It happens every year and every year the emotions are unexpected. But this year, I know what to expect because I am creating it. I have worked so hard to get settled, to accept me, to love me and this year I welcome today because today I alive.
Mother's Day is every day. Every day I wake up to my son living, my daughter dead, this baby growing. Every day I have a (step) mom who loves me and a mother who doesn't know me. And every day I am a mother, a daughter, a mother without her daughter and a daughter without her mother.
I no longer live in the what-it's or what could be. I am so happy for those that have great moms and all their babies, but that is not my life. We don't get to choose every path in our life, some are just thrown at us and the only and best thing to do is to allow these hard feeling losses to create the best life of what is left and I am doing just that.
Every day that I am alive, is a day that I am grateful to be me, it is not the life I would have chosen but living the life I have been given and making the best of me.
Today is a good day.
Today is marked as International Bereaved Mothers Day and I just don't identify with it. I am a mother. Period. The moment a woman decides they want to be a mom, the day she starts preparing her body to create another, she becomes a mom. When that baby is in her belly, she is a mom. When that baby is born, she is a mom. If that baby dies, she continues to be a mom. We are all different, special, unique mothers, some with our babies in our arms, some with our babies in our hearts and some with our babies in our hopes and dreams.
While I was pregnant with Ruthie Lou and even before either of my children were born, I wanted to be acknowledged on MOTHER'S Day, the day for moms. We are all already so diverse and unique in our journeys to become moms, what type of mothers we are and how we parent, that having an entire day to separate those who are bereaved the takes away from the inclusion that I want to feel on Mother's Day. I want to be acknowledged for all of my children on Mothers Day, I don't want to be made to feel different because one of my children died. It is already isolating enough to be a bereaved parent, I don't want to then also be highlighted for the fact that my child died when what I really want people to remember about Ruthie Lou is that she lived, that I am proud of her, the ultimately SHE made me a mom. She made my dreams come true, and although this is not what u ever would've wished for, I want her story to be one of love, not a sadness.
There was a time when the narrative in my head was that I was the mom whose baby died, I couldn't see beyond that pain. As time has progressed and I have worked and worked and worked my grief, that is no longer the story I live. I don't know anyone whose life has turned out exactly as they imagined it, without loss, without sadness, or grief. There will always be parts of our life that we wish were different, but I don't let that consume me, instead I let it create me. I am a mother, a wife, a teacher, an entrepreneur, a writer, an athlete, a lover of life and in all of those parts of me there are stories that I have lived, good and bad and I choose to learn from all of them.
I am a survivor. I live a full life. I am living the life I always wanted, even with this broken heart forever missing my child. I am living this life to the best of my ability because of my love for her, for my family, for myself.
As a mom whose child died, I already feel on the outside of those who can hug all their babies at night-I don't want a separate day acknowledging my child died, I want her celebrated each and every day because she lived. She is always included in our family every day, please remember include her in your well wishes to me next Sunday, on Mothers Day too.
It is a beautiful Sunday morning. I got more than a full nights rest, the boys let me sleep in, I was delivered a beautiful handmade card and some delicious baked goods. It is currently 11am and I'm still not dressed and although this is the definition of a great weekend day, it's not necessarily a "Happy Mother's Day".
Mothers Day is everywhere today, and what a beautiful thing it must be, to share the love of your mother with the world, she deserves all of that. I am envious of you, in that curious way. I am happy for you and wonder what that must feel like, to have a life where your mother loves you unconditionally and has raised you with a life filled with love. I don't have that, nor a beautiful picture of me with my mom to share, those pictures don't exist anymore, they once did but those are from 20 years ago and the emotions attached to it are now so conflicted.
I also see the pictures, where all your children are held in your arms, I daydream and imagine how that feels. I will never have a picture of all my children; the result of my three pregnancies or the two children that I birthed pictured together as they should be, and it will always be that way for me. When I look at my family picture, there are always four of us-even if you only see three.
I also know that just because you have these things, a loving mother and your beautiful children to hold, doesn't mean your life is perfect but today, as many of you qualify this a "happy" Mother's Day, it highlights those of us who do not. Please do not take this as offensive, in fact quite the opposite, your mothers are my role models and your mothering is my inspiration, just because I don't have these things, I would never wish for you to not have them too.
I have a good life and I am grateful for it, but it has not always been easy and today is just one of those days. Realistically, today is no different than any other day in which I realize that I am a (biologically)mother-less mom living without her daughter, it's just that this Hallmark holiday magnifies how many others have what I do not. It doesn't mean that I hate Mother's Day or that I will avoid it (although I will not be going to Sunday brunch) but this day is definitely not easy.
What I do have is an amazing daughter, the one who has shown me my passion to live. I have my gorgeous, witty and energetic boy, who I have learned to love life as he does-through his eyes. I have a step-mom who mothers me, as much as I let her in and even when I don't. I may not hold all the traditional things that qualify this day but, I know that I'm not the only one to whom this day difficult.
My happiest Mother's Day is the normal day; the mornings that I wake up with my sweet boy loving me and the memory of my daughter warming my heart and all the women who have shown me that to be a mother is a privilege, and really that just makes every day my Mother's Day.
My heart is with you today, those who also find Mother's Day to be difficult. Feel your feelings and know that you are amazing every day. And to those who have reached out to the mother-less or mothers without children, my heart is with you too for your are our lifeline. You are our strength.
I am mama of three beautiful babes; two sons whom I have the privilege of raising and my daughter who lived for 33 sacred days.