Mother’s Day without Children

Happy Mothers Day people cheer all around.

You stand there without children.  All the moms are getting flowers. Do you go up for one?  You are a mother.  A mother without a child. Your child is buried in a little cemetery. All the other moms have kids running up with them. Do you walk up alone?

The mothers are invited up to the altar at church for special prayer.  It is awkward standing there deciding. Do I go up. Don’t I go up. Oh what do I do. Will I have to explain. I’m not really a mother. But I am a mother.  My child lives in heaven.

Happy Mother’s Day people say as you walk in the building.  They are all smiles. But you are faking the smile. Inside you are grieving. Your mother died years ago. This day of celebration breaks your heart. If you could only see her one more time.

Happy Mother’s Day you hear. Yet you are struggling to have children of your own. Maybe you have miscarried more than you want to share.  Maybe you have been told you could never have children. Maybe you are still holding out for the miracle.

You watch moms being loved on. You love on children. Your nieces, nephews, maybe “adopted” children in your life. You never married. You married and never had children.  You chose to not have children. You didn’t have a choice in not having children.  When is your special day of honor?

These women deserve a mother’s day just as much as the ones who bore children, adopted children, raised children.  They are all around us on this day of joyful celebration of mothers.

I’ve been one of these moms. After I lost Aidan, we skipped going to church on the first Mother’s Day. I couldn’t imagine the pain of sitting there and hearing all about how wonderful mothers are knowing that I, as a mother, had made some of the most difficult decisions ever for my child. Decisions that went beyond which was the better apple juice to buy, whether I should buy organic/non-organic or whether to either breastfeed or use formula.

The second Mother’s Day was easier.  I was pregnant with Kory. I could at least “look” the part of the mother without extra explanation.

My heart still cringes on Mother’s Day. I think of all the women I know.  All the women I don’t know. The women walking among us every day. The women we casually bump into. The women who are hurting on this day of celebration for “Mother’s”.  So yes, you will hear me wish a Happy Mother’s Day, but you will also hear me applaud the women out there who are mothers in so many ways.

The ones who are not mothers by choice but deeply involved in a motherly role.  The ones who have tried for years to have babies of their own. The ones who never married – whether by choice or not. The ones who face the day without their own mothers.  The ones who put on a fake smile.  The ones who tear up not out of celebration but sorrow.

Those are the ones who really deserve my tribute today!

2 thoughts on “Mother’s Day without Children

  1. says:

    What I love about the Internet: I am led to posts like these. As “one who never married”–not by choice–thank you for writing this.

  2. Jill says:

    Thank you, Jessica, for writing this piece. You are so talented. I’ll have another tissue now, please! 🙂

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