In the words of my husband, a picture speaks a thousand words, but a thousand words isn’t nearly enough to describe the emotional, physical, and spiritual pain of grief and loss. For me, this comes in the picture of “infertility” and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss.
I know many of you reading may be grieving this Mother’s Day. Grieving the loss of a child. Grieving the loss of a mother. Grieving infertility. Some of you may be like me, and may sit on both sides of the fence this Mother’s Day: celebration and grief. Whatever you are feeling, it is OK. It is OK to feel sad. It is OK to grieve. It is OK to celebrate. I am blessed to be able to celebrate my incredible mother this Mother’s Day, yet I will also grieve and feel the sting of the children I’ve carried in my womb whom I never got to carry in my arms. David and I recently had our seventh miscarriage in April. If you don’t know our story, you can read it here. This Mother’s Day will be my third Mother’s Day feeling the sting of death, loss, and grief. It doesn’t always get easier with time. To me, it actually gets harder.
My favorite Mother’s Day ever was in 2014. David and I were with my family in Charleston for my brother’s graduation from the Citadel. I had the unbelievable privilege of being able to celebrate my mother and grandmother who were both there, and also celebrate the fact that I was a mother-to-be just shy of seven weeks pregnant with my first pregnancy. That Mother’s Day I was able to not only celebrate my amazing mother just as I had done every year prior, but also celebrate that I was becoming a mother myself. There isn’t really a word for mothers (or fathers) who have lost their children… especially children who weren’t even born yet. The word most people tend to use to describe a woman who has recurrent pregnancy loss is “infertile”.
If I am being honest… I don’t really identify as infertile and have struggled to know if “infertility” even applies to me. My situation is different than what most people think of when they think of infertility. Conceiving has never been a problem for us, however, we have never been able to carry a pregnancy to term.
If I am still being honest… and this is my blog so I will continue to be honest… I don’t really identify as a “mother” either. I struggle to know if “motherhood” actually applies to me. I have experienced losses in a way only a mother could know and understand, yet I have not experienced the joys of motherhood in the way only a mother could know and understand. Let’s just add confusion to the list of emotions I experience on Mother’s Day! 😉
The last three years have been unbearable and heartbreaking, and if you are struggling with infertility or recurrent pregnancy loss, you are not alone. I know how difficult this day can be, and I grieve with you.
To those who aren’t grieving this Mother’s Day, please feel free to celebrate! Celebrate your amazing mama’s and celebrate the children who made you a mom. Post all the pictures on Facebook and Instagram, and write all the paragraphs about how amazing your mom is (I know I will definitely be celebrating my Mom!) or how amazing it is to be a mom. Just please, try not to take any of it for granted. Try to remember that while you are celebrating, some of us will be grieving. Both are OK. Some of us may take a step back from social media this Sunday, and we may miss the pictures you post or neglect to “like” or comment on your posts. Please have grace for us as we try to navigate the tricky waters of grief and loss. Know that any aversion to your celebratory posts are not personal.
If you know someone who is grieving this Mother’s Day and if you happen to remember them on Sunday, reach out to them and just let them know you’re thinking about them. Whether it’s someone who has lost a child, has experienced miscarriage, has lost their mother, has a damaged or broken relationship with their mother or children, or is experiencing infertility, it can often mean the world to us to know our grief is validated, seen, and remembered. Grief often goes with us for years after the initial feelings of loss occurred. Knowing someone remembers our grief and takes a small step of kindness to demonstrate they care can make the pain of grieving on Mother’s Day sting just a tiny bit less.