My first Mother's Day was spent childless. (Though technically I suppose this is not true because I was eight months pregnant with Wyatt the Mother's day before, swollen with the reality that our baby would not survive.) But the year after, my first official Mother's Day I was almost nine months pregnant with a healthy little girl and missing my first little boy with all my heart. I was lucky that day for many reasons, my impending daughter being the most obvious. But I also had almost eleven months to prepare for that day. And despite every day that transpired between Wyatt's birth and my first Mother's Day, 339 to be precise, it hurt bad. The year after was filled with giggles, snuggles and kisses from our little girl and the years after that I was joined by two more daughters.
This year of course is different. This year we should be celebrating with another, Eli. I should be glowing and radiant in my motherhood, just eight weeks old. I suppose I am if you consider a small chest, flabby midsection and dark circles under my eyes radiant - I however, do not. This time I have only had 58 days to prepare and it hurts worse.
I will celebrate Mother's Day anyway. Not for my husband or my daughters but for me. Mother's Day is for mothers. It is a day to recognize ourselves and the great labors we have endured to bring our child or children into this world. Regardless of how or when that child or children left or will leave the earth, their birth(s) make us mothers. Motherhood is not something tangible. It is not measured by the rooms in a house or the seats in a car. It is innate, private, even intimate. It is unique to each woman in what it means.
Mother's day is a day to embrace our children, either in our arms or our hearts. A time for us to reflect on our love for them. I have lost two little boys who never lived to see the sun set and a pregnancy that never progressed to a first kick. But I gained from those losses too. I gained a greater respect for life and the fragile process of bearing a child. I gained perspective on taking things for granted and which fights are really worth fighting. I gained moments so pure that time can never erase them, moments when I first saw my sons, their very first cries, the first time I touched their skin, moments they snuggled into my chest and their very last moments of life. I dreamed dreams for their lives at the beginning of each pregnancy and revised those dreams to be just a little smaller later on. I think of them always and love them even more often. These are the things that make me a mother. These are the things I will celebrate.