for all the mothers

You are the hoping-to-be mother. 

You are dreaming of a baby, maybe for years. Every month you wait and hope. You daydream about nurseries and names. You envy other women’s round bellies and glowing smiles. You chart days on the calendar and read up on ways to increase your odds. You promise yourself you will never take a single day for granted once it happens for you.

I have been this mother, too. Part of my heart will always be here.

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. . .

You are the expectant mother.

You marvel at how your body is changing (and how hard pregnancy can be). You pour through books about what to expect. You wonder at the kicks and flips that keep you up at night. You count down to hear your baby’s heartbeat and see their sweet profile on the ultrasound screen. You wash tiny onesies and snap belly shots and write a birth plan. You try to imagine how your world will be transformed in a few short months.

I have been this mother, too. Part of my heart will always be here.

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. . .

You are the tired new mother. 

You were up for hours last night. You are trying to figure out how to feed this baby and how to coax your child to sleep. Your body is healing and your head is spinning and your heart is bursting for a tiny creature you just met. You are struggling with how life has flipped inside out since your baby arrived (and how much laundry one small person can churn out daily?!), but you would not trade it for anything.

I have been this mother, too. Part of my heart will always be here.

the mystery of mothering unfolding

. . .

You are the mother after miscarriage.

You are mourning the loss of a child that the world does not acknowledge. You are burying hopes and dreams for a whole life that will never be born. You will always remember the dates on your calendar that make your heart ache. You catch yourself when someone asks how many children you have, because you do not know how to answer.

I have been this mother, too. Part of my heart will always be here.

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. . .

You are the happy grateful mother. 

You sneak into your child’s room late at night to watch their peaceful face while they sleep. You marvel that you get to help raise this marvelous, maddening creature. You whisper thanks for the gift of this perfect, imperfect life. You tear up on birthdays and mark the milestones and snap secret photos to capture quiet moments. You cannot believe your child will ever know how deeply you love them.

I have been this mother, too. Part of my heart will always be here.

. . .

You are the everyday exasperated mother.

You are tired on a cellular level. You are guzzling caffeine to keep up with your kids’ boundless energy. You are rushing between work and home and school and sports and errands. You feel like you will explode if you hear one more cry,  scream, sass, or whine. You struggle to see the goodness of your days because you are stretched to the limit. You wish you could catch a break to breathe.

I have been this mother, too. Part of my heart will always be here.

the grit

. . .

You are the bereaved mother. 

You are stunned that the world continues to go on after you have been shattered. You are holding deep grief that has redefined your very self. You love a child you will never see or hold again. You know exactly how old your daughter or son would be today. You have to learn what it means to parent your child beyond proximity and physicality.

I have been this mother, too. Part of me will always be here.

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. . .

Maybe you have been some of these mothers, too.

Maybe you have been many others. The single mother. The divorced mother. The motherless mother. The birth mother. The adoptive mother. The foster mother. The estranged mother. The childless mother.

The ones for whom Mother’s Day is never as simple as cards and brunch and flowers can celebrate.

None of us is all of these things. But we are all here together. And together, we are what can make motherhood so complex – and sometimes challenging to celebrate.

We are the thousand colors of one stained glass window. Love’s light passes through each one of us, and we are changed. Because we know ourselves to be mother.

The world around us is changed, too.

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This day belongs to all of us, and we belong to each other.

So whether Mother’s Day is warm and wonderful, or whether you wish it would fly by so you could breathe easy again, remember that you are not alone.

And whenever we let our hearts be stretched to invite each other in, we all love better, bolder, and braver. Because we remember the mothers we have been. We imagine the mothers we might become. We honor the mothers we have loved.

And we love wider. Like the mothers we want to be.

12 thoughts on “for all the mothers

  1. Beautiful post, Laura! You and your family are still in my prayers. I will add (though it doesn’t fit your word pattern) “You are the mother of teenagers.” You are so proud of who your children are becoming, while at the same time worried about where they will go. Your heart aches watching and letting them struggle through failure, but know that this is also a healthy part of life so you offer your shoulder and your ear. You listen to rants and tantrums, excited stories and dreams (and love them all). You love the days they give you REAL hugs. You appreciate when they go to Church without argument and know that, perhaps much of the time they aren’t listening, but sometimes they do. You love them differently than when they were babies, but no less powerfully. Blessings to all mothers in every stage and age.

  2. Eloquently spoken, Laura — thank you for verbalizing what many of us struggle to express. I’ve been reading you for more than two years, and am always blessed with your blog. I’ve been several of these mothers, and I’m a couple of others that are written about. But I hadn’t realized my own situation quite in those terms. “Hugs” and peace to you and your beautiful family.

  3. So, so beautiful, Laura. Praying God blesses you in a special way this Mother’s Day. Your writing is such a gift and blessing to me. Thank you.

  4. It’s nice not to be alone in all the range of emotions that Mother’s Day stirs up. You have eloquently described many of the mixed bag of feelings I experience, too. Thank you for sharing this!

  5. I really wish I could read your blog posts, but the first few lines always bring so many tears that I can no longer see. You’re my favorite writer.

  6. Thank you for this post. I’m new to your blog. I read your miscarriage post linked here. I really needed to read that, and your newer posts. Thank you for writing so honestly about your experiences.

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