Mother's Day is a joyous day, a day in which the country celebrates motherhood. We celebrate and honor the mother who brought us into the world, the mother who raised us, the grandmothers, the aunts we looked up to as children, the honorary mother-figures in our lives...
And some of us are celebrated as well.
This will be the third year in which I have been able to hold a child of mine in my arms. This year, I will celebrate with two sons. I have been blessed with the burden and the joy of raising two little boys to become caring, compassionate, accepting, loving men. It is more joy than I ever imagined would come to fruition in my life. Yes, this year, I too, join the community of those women being celebrated on Mother's Day.
For the third, (or fourth, actually, as my husband sent me Mother's Day flowers the year I was pregnant with Spencer,) year now, Mother's Day will be spent with the love of my children.
And while I am elated that it is the case, I know how Mother's Day can sting.
While I have spent 30 Mother's Days on this earth now, celebrating the love and role of the mothers in my life (my mom, grandma, aunts, mothers-in-law, my deae friends who have become mothers- each has shown me immense love and helped shape not only who I am as a person, but also now who I am as a mother, and I cannot thank God enough for them in my life) there were many years where the holiday also stung a little bit. Sometimes, a lot.
Those years where I was unsure my body would bear children. Those years I was terrified I would never be a mother.
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a mommy. When Jake fell in love with me, and me with him, I wondered, worried, hoped, and prayed I would be. I have always felt like a mother at heart. I have cared for more children than I can count, and sadly even remember, in many forms throughout my nearly 30 year life.
I remember the years of heartache and struggle so freshly as they were days ago. I can still feel the countless nights of endless tears as yet another month went by in which my mothering heart was without the promise of a child.
I know how lonely those journeys feel, even with a loving husband beside you.
But dear mothers at heart, you who silently, or publicly struggle to one day hold your baby in your arms, you are not alone.
Infertility awareness comes in October, and it doesn't feel like a day in which you celebrate your struggle, at least to me. There doesn't seem to be a day that honors you- mother at heart, as there is for the mother of a child.
But don't be fooled. You too, mother at heart, are being celebrated. If not by the masses, by me. It might not seem like much, and you may not even know me, but I walk along side you in your struggle. I'm here. You're with me, in my mothering heart, as I pray for your dreams to come true. I pray that although this year may sting as your womb or arms are empty, that next year, you will rejoice, next year, your mothering heart will be given to a piece of your body and soul. I pray you will have a child to hold. A young life to care for. I know it will not happen for everyone so easily, but I will not stop praying.
I will not stop honoring you. I will not stop feeling your struggle. I will not stop praying.
And infertility is not the only thing that can keep a baby from a mother at heart's arms. Some of you have yet to find your husband. And some of you are perhaps married to a woman and she also cannot provide a baby. But don't give up. Don't lose faith. I pray everything falls into place for you, too. I am beside you as well.
I hope that you find ways to feel and embrace your mothering nature as you fight the battle that has been placed in your life. I hope there is somewhere a child you can love. A child you can embrace, care for, laugh with. For even then, that child will carry a piece of your mothering heart with them.
Perhaps you choose to not bear a child of your own, but care for children in other ways, through work, perhaps, or volunteering. Perhaps, you are an aunt. Perhaps you are one of those brave and selfless people who foster children whose mothers cannot care for them. I celebrate you as well.
Perhaps, you've suffered the heartbreaking loss of a child, either before or after seeing their face the first time or holding them in your arms. I celebrate you and your journey together that was cut much too short. You will always be a mommy. Do not forget it.
I celebrate each and every woman out there who cares for or so much as "just" loves a child. Each of those things is incredibly important, and you are of utmost significance in someone else's life.
Happy Mother's Day, to all of you- the mothers of adults, of children, of the heart. You are each beautiful blessings to this world when each day you care for someone so deeply as a mother does.