For moms who have lost their children, Mother's Day can be a difficult time. No matter where your baby is, you're still a loving mom.
Mother's Day isn't a universal experience for everyone. I know children who have suffered through the holiday because their moms were abusive, absent, or neglected them. I know mothers who have had a tough time because their children were no longer in their lives. It can be especially hard if your child, who you treasured and loved with all your heart, has passed on. While other moms receive handmade cards and breakfast in bed, you are left with the fading memories of your little one and the impossible dreams of what could have been.
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This experience can be a lonely one. How do you talk about your feelings as a once-mother when other moms are talking about the gifts they received or the time they spent with their children? Being alone with your feelings can isolating and lonely. The taboo of losing a child, the pity, and the sad compliments about how you're so strong are only reminders of what you have lost. Everything around you reminds you of loss - from the cheap advertisements encouraging you to buy an overpriced necklace to the cheesy Facebook posts you see online. Would your child have posted one for you if they were still around? Would you have been able to post a photo of them?
The wounds may be invisible but the grief is very tangible. You hold it in your arms like you once held your baby and nurse it in the hopes that it will simply go away. While you may be surrounded by a partner who you can lean on, you know that grief is yours alone to carry. Maybe you'll hear from your friends' older children who have grown up to have their own families that a "mother's work is never done." That's probably true; you'll never really know, but you do know this. Parenting is a part of a mother's role, but loving their child is perhaps the most important thing that a mom could do. And you still love your child, no matter where they are.
Even though your fridge door might not be littered with drawings wishing you a happy Mother's Day, you will remember that you love your baby as much as all other moms love their children. You might spend Sunday morning with just your partner, but the two of you will think of your little one together. You might even wish other moms a happy Mother's Day. Hopefully, rather than patronize you, they will wish you back because they understand that motherhood is a journey that looks a little different for everyone. No matter where your baby is, happy Mother's Day.