Today is Mothers Day - a day I feel like we have been leading up to for a long time now. I have been thinking about this day since we lost Hannah, and dreading having to face it without her. I've missed her extra much today.
I debated in my mind whether or not I should go to church this morning, as they always do a big special Mothers Day service; and I knew that would bring up so many emotions for me. In the end I decided to go - I guess I felt like I should. I didn't want to feel like I was hiding from it, and 'avoiding reality'.
It was as hard as I expected.
A big deal is made in many churches about how important a Mothers role is. And all the jobs that Mums do and practical roles that Mums play. How tiring it is running around after your kids, feeding them, clothing them, and tending to their every need. Which is very valid - I'm not denying that at all.
But hearing all this is painful for me. I don't get to do those things for my daughter.
I know that I am a Mum, but to be honest, I felt so out of place today.
What if your role as a Mum involved sitting holding your baby in the NICU, instead of in a rocking chair in their nursery? Monitoring oxygen levels and heartrates, instead of how much they are growing by the day? Getting up early to be there for the doctors meeting about your baby, instead of to feed them? Making life or death decisions about medical treatments, instead of about what time to put them down for a nap? Picking clothes to bury your child in, instead of outfits for them to wear to church? That is my experience of Motherhood.
I know that most Mums have 'normal' roles to play for their baby, and I know it is very tiring and challenging. But there are some of us Mums who have played very different roles in our babies lives. And there are some of us who have done the hardest thing a Mum could ever have to do - say goodbye to their precious child. Mothers Day is very hard for us.
It's not that I don't appreciate that parenting is hard, or that Mums face so many challenges. I know that's the case, and I agree that they deserve to be recognised for their love and commitment.
It's just that what is often portrayed is a rather one-sided view of Motherhood, and it can be really hard for those of us whose experiences are different. And painful. I guess I wish that other women were acknowledged too. What about the women who is single, and although she isn't a Mum she helps mother and nurture her neighbours kids? Or the women who has faced an abortion in her past, and she never even got to meet her baby? What about the wife who desperately longs to have a baby, but has tried for years and hasn't been able to get pregnant? What about the women who has lost numerous babies to miscarriage? Or the Mum whose relationship with her child has been damaged, and she is no longer able to play that role in their child's life?
I want Mums to be appreciated, but I also wish that more people acknowledged that Mothers Day is hard for a lot of people. I know many women who avoid church on Mothers Day, and I wish that didn't have to be the case. Churches should be the place where we are able to recognise the pain that many women feel on this day - if women can't be real there, then where can they be? It doesn't need to take away from appreciating the 'normal Mum' - can't we do both??
Ok, rant over lol! I just want to share about the special Mothers Day dinner that our family had tonight :)
My husband was AMAZING today. He was so supportive and loving, treasuring and appreciating me as a Mum; but also acknowledging my pain. He honoured me and encouraged me, and held me as I cried. We spent the afternoon at Hannah's grave... which was hard, but good.
And, he cooked an amazing Masterchef quality dinner! Not only for me, but also for my Mum and my Gran. And my Dad made a delicious dessert for us :)
The table all set for our asian style dinner
Sweet and Sour Pork, and Thai green curry
Nicely garnished rice
Pavlova Dad made - with an 'M' for Mum, and the initials of each of us Mums on it
He also gave me a beautiful card, and had written it so thoughtfully. Here is the card itself (I'm not sharing his own words here on the internet though!)
I love being a Mum. I wish my mothering experience looked different, and I wish Hannah Grace was here in my arms, but I am so thankful that God has given me the gift of Motherhood.
I just want to finish by encouraging you to recognise ALL of the Mothers around you. Those that have children in their arms, and those that have children waiting for them in heaven. Let's also appreciate those that nurture children, and would love to be Mums themselves, but aren't able to be for whatever the reason.
Every year there are so many Mums hurting on Mothers Day, and what a blessing it would be if we could meet them where they are at and acknowledge their pain.