There are many different women who deserve to be acknowledged on Mother’s Day. Don’t let Hallmark tell you otherwise. They may say it’s all about the ones who have swaddled and suckled, but without discounting those types of mothers, I beg to include some others.
Let’s start our celebration with the traditional moms. The ones who don’t wear capes, but should.
They are the women who have carried and cared for little ones without relent. The women who have forgone food, and personal space, and the freedom to pee alone. The ones who have wished away time, and told time to stand still. They put their spouses secondary; their bodies have been stretched, and sag, and are unrecognizable at best.
Some work, but wish they were home more. Some stay home but work harder than ever before. These mothers—by birth and by heart—bend, but never break. After all, mothering is the hardest thing they’ve ever loved.
This day is for them. To refresh and be reminded of their worth.
And then there are the women whose families are incomplete. They crave a baby, but it’s yet to come. If you fall into this category, Mother’s Day will undoubtedly be a rough one. Social media will be overflowing with handpicked flowers and cards written in crayon. It’ll be difficult to look away, and even harder not to give up hope. I get it.
My body gave up two babies before I got the two I have now. The cycle of hopeful to hopeless still makes me sick. After all, there’s nothing worse than doing everything right only to get an undesirable outcome.
Love making becomes robotic. You live and breathe for a tiny pink line when only a period comes.
You stop feeling happy for those around you, those you love deeply and now…deeply envy. There’s calendars, and apps, and hormones, and adoption fees, and the hard realization that we really are not in control of any of it anyhow. It’s excruciating.
But all of it's molding you into an excellent mother. The waiting, the disappointment, the elation, the letdown—it’s part of the pregnancy process and it’s part of parenthood.
And I can confidently say, to the woman who is submitting herself to all that and more: you will become a mom. Your mothering may just take longer to obtain—or come in a different form than you originally thought.
There are a lot of beautiful bonds in this life that don’t come from a birth canal, so persevere. Fight the good fight. Try to trade your expectation for appreciation and be impregnated with hope. I get what it feels like to have an empty womb and a full body of disappointment, but I also understand the importance of never giving up.
This day is for you to remain pregnant with possibility.
And then there are the women who are estranged from their own mothers. The ones who have learned that the right to make a baby doesn’t always mean you have the right to raise one. You may have butted heads with your mom, or know better than to even be in the same room with her, but either way, this day may make you feel like you’re missing out. You wanted June Cleaver, you got chaos.
But consider this: if we’re going to blame those mothers for all the bad in our lives, we have to blame them for all the good too. We have to blame them for the fact that we will never repeat their mistakes.
Blame them that because of their errors, you are a better, more tolerant mother to your own children. Take their pitfalls and make them your peaks. If the apple falls far from the tree sometimes we can consider it a blessing.
This day is for you to remember that it’s our obligation to love, but some mothers we must love at a safe distance.
And finally, there are the women who have lost their own mothers, or unthinkably, their own child. Maybe this is your first holiday without them or your fifteenth. It doesn’t really matter though because the hole will never close.
But inside that space there’s beauty. It means you were the recipient of good, good love. So bake their favorite cookies. Sing their favorite song. Remember a moment that makes you laugh so hard that you leak. Then cry a bit too and carry on. If you’re a mother, this goes without being said. Warriors like you just will.
This day is still yours.
If there was only one word to describe a mother I’d say: nurturer. To me, that’s the essence of motherhood. To nurture—to bring forth, to grow, foster, connect, enhance. And if that’s the definition, it can be applied to any woman who is mothering any thing: a child, a career, a relationship, a goal, a broken heart. Mother’s grow things. They make them better. Yes children, but also their own dreams and ambitions.
So today, all days, let that be the gift. Let whatever you’re mothering grow and go. Trust that what you’re sending off into the world you’ve done well with—then turn that care right around to yourself.
After all, today is a day for all of us.
Happy Mother’s Day.