The day before Mother’s Day I was feeling bad. I never got those intended cards out to my mother, mother-in-law or the kid’s Godmother.
My ADHD type brain did not write it down. Often is the case for me and those of us with very busy brains if it’s not written down, it’s not done. OOOPS. I was feeling a little bad.
I reminded myself it’s a very commercialized holiday and let it go. It was a very busy and tumultuous week with my three kids and I just had to forgive the part of me that felt guilty and could not do it all.
Today I am feeling thankful I do not have to run my kids around. Not so much b/c it’s Mother’s Day, but it is Sunday and I need a day a rest. And it’s sheer coincidence there is nothing scheduled on our calendar, phew.
This Mother’s day I took some time for myself and I wrote.
I have learned the hard way that when I do not take time out for me and take care of myself I am not a very good mother to my kids. So the gift of a couple hours for myself will have ripple effects of goodness in all our lives way beyond just today.
It was not always this way. One of the ways of being I learned from my mother was to show up as a martyr and do everything for everyone. I did that for a long time and was not good for us. Taking care of me matters because I still show up and do lots and lots for others.
This year I’ve been reflecting more about “Mother’s Day” or rather MOTHERHOOD. For me, motherhood has not been a Hallmark card experience. I suspect that is the same for many mamas out there. 15 years of Motherhood has been a long, rocky road. Yes there have been many joys along the way and for that I am eternally grateful.
There have been dark painful moments that the Commercialized side of Mother’s day overlooks. It’s like a one sided day of observing that also brings up pain for many. If you are one of these souls that feels some pain around this day, just know you are not alone.
My first encounter with motherhood (as a mama, not a daughter) still makes me sad if I allow it.
I usually only think about it in May around this time of the month. It was not mother’s day but it was in May sixteen years ago when I miscarried my first child.
I was not feeling 100% one weeknight when I went to a Red Sox game for work with sales people who’d flown in from around the country. I’d recently found out that my “fetus was no longer viable” at about 12 weeks term. The doctors said the fetus was small enough and would pass on it’s own. My husband, still Active duty Army (since retired) was away at a swap in Louisiana and hard to reach.
I’d been bleeding for a few days, kind of like a very heavy menstrual period that I was told to expect. Except that near the end of the ball game I was in the bathroom in pain and passed the fetus. ALONE, yet surrounded by thousands. I went home horrified and a bit in shock. I called the doctor and they said to rest and eventually the bleeding would stop on it’s own.
But it did not. A couple days later I ended up in the hospital to stop the hemorrhaging. I am thankful for my own my who came to me during that time and my parents who took me home with them for a couple days until my hubby returned from the swamp.
I did not know until it happened that my briefest encounter with “Motherhood” could cause such deep loss.
My husband easily let it go as the pregnancy was not planned and it was the passing of a fetus afterall.
But if you are a woman who has been pregnant or carried children to term, you know in your heart it’s not “just a fetus”. It’s the soul of a being who chose you to be it’s mother. Just like our other children who choose us and remain on this earth with us, or pass on much too soon. There was a life growing inside of you. A miracle. A divine gift.
That life inside me died. I felt like a part of me died as well. The grief was nothing like I could have expected. I worked with an energy healer soon after I “lost” the baby. She and I had a small ceremony in her healing space. I named my first daughter Isabelle and said goodbye.
This Mother’s Day I thought about her more than I ever have since I said goodbye.
I grieved her and I loved her. I Today I understand her gift to me. Before that pregnancy I was not even sure if I wanted children. Her presence filled me with the desire to become a mother. I am thankful.
So I did, three times over in less than 4 years. Motherhood, what a 15 year ride it has been. Joyful, ecstatic, living, sad, heartbreaking. So many emotions.
Another energy healer I worked with a couple years ago when I was having trouble processing something asked me “do you accept that motherhood is your Spiritual Journey?” At the time I begrudgingly said “yes”. I suspect that part of me at the time still had this fantasy that Motherhood should just be joyful, kind of like the “HallMark” card experience sold to us on this “Holiday”. And for me it was not. It was not an easy first few years.
It was hard. It was devastating. It was humbling. Yet it was and is also filled with love and gifts and delights.
9 months postpartum after my 3rd born child I had an extremely difficult time.
My severe postpartum depression had been misdiagnosed with something else. I was so sleep deprived with 3 children less than four years apart that May. Another May, again just around Mother’s Day. A few short years after that initial loss, began the darkest night of the soul I have had the blessing to live through and heal from.
It was a long six year period. That lead to much misunderstanding. So much heartache and not such a fun environment for children to grow up in. That period and beyond served me well as a “healer” and helped me become a much more compassionate witness for my clients than I ever could have without the growth and healing that came of it.
Without that first pregnancy, without Isabelle’s briefest moment of touching my heart, I may not have had these 3 souls that I mother today. 3 vibrant, tenacious, strong willed children that have been my greatest teachers. They help me see who I really am and help me choose to let go of who I am not and what no longer serves me or any of us in our family.
Motherhood is not just a day, it’s an eternity. It’s a commitment to forever, a bond that lasts through all space and time.
It is so wonderful to celebrate Mother’s Day in whatever way works for you. Let’s Celebrate and honor the wholeness of this journey.
Let’s acknowledge the many moms struggle on this day. Mom’s who’ve lived through hard times. Mom’s who have lost children in utero, stillbirth or even days weeks, months old. Others that outlive their adult children. Other’s whose children struggle with disability, disease, addiction.
Let us also remember that this day is not always happy for many others whose mother has passed on, who abused or abandoned them. This day leaves many people feeling sad and bad. Many people suffer in silence.
This is not a plea to stop celebrating Mother’s Day. I did in fact was celebrated here simply. I called my mom and spoke with her, loved her.
My husband made me breakfast + dinner. I painted my daughter’s dresser. I am thankful I have such an opportunity. I love my children, deeply, fiercely, softly. They are 3 of the greatest blessings of my life. But it has not been an easy road.
To all the mother’s out there and those that mother others, I salute you. To those that are struggling, I am holding space for you.
I have such a new and deeper appreciation for my mother and my grandmother’s and aunts and so many other women I know and those I’ve not even met. I love them all.
But mostly, I love you mom. Today I understand so much more about you because of my own children and experiences. Thank you for all you are and all you do and have done.
I understand now. I love you even more.
Ps. If you’d like to read more about the wholeness and fullness of motherhood, check out these two authors whose writing touched me this Mother’s Day. Their work in the world inspires me, heals me and gifts me with insights I can use with my family and my clients.