No matter your path to motherhood, this is your day

I’m incredibly blessed.

Every May for as long as I can remember, life has continued as normal. We celebrate on that second Sunday. There’s joy, laughter, anticipation, and encouragement. We eat a nice meal, exchange cards, and take pictures.

I’ve never spent a day wondering how I’ll handle the grief of Mother’s Day.

Like I said, I’m blessed. When I became a mom two years ago, my social circle expanded and I met new people. I heard their stories, read their status updates, and scrolled through their blogs.

I got to know people who suffered through miscarriage, struggled with infertility, watched their child fade, fostered, adopted, and made tough choices. Through all this, I realized I have overlooked an important truth:

Mother’s Day isn’t easy for everyone.

Some women don’t know if they should celebrate the day. They’ve suffered loss, and aren’t sure if they qualify. Others mourn their own mother, and struggle to find a reason to celebrate.

I can’t change that. But, I can encourage those in my life whose grief outweighs their joy this Mother’s Day.

I write this with particular people in mind, but it goes out to all who need it.

To the woman who grieves a baby she never met,

You are a mother, and this is your day. Mom. You’re filled with love, compassion, and grace. Sometimes, you may feel empty, but I want you to know that you matter. You may not hold your baby in your arms, but you hold her forever in your heart. You can’t show him off, but you can tell his story. I know you’d prefer a card from your sweet angel, but I hope you’ll accept this note as a reminder that you’re going to be okay. Today, we celebrate you.

To the woman who bereaves,

You are a mother, and this is your day. I don’t know the pain of losing a child, and it breaks my heart that you do. You have gone through the unimaginable. You have lived out my greatest fear. Part of your body—your heart, your soul—is forever gone, but you have so much left to give. I pray that you can enjoy this day surrounded by those you love and showered with positive memories of the good you’ve done. You are inspiration. You are a mother. Today, we celebrate you.

To the woman who waits,

You are a mother, and this is your day. It is so hard to wait. Deep down, you know you’re supposed to be a mom. God placed the desire in your heart a long time ago. But those pink lines aren’t showing up. The doctor says your health is more important. The phone just won’t ring. When you struggle with infertility, suffer from an illness, or wait for that important call from the agency—it’s hard. You can see your child. Her smile, his eyes. You know she’s out there. You know he’s waiting. But, you won’t hold them this Mother’s Day. I empathize with you, sweet friend. You are not alone. And today, we celebrate you.

To the woman who made a choice,

You are loved, and this is your day. I don’t know your life path, and I will never judge your reasons. If you found your entrance into motherhood at the wrong time, and had to make a hard decision, I want you to feel important. Because, you are. You carried a life, and you gifted another woman with an identity she so desperately longed for. You helped someone else earn their motherhood wings. That’s incredible. There’s no greater gift you could give. If your heart hurts today, please know you’ve made a difference. And if you’ll let us, we are ready to celebrate you.

To the woman who remembers,

She is your mother, and this is still her day. It brings tears to my eyes when I realize how blessed I am to still have my mother by my side. I can call her when I need support. She shares in my victories, and struggles through my defeats. I know that’s not the reality for everyone. If you’re reading this and missing your mom, I am so sorry. I encourage you to celebrate the good memories, smile through the tears, and tell someone about her. Brighten another person’s day in her honor. She raised a wonderful human being, and today, we celebrate you both.

To the woman who feels those precious kicks,

You are a mother, and this is your day. Yes, pregnancy counts. If this is your first pregnancy, I congratulate you. Because, this is your first Mother’s Day, too. You became a mom the second you found out about that sweet baby you’re growing. You carefully monitor the food you eat, trek to dozens of appointments, and often feel terrible in the process. Those are all sacrifices, and it’s one of the foundations of motherhood. You’ve made it. Today, I’m so glad we can celebrate you.

To the woman like me,

You are a mother, and this is your day. If you haven’t experienced the pain of loss, gone through a tragic birth, struggled with infertility, or raised funds for adoption, it can be difficult to feel happy when you know others grieve. It’s easy to harbor guilt for your inability to relate. It’s natural to mourn for your friends and fear showing your own joy. But, this was your path. We never know what our journey will look like. And, I pray yours continues to be so sweet. Today, we celebrate you.

This Mother’s Day, I hope you’ll take pride in your accomplishments, and I pray you are able to call your mom and say thanks.

Because wherever your journey finds you this Sunday, you have plenty of reasons to celebrate.

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