Love and Loss on Mother’s Day

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Have you ever desired something with such intensity that you felt a constant loss each moment that dream was not realized? For years I wanted to be a mother. These are not feelings I admitted out loud. I was a firm believer in only creating goals I had control over. As I walked into my 31st and 32nd birthdays single I slowly began to accept the hypothetical loss that a family might not be in the cards for me.

What did Mother’s Day mean to me? It was a day that I told my baby pups they should really appreciate me! It was a day that I celebrated my mother and grandmothers, sent cards, and called each of them to remind them I loved them. It was a day I congratulated all of my mommy friends on, and it was also a day I secretly mourned. When in your heart you are a mother, but physically you are not, you feel almost an unexplainable emptiness that is difficult to put words to. Comforted by my pups because I did not know how to explain grief over an inexistent loss to my human friends, I prayed, “Thank you for all my blessings, and please heal my heart.”

By Mother’s Day 2013, I was still 32, and weeks away from getting engaged, though I did not realize it at the time. From the moment I had met my husband to be I fell in love wholly and unconditionally. I saw a flicker of hope for the family I once thought surreal. That Mother’s Day 2013, I secretly hoped and prayed for a family of my own. I prayed, “Thank you for all my blessings, and please heal my heart.”

Fast forward to 2014, my first Mother’s Day to be. I was 33, recently married, and 7 weeks pregnant. In my heart I was finally a mother to the baby I had always felt but never known. On my first Mother’s Day to be I lost that baby. Was this a cruel joke?! The irony stung and ripped open a raw wound, a wound that had festered over time during all of the Mother’s Days I had yet to know. And in that moment I was SURE I would never know. That Mother’s Day I held and grieved my invisible baby. That Mother’s Day I was held by my mother, my husband, and my puppy baby. I prayed, “Thank you for all of my blessings, and please heal my heart.”

One year later, Mother’s Day 2015, I was 34, and a mother to my miracle Adelyn for a little over one month. It was the happiest Mother’s Day I had yet to know, but there was a sharp ache stabbing at my heart that day. I had just lost my soul puppy (OK, he was 13, but he would always be my “baby”). After all of the Mother’s Days my sweet baby dog had gotten me through he was now gone. That night I vehemently cried for the dog that had filled this void in my heart for so many years and gently kissed and held my sweet baby that I never thought I would have the chance to know. I prayed, “Thank you for all of my blessings, and please heal my heart.”

This Mother’s Day, 2016, I am 35. I have been blessed with a daughter for a little over a year now, and I am expecting a son in October 2016. My heart is so full it aches. The sound of a sweet voice whispering “Mama” in my ear is an angelic melody on rhythmic repeat in my heart. However, I remember and feel the complexity of emotions of this holiday stored deep in my soul.

On this Mother’s Day my heart both bursts and breaks for all the different types of love and loss associated with motherhood.

I think of the moms that are celebrating their first Mother’s Day with their baby, the moms that have recently found out they are expecting, the moms whose children have destroyed the kitchen making breakfast in bed for them, the moms who embody the definition of unconditional love for their children…even teenage children.

I also think of my friends that have recently miscarried. I think of my friends that in their heart of hearts are mothers, yet through life circumstances, infertility, or pregnancy loss, have not had a chance to meet their baby yet. I think of the moms that have experienced the unimaginable loss of a child or grandchild. I think of my friends that have lost their moms—Even though I am a mom, I take my mother’s love for granted so often.

Mother’s Day is a day of mixed blessings for so many. On Mother’s Day I pray, “Thank you for our blessings, and please heal our hearts.”

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