Happy Mother’s Day to all my family and friends who aren’t the mother they wanted to be.
But, who doesn’t fall into this category? Even if you have all the children you want, each one comes with its own unique guilt-package. I’ve never met a mother who really meant it when she said she had one too many children; usually during the teenage years. I know quite a few who wished they had more or worried about not teaching their children better.
I was childless until I married a man with 3 children. They have always been kind to me and treated me with respect. I’ll never forget their first Mother’s Day card to me. I mean the first one that their dad didn’t buy for them. It caught me completely off-guard and touched my heart.
When I was a child I loved to play with dolls. I loved baby animals and baby humans. I wanted to be a mother when I grew up. I wanted TEN children!
As I grew into adolescence I discovered that I wouldn’t be able to bear my children. But I don’t give up on a dream based on science! I have my faith! Besides, our children come to us in all sorts of ways so there’s always adoption. But a poor choice in a marriage partner threw that option out the window too. I was still hopeful into my mid-30’s when I married my sweetie who had my 3 children half-raised. What a deal this was. I got to avoid the sleepless nights, diapers, potty-training and endless hours of “mommy watch me!” The topic of invitro was discussed but eventually dismissed. It was so hard to give up that dream. I think that parenting a teenager might be a good form of birth control though. As a step-parent of teenagers, I felt the heartache of letting them make their own mistakes. I often wondered how a mother with a stronger bond could actually survive those feelings. I knew that my feelings must have paled in comparison to their dad’s or mom’s.
Our oldest was almost marrying-age, though, and we could have a grandchild before too long. And that’s exactly what happened. That baby girl is graduating from High School in a couple weeks! She is a beautiful young woman and has an amazing mom. What an ideal situation this was for me! Getting just enough of the sleepless nights, diapers, potty-training and endless hours of “grandma watch!” to appreciate what my mother and our daughters do for their children.
Our daughter’s motherhood dreams weren’t completely fulfilled either. She would have loved to had more children; but life didn’t allow for it. The thrilling announcement of her expected 2nd child came when her daughter was 16. She and hubby were ecstatic. Our granddaughter wasn’t quite as thrilled. But she warmed up to the idea of having a little brother and also looked forward to it. Our daughter was in her 9th month when the baby died. Her Mother’s Day will never be the same. But she’s an even more amazing mom now. Mothering a child in Heaven adds an incredible dimension that I cannot fully fathom.
I also have a niece who is blessed with one (perfect) son but would have loved to have more children. It was not in the cards for her either. Does it seem to you that there are more and more people with infertility these days?
It has become tradition, in church, for mothers to be given a flower or other small token of appreciation. Our church includes any woman 18 and older because women have a natural nurturing that makes them mothers even if it’s not to children they’ve born. It has taken me a long time to feel comfortable accepting this gift. I don’t know a whole lot of women who are completely comfortable with it. Maybe a traditional mother expects the recognition from her children; but not so much from others. The mothers I know feel humbled when praised for being a mother. Maybe because it doesn’t feel heroic but just something natural?
I have an amazing mother. She raised me to believe in myself and to focus on the things that I could do instead of what I couldn’t. She helped me discover things about myself so that my inability to bear children didn’t make me feel like a failure as a woman. It is because of her that I am able to recognize the mother in me. (I had to stop and let the tears clear for a minute! The Spirit always moves me to tears.)
I am also grateful, to my sweetie, for my miracle babies.
As I’ve said before – no one calls me Mom but 6 perfect children call me Grandma. And I know our 7th will too when I see him in Heaven someday.
Now quit feeling sorry for yourself and bask in the praise! It may only come once a year. 🙂
Happy Mother’s Day!