A complicated day.
In one way, it’s an easy day for me. I love my mom and my mother-in-law, a lot. It is easy to celebrate them.
In another way, it’s hard. I am not a mother, but I would like to be.
And in another sense, I am a mother. Maybe. I have been pregnant, once, for six weeks.
I have heard it said that mothers aren’t really mothers until their children are born. Like, you shouldn’t really celebrate Mother’s Day until your children are outside of you.
And it makes me wonder--am I really a mother? Do I count?
My baby was the tiniest of babies, and my miscarriage was the least traumatizing of all possible miscarriages. I found out I was pregnant at four weeks, and when I started bleeding at six weeks and went in for an ultrasound the baby had already been reabsorbed into my body. There was nothing there. My doctor didn’t even initially believe that I had been pregnant, although my hormone levels later proved that I was. I never saw my baby, or heard the heartbeat.
So am I mother? Not to many people. I haven’t done feedings through the night, or changed even one diaper, or made any major sacrifices. All I’ve done is wept for that one tiny, beautiful, ephemeral embryo.
I don’t know if I count. I do know that if I attended a church that asked mothers to stand up to be recognized on Mother’s Day, I would definitely not stand up. Can you imagine the looks from people who know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have no children. But there is still that tiniest of babies that I had, for the briefest of times.
So Mother’s Day is complicated.
But let me tell you something encouraging. A group called The Compassion Collective is using Mother’s Day to raise money for unaccompanied refugee children and homeless American youth. For kids who don’t have moms. And I think that’s so incredibly beautiful.
Reese Witherspoon is on board with this, and she wrote the following on her facebook page:
My friend Cheryl Strayed started an amazing organization with some of her friends, #TheCompassionCollective. I love this idea that Mother's Day is about all the mothers of the world coming together to heal the world! We, the mothers of the world, can throw open our arms and feed the hungry, comfort the hurting, shelter the homeless, and mother the motherless. Who is more qualified?? No one! Let's help join hands and#GiveLikeAMother #MothersDay ❤
And she’s totally right. It’s amazing when mothers care for the motherless. But what made this so special for me was that it allowed me--the babyless, the almost-but-not-quite mother, the mother with the least possible motherhood cred--to help mother the motherless. My own baby is gone, and I will always grieve for that baby. But there are so many babies in this world who need love.
If Mother’s Day is complicated for you, because of miscarriage or the death of a child or infertility or your Mom was terrible or your Mom was wonderful but has recently died, or any of the thousand other things that can make Mother’s Day complicated in this broken world, I highly encourage you to give. Even just a little bit. We didn’t choose any of this brokenness, or any of these complications, but we can choose to help others in their own broken and complicated situations.
And if Mother’s Day is uncomplicated for you, I highly encourage you to celebrate that, and give!
I gave a little in celebration of my own mother and mother-in-law, and a little bit for my baby, and mostly for all those kids without moms. And the whole day just feels better. Less hard. Less complicated. More beautiful.
You can give here: http://thecompassioncollective.org/