My journey of motherhood is complicated. As time passes and I am granted more opportunities to enter into the stories of other women, I am beginning to recognize that the journey is complicated for most of us. Literally, for most of us.
I have learned that celebrating Mother’s Day can feel like an unnatural choice. To many, Mother’s Day does not automatically come with a simple dose of all the positive emotions one might assume. Recognizing Mother’s Day can easily bring to the surface emotions that we have worked unreasonably hard to hide. For some, loneliness, disappointment, grief, longing, bitterness, guilt, and shame are a part of this day. They are the pieces that make the celebration feel a bit unnatural.
Here is what I want you to know…You Are Not Alone. Not. Even. Close.
As I think about my own rocky journey, I remember the days that I sat in silence…in confusion…in loneliness. Years of infertility. Burying my 3-day-old daughter. Watching caseworkers remove our son following a failed adoption. For many years, there was absolutely no desire to celebrate.
Ten years ago, I was given the unexpected gift of a beautiful healthy son. Two years later, it happened again. Yes, TWO amazing sons! One who looks like his daddy and one who looks like me.
And with that, there is something else I want you to know…those two boys didn’t take away the pain of the journey and their arrival didn’t eliminate the path I had already traveled.
There are many truths I have learned through my own journey and one I’d like to gently tell you today…my pain has only lessened as a result of giving myself permission to deeply experience the fullness of the emotions that have accompanied my journey.
So, this is what it looks like today…I wear this awesome set of rings bearing the names of the four children that’ll always have my heart. We grill lunch and eat with my mom who is experiencing her first Mother’s Day without the man who made her a mother. My husband and sons plant flowers and build a garden in our yard. We eat ice cream at the grave of my daughter. I say a prayer for the son that I do not get to raise.
It’s complicated. And yet, I have found peace, beauty, AND joy in the ways we honor our complicated story.
I know your story is complicated too. I know this because I have heard the stories, countless stories. Maybe I haven’t heard your story but stories that may not be as far off as you’d imagine. Please know that your journey matters…the parts that are easy to celebrate AND the parts that make the celebrating less natural.
And please know that you are not alone. NOT. EVEN. CLOSE.
4 thoughts on “When Celebrating Feels Unnatural: A Mother’s Day Reflection”
Tears come to my eyes reading this.,. Such a blessing to be on this journey of motherhood with you. What Beautiful words, a beautiful story, and you are a beautiful mother!!! It’s so important to know I/ we are not alone. Thank you for reminding me of this.
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I am grateful to have you on the journey with me. You are precious, Karen.
Great article christina!
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Thanks, Aunt Liz!