Do Not Forget These Moms on Mother's Day

11:22 AMHeather

Mother's Day is just around the corner. And while I have teased my kids mercilessly with all the ways they might bless me, I honestly don't take this holiday lightly.

Because there are some important moms to NOT forget this Mother's Day.

Moms Not Yet Moms. In my long career in adoption, I have watched first hand the anguish of many the mom who is not yet a mom. These are women whose very heartbeat is to become a mother. They feel all the mommy urges and wishes but their arms are still empty. Their dreams are unrealized. These are moms who are struggling through infertility and hopes and heartache and longing and sadness. May we never dismiss them on this national holiday. May we remember to validate their mommy's hearts and the longing that is not yet fulfilled. I cannot even tell you what it might mean to them if you sent a note or offered a hug or made a phone call to tell that you see them and you share their dream with them, praying for the day their arms are filled with the child they are waiting to hold.

Moms Not Raising Their Kids. If I could only speak eloquently to the incredible birth mothers that I have known over the years. From the young teenager who was too scared to tell her parents she was pregnant to the forty-plus birth mother who thought her childbearing days were over and she had to tell her grown children otherwise. These are brave, loving, selfless and caring mothers. Who loved their child with the kind of sacrificial love that is difficult to explain. These are the moms who made a careful plan for their child's futures. In domestic adoption, these are the moms who carefully selected an adoptive family and made birth plans and signed legal paperwork to secure their child's future. And there are also moms whose own battles impede their ability to parent, and so their children are removed by third parties. In every single international adoption, there is a mother around the world who still thinks of the child she is not raising. Maybe this is the mother who lurked around the corner after she left her baby at the bus stop, carefully watching until the infant was safe in the arms of someone who would take the child to an orphanage and a better future.  The reasons and processes and circumstances are as varied as it comes, but there are moms all around the world who are not raising their children. Yet, they are still a mother. Their heart still aches and prays for the child they love.  Let us not forget these moms.

Moms Raising Step kids. A dear friend become a wife and mother in the last year, and I must say, it has been a vivid reminder to me of how invisible step moms can be in our culture. She loves these children like her own, but finds herself in quite an undefined category. They feel like her kids, but they call another woman mom. She longs to make memories and build traditions, but they don't live with her full time. She is a mom, but yet the only word for it is step mom. Which we all know has some negative connotations, thanks to fairy tales. She is the furthest thing from wicked, and she is seeking to find her way on a path with few perimeters and many complications. This Mother's Day, let's applaud and celebrate all the moms raising children whom they share with another mom. 

Moms Who Have Lost Their Children. I can distinctly remember the first Mother's Day after my miscarriage. I was childless, but yet I felt a tug to stand when the pastor called for all the moms in the congregation to do so. I felt like a mother. But I had no child to hold and no proof of my standing. This Mother's Day, the searing pain of loss is intensified for every mother who has lost their child or children. I think of April Smith, whose story I heard at the IF Gathering. She is the Arkansas mom who lost her children in the tornado just over a year ago. She is a mom. Without children to mother. For every mother who has buried a child or lost a child through miscarriage, may we offer our love and support and recognition and prayers. May we remember as we laugh and exchange cards and offer gifts and breakfast in bed that there are mothers who would rather crawl under the covers because of the reminder that this day is for them.

Moms Who Never Became a Mom. There are wonderful, beautiful "moms" who mother their nieces, nephews, and other children. My own children have had amazing teachers who don't have children "of their own" -- but every year, they invest and pour themselves into the twenty-plus children in their classroom. They serve as my child's "mother" for eight hours a day, and then during all the time they take in the evenings and weekends to make my child's school year amazing. They may not have ever given birth or adopted, and perhaps their earlier dreams of motherhood are fading...but they are moms nonetheless. They serve as honorary mothers and spiritual mentors and caregivers to all the children and friends whom they love and care for and with whom they share their talents and time. These precious women are so often overlooked. We forget them so easily. Maybe their lives have taken a different turn than they expected. Maybe they thought they'd be married with children by now. Or maybe they made a decision to not be a mother that they now regret. But, they are still moms. Perhaps not in the traditional sense. But they play the role by choice to those whom they bless. And as I've said, "framily"--family by choice-- are among the most incredible treasures we gain in life. Thank them on Mother's Day. Send them a Mom's Day card and let them know that their choice to act as a mother and mentor means the world to you.

Children Without Moms. As Mother's Day approaches, I am brought back to the one month anniversary of losing my dad. It fell on Father's Day. Honestly, for years, I avoided Father's Day altogether. I would stay home from church or fill my calendar with other activities. Because it was just too hard to be reminded of the one I had lost. The same is true for so very many children, including adult children, who have lost their moms. Mother's Day is hard. My mind turns to a sweet friend who lost both her adopted mother and adopted father in the last year. These "motherless" children need our love and attention as well. Let us turn our thoughts to those who have lost their moms and take time to reach out to them.

Likewise, there are many whose relationships with their moms are strained, perhaps to the point of complete estrangement. Mother's Day cards at the store might feel like cruel taunting as their relationship with their moms do not fall into the pretty floral category of being celebrated. This is another very ambiguous category on Mother's Day. Those who have a mom but it's not the relationship they wished they had. It's a very hard place to be. Having a mom and trying to make a way when there are scars and bruises and wounds in the way. So, think through your circles. Do you have a friend whose has shared her hard relationship with her mom? Let her know on this Mother's Day that you see her. And you've got her back along the hard road.

I'm sure that there are about a zillion other caveats and categories that I could dive into here. But, I hope I've simply offered the reminder to every reader that Mother's Day isn't sunshine and roses for everyone. It's not just another day on the calendar. It's also a day that is endured because of the pain that it provokes. 

So because of that reality, I challenge every one of you bloggy friends to go to the store and find a card or buy a flower or make a phone call or set up a lunch with a mom who falls into these categories. Let these women know that you see them, that you love them, and that they are celebrated, as well. Don't choose silence for fear of provoking their pain. I guarantee you that Mother's Day does not allow such a luxury anyway. So, validate them and stand with them in their hard places.

Because Mother's Day isn't just for the perfect wonderful moms who fit the definition exactly. It's a day to acknowledge the moms who have lost, who have loved, who have grieved, who have struggled, who have been through hard things. It's a day to think outside of the box and say to every "mom" you know-- I see you. And you are special.

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