Welcome to one of the days of the year where many feel the duality of life’s happiest and hardest moments in the deepest of ways. Mother’s Day is celebrated as a day to value mom’s around the world and honor all that they are, but for many men and women, it is a double edge sword of broken moments.
I’m a mother of seven children. Two of my kids born to me and my late husband Mitch, two of my kids given to me upon my commitment and marriage to my husband Keith, and three of my children never fully given to me in the physical form, only in spirit. Three little souls that I loved from the moment I saw the positive pregnancy test and lost before their smile had a chance to fill up my life. The duality of Mother’s Day can only be explained as moments of joy combined with the hurt of loss.
Loss is part of our collective human experience yet a taboo subject that many won’t broach. I would gather to say that nearly every person who celebrates this day with a happy façade also harbors pain they are sacred to share and show. Vulnerability is seen as weakness rather than marked as a growth of spirit and an honesty of the heart.
Mother’s Day for many means the remembrance of a mother who was lost to death or a mother who died in spirit after the loss of a partner through divorce or widowhood. We grieve for those who never decided to live again because life was more than they could handle. Many grieve for the nearly perfect mother given and taken away too soon, or perhaps we grieve for the concept of the nearly perfect mother never realized.
Mother’s Day is also a remembrance for children lost either before or after birth. Women who have been placed in the role of motherhood, only to have their child taken away. These women are and will forever be mothers. The decision to have another child does not mean you stop loving the child(ren) who can before, it just means you moved forward and expanded your heart to love additionally on top of the love you already hold close for those that came before.
Mother’s Day is also a remembrance of the small children who don’t have their mom and will never know the immense love a mother has for her children. Father’s Day is one of the hardest days of the year for me personally, but I’m sure many widowed men feel the same way about Mother’s Day. To understand the love your partner had for their children, and to know your children can’t feel that love in physical form, it’s a pain that is not easily put into words.
Mother’s Day and its duality play in other ways as well. The loss of youth, time and freedom. It’s not politically correct to say that as mother’s we miss the moments before motherhood where we were completely unattached, but I’m not sure I’d be honest if I denied those feelings. I wouldn’t trade my children for anything in the world, but I have moments where I miss the days that came before. I wouldn’t go back; I wouldn’t change a thing, but I didn’t always know to appreciate my life before I became a mother. I was always more concerned with the destination rather than living in the moment. That’s a lesson that has been repeated in my life, and experiences like motherhood only continue to teach me.
As I celebrate Mother’s Day, I am overcome with joy and happiness at the beautiful moments of motherhood. I celebrate my children, my unexpected marriage with a wonderful partner who has become a Dad to my babies by choice. I celebrate my life that is far from what I imagined but amazing and beautiful just the same.
I also grieve.
I grieve for my late husband who never got a real chance to see me be a mother and will never again be able to help our kids celebrate this day. I grieve for my children’s loss of innocence as they faced death at an unacceptable age. I grieve for the children lost, and the ideal of motherhood never realized.
It’s a day of duality.
I’m beyond happy, and my happiness is also laced with sadness. I think that’s what makes us so beautiful and so unique as a species. This human capacity to feel joy and sorrow, life and loss and incredible love…all at one broken moment.
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