My first “real” Mother’s Day. Second, technically speaking. Last year, I celebrated this bitter-sweet day in a hospital room…with my own mama…waiting on the two precious babes who soon after granted me the title “mom” for the very first time.
And while this may technically be my second Mother’s Day, it is my first as a bereaved mother.
What does that mean…bereaved? I’ve been tossing the word around describing myself since we lost Emalynn. At first, I thought maybe it was just the most socially acceptable way to describe someone who had lost a child. It’s a “comfortable” word for others to hear…not too invasive or cold.
Then, I looked up the definition.
be·reave | bəˈrēv/ | verb
past participle: bereaved
to be deprived of a loved one through a profound absence, especially due to the loved one’s death.
To be deprived.
A profound absence.
These are powerful words.
This Mother’s Day, my heart overflows as I celebrate one of the most precious gifts I’ve been given. I woke up this morning to a beautiful baby girl, a loving husband and a happy home. I know there are countless women who would give anything to have been in my shoes today.
But, this Mother’s Day, I also feel a profound absence. And it’s an absence that will never go away. It’s the hole that was left in my heart the day the Lord called my second baby home. I feel deprived – of her love, of her touch, of the memories I will never get to make as her mother. I am a bereaved mother. One of my babies died and I now live on without her. There is no greater deprivation.
But I do not walk this path alone. On this Mother’s Day, there are many women who have empty arms and aching heats. Maybe it’s the result of an uphill battle with infertility or the hidden pain of miscarriage that the world will never see. It could be the loss of a baby shortly after birth, or following a long battle with childhood illness. It may be the loss of a son or daughter who was grown, but then died in a tragic accident. Maybe it’s a foster mom who has seen children come and go, never truly her own, although she always treated them as if they were. There are many, many, many women who are just trying to survive this day and wake up tomorrow with another 364 days before they have to face it all again.
Tonight, I pray for those women. I pray for their fight to be faithful in trusting God’s plan. I pray for their hearts to be healed by knowing they are not alone. I pray for deeper understanding, gradual acceptance and abundant love.
Today, we recognize and celebrate mothers – as we should. But let us also recognize that motherhood should not be taken at face value, and not everyone comes by it easily.