When you’ve lost a child on Mother’s Day
In: Family Snapshots
It isn’t easily happy.
Mother’s Day has to be the most emotion-filled nationally recognized day of the year. Perhaps not for everyone. But, to me, it seems like it must be.
I’ve only personally celebrated 6 of these special days. Sure some of them were filled with delightfully handprinted cards and banana breakfasts in bed (orchestrated by my ever grateful and special husband).
But yet, of the six, one was spent rushing a 3 year old daughter to an ER and then a PICU from a copperhead bite.
Another one was spent alone in a quiet home with only the sobs of my grieving heart as my precious baby’s body passed from mine after a pregnancy that was far-too-short, but so greatly desired.
On this day for Mothers to be happy.
So many women long for the time to be able to celebrate this day. (“Can I stand with the other mothers in church if I’m still *only* pregnant?” – btw, I say super yes! Do it!)
So many women dread it. (“Do I stand with the other mothers in church if I’ve only ever been pregnant?”)
So many women drown in the guilt of it. (“My [grown] kid is telling me I’m not deserving of the term Mother.”)
Some despise what it means for so many others – because their own mothers weren’t what they wanted.
Sometimes the emotional pain and dread I fear for this day makes me curl up in bed and not want to do anything. Even weeks before this Mother’s Day was due to arrive.
But, I wanna be real for a second here. Because, I’ve learned in the last 727 days since my Mother’s Day loss two years ago, that there aren’t too many women that have a beautiful “innocence” of motherhood. Far too many women know deep down that Mother’s Day isn’t just about sentimental gifts made in Kindergarten and a special day off from cooking.
How can you be happy when you have more children in Heaven than you have here?
How can you be happy when now, perhaps for the first time, you have children who are no longer here to feel your love for them?
How can you be happy when your heart’s desire is to change terry cloth onesies and diapers – but all you’re changing on Monday is fertility supplements?
How can you be happy when your older child has you (and your tears, your prayers, your love), but you’re not even sure if, on this day, they will want to call you their Mom?
These questions thunder deep in my heart these long afternoons. I see new photos of my sweet baby Kyle that I haven’t allowed my eyes or my heart to see, and I feel the sense of loss all over again. As if he was just taken from my arms this day. His tiny hand out of mine. The hope of his healing here on earth gone. The minutes he didn’t move felt like hours – and during each one the hope I had of his healing, of his being alive, drained from my heart. And the hours he didn’t move over that weekend turned to tears that carried that hope from my eyes to my hands. And I sat there in a crowded shopping mall. Numbly making phone calls and arrangements for my girls while people around me had no idea of what I was carrying. The new maternity sweater I had worn once the night before – the last time I had felt him move – I guess I should return it? Maybe I shouldn’t have purchased it. But I couldn’t do it. Couldn’t even walk near the store. My heart was so much heavier than my womb. (Only a mom could do that for me. And she did. The day after she held her grandson’s body.)
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.”
Mary, the sister of Lazarus, who walked with the very person of God was sick with grief. Grief of lost expectations, a lost brother, a lost friend, lost hope.
And “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.” Not because He had lost a dear friend. But because He saw the hurt of sweet Mary. “Jesus wept.” Some around them even asked the hard questions. “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”
Jesus never rebuked them for their grief. He never rebuked them for their questions. In fact their grief moved him so much to weep himself. He feels our hurts. He hurts for us. He said this thing to Mary. “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”
But perhaps that believing is the hardest thing yet.
Believing that God is in control. That God is indeed bigger than any of us. And our dreams. And our plans. And our desires.
My girls and I quote a verse often “For I know God can do ANYTHING…”
but saying and believing are two different things entirely.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
A woman, who believes her baby will be born within the next nine months healthy and strong. She has hope. She has joy in believing.
A woman, who believes her family’s future is already planned in God’s mind. And His mind is set on Heaven, not on things on this Earth. Her family is just getting an early start there. She has hope. She has joy in believing.
A woman, who believes through the Spirit’s power, she can be a God-glorifying vessel to show God’s light to her own children, despite the past example she grew up with. She has hope. She has joy in believing.
A woman, who believes her heart and her future is tenderly held in God’s hands. And that because of that belief she can hope for the joy of children. She has hope. She has joy in believing.
A woman, who believes all little children are God’s children and can be her children. And loves them all.
She has hope. She has joy in believing.
God says, “Look to me. Watch what I can do.” (Micah 7:7)
Perhaps a Mother cannot solely be defined as a female who births a child. But instead, perhaps, as some explain, the definition is rather difficult to compose — “Because of the complexity and differences of a mother’s social, cultural, and religious definitions and roles, it is challenging to specify a universally acceptable definition for the term.”
So perhaps a woman, who loves a child playing in the backyard, or anyone’s backyard, or one who loves a child playing in Heaven, or one who loves a child that hasn’t been given – yet, or one who loves a child that no longer reciprocates that love can still be called Mother. And can still be happy on this day.
Because she believes, and hopes, and loves.
“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
–Romans 15:13, I Corinthians 13:13
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