Sunday, May 9, 2010

Thoughts on Mother's Day

In list form, because I love lists, here are a few thoughts on Mother's Day:

1) When I was a child and young adult Mother's Day was about going to church and then breakfast and wishes and hugs for my mom. I have a few images in my mind of having my younger brother and sister pick wild flowers and give them to my mom. That's not a Mother's Day memory, but it's about my mother. (I pretty much have a crappy memory, and I know it. I try, but frequently fail.)

2) Becoming a mother is the most powerful emotion I've ever felt. It's pure interaction with evolution; the fierceness of a mother protecting her young motivated by love. Love that's surprises even those who are pretty good at loving and nurturing others to start. 

3) The death of my only child, threatened to destroy my new role as a mother. Caitlin Anne lived for 11 weeks, and her death made me unrecognizable to myself. It's a struggle to find that new normal, but I'm on my way.

4) Society doesn't like to remember the tragic death of a child, and assumes that bereaved mothers "shouldn't be reminded of 'it'" because it will cause pain. That's bullpucky. Ignoring our children (not 'it') is what causes the most harm. If you can't say "Happy Mother's Day," say, "I hope you have a gentle Mother's Day" or "I'm thinking about you and your child, today."

5) It's true that you don't know what it's like to be a mom, until you are one. But, I maintain that once you're a mother you don't know what it's like to not have children. To be ever viewed with a mixture of apathy and pity when the answer to "Do you have children?" is "no" is so easily forgotten or worse, used to measure the worth of your women hood over another's.

6) (This one may be viewed as mother-sacrilege.) Giving birth to a child doesn't make a woman an automatic "saint." Moms don't get automatic points for giving birth; "best mom of the year" requires the ability to love fiercely and nurture. Women who don't give birth are capable of nurturing to a degree that, in my opinion, equals that of the average mom.

7) Although, Mother's Day, seems to be about pampering and cards and flowers, it began in connection to grief, which I find to be remarkable, and well, empowering. Reading about Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis might give plenty a different perspective.
8) I remain grateful for my daughter's gift of motherhood to me; and humbled really.

9) I remain grateful for the fierce love and nurturing of my own mother.

10) I remain grateful for the nurturing women in this world, who know that it is the ability to nurture and be compassionate with others that is most important.


  1. I hope the day was gentle on you.
    I was thinking of you and Caitlin yesterday.

  2. All of this is so very true.

  3. I like your thoughts, especially about loving "fiercely". That's how I feel over my children- the ones here and the one in Heaven--fiercely in love with them.
    Hugs to you on this tender day.

  4. I love this: "I hope you have a gentle Mother's Day"

    And I wish it for you. You and Caitlin have been on my mind this weekend. XOXO, my friend.

  5. Great list, and all so very true. I love the photo of you at the cemetery. (((hugs)))

  6. I think all that you say is very true. You are so brave to be grateful in the way that you are. With love, Alice

  7. This is a beautiful, true post. I hope your Mother's Day was gentle.

  8. Your thoughts and points are all so true. Thank you for writing them. I hope the day was gentle.

  9. Hugs, you are a beautiful Mom xxx