Many people have asked me what I want to do on Mother's Day. That's a very difficult question because what I need and want changes from one moment to the next. I've done a lot of thinking, and I have decided I don't want to do anything on Mother's Day. I might go to the tree, but I am not going to go out anywhere else. There is no way I could handle the sights I would see. This year, I just want it to be a regular day. But, I do have a few things to say in regards to Mother's of Loss on Mother's Day.
Before you read any further, take a minute to read this blog post. Go ahead. I'll wait...
She pretty much said it all, I think. Obviously, that's not going to stop me from saying a few more things:
Women who were mothers before their loss or have had children since have a bittersweet Mother's Day. They rejoice in their living children while still mourning the life (or lives) lost. No one questions their role as a mother because that has clearly already been established. Women who have no other children - women like me and many of the wonderful friends I have met along this arduous road - have a hard time with their identity as a mother after their loss. We carried our babies. We loved them and nurtured them inside our bodies. We created that life and loved it beyond measure. In the very depths of our soul, we know we are a mother. We want to be celebrated like any other mother on Mother's Day, but, with heavy hearts, we realize this is not always possible. It's hard to celebrate who you are when the very thing that defines you is gone. Even though we want to claim every bit of our motherhood, we still struggle to hold it in our hands. Like it is not entirely ours. We know we will feel differently when we are holding our living, breathing baby in our arms, but until that day, we will always feel like a wallflower at a party. Even though we were still invited and have every right to be there, we don't feel confident enough to dance. Not yet.
We do not want sympathy. We want recognition, but not pity. We want other people to acknowledge that we are mothers and that our children were real and valued, but we don't want anyone to feel sorry for us. We do enough of that on our own. If you feel the need to send a message, don't send us your condolences. Send us your love.
We want you to remember our children. Beyond all things, above all things, we need you to remember them. Remember their name. Remember that they lived and were wonderful and beautiful extensions of us. I can't speak for every mother, but I can speak for myself when I say that my greatest fear is not that this could happen again, but that the world will forget about my little girl. Next Mother's Day, or the one after that, when I have another child, I am afraid of being known as a mother for just that child. I am afraid that people will not think of Kenley anymore. I know I always will, but that is not enough for me. I want you to think of her. I want you to remember her and acknowledge her. I can't bear for her to fade into a misty, forgotten memory. Memories are heavy, and they are easier to carry together. Not just on Mother's Day, but on all days, remember our lost babies. That is really the best thing you can do for any mother of loss. Remind them that they are not alone in remembering.
I am sure I had so many more things to say about this topic, but I just can't find my words. I've been ruminating over this post for a few days because I wanted to get it just right. I've written some, left, and come back to this post several times. I wanted to communicate my thoughts just the right way. I think what I have here now is really the best I can do at this time. Truthfully, I don't really want to think of Mother's Day and all the things I should have but don't. Sunday should have been a day of joyous celebration for me - and for many of my new found friends. But, it won't be. It will be another day we have to survive. We think about our babies every second of every day, but Mother's Day is a day the world forces us to remember what we've lost in a sea of flowers, and cards, and sappy commercials. It will be a hard day for me and for all of the women who have lost a child.
This Mother's Day, I will remember my beautiful Kenley Evelyn, my little ninja who made me a mother - who made this day mine even if I don't feel like it is. I will think of my friends who, like me, are putting on a happy face in order to just get through it in once piece. And, I will think of my mother. I will think of the woman who was there for me for every scraped knee and bumped head of my childhood. The woman who celebrated my successes and helped pick me up when I fell. She's no stranger to loss either, and her strength and courage in this life are an inspiration to me. And, that is really all I have to say about Mother's Day.