly important. Because getting a flower pot that displays a finger painted “Mom” in pinks and reds would mean your child is here. The realization that you won’t receive these things — for the first time or the thirteenth time — from your child might seem like too much. You know that these are just the little things and you would trade them all in for one second in their presence. But you want them anyways. You want the seemingly normal, happy, predictable future that comes with them — all of the things that come with your child. Because you are still a mother.
I want you to know that even though your heart is in pieces and your arms are empty and your plans are shaken this day is still for you. You can celebrate with the rest of the moms and get breakfast brought to you in the morning and have a little time all to yourself. You don’t have to hide away. But you can. I want you to know that you can stay in bed and pull the covers up over you and cry until your face turns red and blotchy. No matter what you choose to do, you will wake up and you will move forward. You will be ok, I promise. But you will never be the same. Because you are still a mother.
I want you to know that you are not alone. Through your grief and pain and loss you have joined the club that no one wants to be a part of. But the most astonishing thing is that this club is made up of some of the most powerful, compassionate, and inspiring women. So you might see this as a curse. Or you might see it as an honour. For the trials in your life that granted you entrance have not only shaped you into a better mother, but a better human being as a whole. But I want you to know that in joining the ranks of the bereaved you haven’t been removed from the realm of parenthood. Because you are still a mother.
Sweet mama, I want you to know that though there is this whole community of others who are seeing this day through the same lens as you, what nourishes your heart might be different. Just as you mothered your child in life, you will continue to mother them in death. And only you know what’s best. However, we all share this one thing: we love our babies unconditionally. With deep love comes deep loss but not even death can strip away the love a mother has for her child. And it’s not the length of that life or the cards you receive from them that determine your claim on motherhood. It’s the love that you give them every single day.
So to you I say this: Happy Mother’s Day. Because you should be honoured, recognized, celebrated, and supported on this day too. Because you can feel both the joy and sorrow in it at the same time. Because you are still a mother. And you always will be.
*As originally published with The Huffington Post