As I stood for the first time as a mom for the Mother's Day blessing at church on Sunday, I had tears in my eyes.
Our little one kicked and twirled happily inside of me and it was obvious to others that I was a new momma, but my heart was also remembering our first baby. Would I have still stood up for the Mother's Day blessing if baby #2 were not making it's presence known to others? Would people have still honored me as a mom?
I thought of so many of my friends struggling with infertility. The ones who have miscarried multiple times. The ones preparing for surgery. The ones still waiting on their first positive pregnancy test despite years of treatment.
I thought of the years I spent before marriage with PCOS, wondering if my body would be able to conceive a child. My own surgery. The wondering and the waiting. The months after our miscarriage. The new diagnoses. The grief and the hope and the fear and the grace.
I thought of my single friends who would make amazing mothers. The ones waiting on God to send their future husbands into their lives.
I thought of the women I've served at work considering abortion and those who have chosen it. The ones who called us back afterwards with regret and sorrow. How were they feeling on this day, these silent grieving mothers?
And so even as I taste the deepest joy of being the mother of two precious souls, of our beloved Ignatius in heaven and our precious little one growing in me, Mother's Day is still bittersweet for me. I rejoice in being able to celebrate motherhood of both our babies for the first time this year but I hurt for the women who struggle with the day.
And somehow that's okay. As women, we are created by God with the complexity to experience these multiple emotions at once. Grief and gratitude. Sadness and delight. Weeping yet rejoicing.
So wherever you were this Mother's Day-- whether you were mourning the loss of your mom, aching for a child of your own, in the throes of mothering a brood of littles, or simply basking in your family "rising up to called you blessed"-- know that you can feel what you need to feel. Whether it was joy or sorrow, you have permission to feel it. Then look around at the women around you and whatever their situation, feel with them too.
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