Mother’s Day is Sunday. And while I will be celebrating this holiday for the first time with a kiddo in my home, I can’t stop thinking about this time last year. I’ve had several people ask me what I’m doing for my first Mother’s Day. It’s a fine and valid question. Makes sense to ask it. I’ve been so caught off guard though at how much it all still stings a tiny bit. A whole year later. We still talk about him. We still wonder how he is and what he’s doing and if he’s okay. We still pray for him. His pictures are still all throughout our house. I remember so fully this week a year ago. How so physically sad I was. How mad I was that I wasn’t getting to celebrate a holiday that I was supposed to be celebrating. How unfair it all felt. How I chose to not go to church that Sunday and it was the best decision ever. (Sometimes church is just simply not the place to go when you’re hurting.) How accidentally excluded I felt, because not only was I not a mom when I should have been but my loss didn’t fit into a box and that sucked.
And so I wanted to share this again, because I think it matters. Whether you’ve lost babies through adoption or foster care. Whether you’ve lost babies at birth or had miscarriages. Whether you’ve lost babies at 6 months or 16 years. Whether you’ve lost the idea of babies because infertility is a very real thing…. Hugs to you this week, friend.
I should be a mom right now. I should be like, a real physical mom to an African toddler. I should be called mom by that said African toddler. I should be tucking him in bed every night and reading bed time stories. I should be taking him to the park and the zoo. I should be teaching him how to swim. I should be so tired because I’m chasing an insane 3 year old around all the live long day. I should be watching Curious George, singing the ABC’s, and teaching Bible stories.
I should have hilarious stories of life with a toddler. I should also have really hard stories of life with a toddler. I should be able to laugh with other moms as we share stories of raising little human beings. I should also be able to cry with them over the insanity that is being a mom. I should be able to share an alcoholic beverage with other moms because solidarity, sister. I should be coordinating play dates and outings to the park.
I should be having conversations with my husband about parenting and discipline. I should be laughing with him over funny things our kid did and said. I should be having to get babysitters so we can have what parents call “date night.” I should be forming family traditions and having family dinners. I should be sending my husband and son off on boys only outings.
I should be celebrating a holiday this weekend for the first time. I should be getting a cute homemade card and going to lunch with my family. I should be getting recognized in whichever way the church sees fit this year- standing up, flowers at the door, a mom speaker, pictures with your family, or something else.
I should be a mom right now. I should be like, a real physical mom to an African toddler. But I’m not.
And you know what? It stings. I’m a mom but I’m not a mom. I can feel the tension so thick in my heart. I feel sick to my stomach just thinking about walking through the doors of a church this weekend. I am already fighting back tears just thinking about watching all the other moms stand up as the congregation applauds them. I can feel my heart drop at the thought of a whole day of scrolling through social media and seeing cute pictures of moms and kids. I can feel the anger and sadness at the comments that have already been made and will be made all over again. The comments that make me feel like I’m the mom I know on the surface I’m not.
So this one is for the ones who should have been. If no one else sees you this weekend, I do. I see you. I see you because I’m one of you.
I’ll be the one sitting while all the other moms stand up. I’ll be the one trying not to audibly sob during whichever mom tribute is chosen this year. I’ll be the one at lunch without my child, the one not getting homemade cards, and the one not posting pictures of me and tiny tot. I’ll be the one smiling and nodding but probably just walking away from all the people who say all the wrong things.
I’ll be the one sitting because I was a mom for a minute, but I don’t have anything to show for it now. I’ll be the one trying not to sob because in my heart I am a mom to a little boy, I’m Mommy JT, but to the masses that doesn’t make sense so it can’t be, right? I’ll be the one not getting cards because they don’t make should have been cards. I’ll be the one not posting pictures because you can’t post pictures of things that should have been. I’ll be the one walking away from the people because walking away is just better at this point.
I should be a mom. You should be a mom. And if no one else tells you this weekend, I will. You are a mom. You’re a mom even if no one sees it. You’re a mom even if no one recognizes it. You’re a mom even if no one gets it. You are a mom. And to that I say, Happy Mother’s Day, friend.