The Mournful Mother

Mother’s Day is a celebration honoring motherhood in all forms; be it biological, step, adoptive or bereaved. It marks the point when one becomes a mother in the eyes of another. A holiday noted by
children making handprint shirts or mugs that announce “world’s greatest mom”. Flowers sent, cards given, meals gathered around this woman—this giver of unconditional love, this mother. Love this woman.

Mother’s Day also marks another year 1 in 4 women yearns for those mugs. It flamboyantly flaunts that these women are not mothers, no matter how hard they’ve tried. They wish to receive those flowers or cards and to hug their child and thank them for making them a mom. It shows them how much society needs women and their ability to give life. For these women who wish to be mothers, it represents another year of failure in their eyes. Every year it’s a sad reminder of what they’ve yet to carry out. Be kind to these women.

Mother’s Day is a harsh reminder for the bereaved. Those who’ve lost children, Mother’s Day serves as a bleak reminder that they won’t get any personalized gifts. They won’t be given sloppy paintings or hand written letters with inappropriately spelled words.  If they have other children and family meals happen in her honor, she’ll forever see that empty chair where one of her babies should be sitting. It’s a day like any other, that reflects a missing child. It tests the emotional tenacity of the bereaved; will she bend or break? Catch her if this woman falls.

It’s a time-honored tradition to celebrate this day and for so many, they wish they could sleep away those twenty-four hours. I know I do. Every year Aerilyn is gone is marked by what I’ve overcome despite soul-sucking grief. This moment, this pinnacle day rips me apart. It shoves handmade projects down my throat until I’m choking and can take no more. My husband typically helps my son make me something, which I’m very much grateful for, but he’s gone this year. He won’t be making me something this for this day, which means Aerilyn won’t be included either.

Motherhood isn’t marked by how many children you see, it’s measured by all children. I am a mother of two children and miscarried babies who never had a chance. My son is the reason “mother” became my title. My daughter is the reason I earned the title “bereaved mother”. Mother is still in that title, it still defines me no matter that you cannot see my daughter. No projects from her will be given to me. I’ll forever have to explain why you can only see one of my children. But make no mistake that I am Aerilyn’s mother. She was my daughter and as each Mother’s Day that passes, I’ll forever know that even though I can only see one child, my other one will always be with me. Regardless that I will never get a specially made art project from her, I can and did get art personalized to and for her.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there and know that if you’re in the bereaved group, you are a Mother. Never doubt that.


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