When you’ve lost a child on Mother’s Day

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It isn’t easily happy.

Mother’s Day has to be the most emotion-filled nationally recognized day of the year. Perhaps not for everyone. But, to me, it seems like it must be.

I’ve only personally celebrated 6 of these special days. Sure some of them were filled with delightfully handprinted cards and banana breakfasts in bed (orchestrated by my ever grateful and special husband).

But yet, of the six, one was spent rushing a 3 year old daughter to an ER and then a PICU from a copperhead bite.

Another one was spent alone in a quiet home with only the sobs of my grieving heart as my precious baby’s body passed from mine after a pregnancy that was far-too-short, but so greatly desired.

On this day for Mothers to be happy.

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So many women long for the time to be able to celebrate this day. (“Can I stand with the other mothers in church if I’m still *only* pregnant?” – btw, I say super yes! Do it!)

So many women dread it. (“Do I stand with the other mothers in church if I’ve only ever been pregnant?”)

So many women drown in the guilt of it. (“My [grown] kid is telling me I’m not deserving of the term Mother.”)

Some despise what it means for so many others – because their own mothers weren’t what they wanted.

Sometimes the emotional pain and dread I fear for this day makes me curl up in bed and not want to do anything. Even weeks before this Mother’s Day was due to arrive.

But, I wanna be real for a second here. Because, I’ve learned in the last 727 days since my Mother’s Day loss two years ago, that there aren’t too many women that have a beautiful “innocence” of motherhood. Far too many women know deep down that Mother’s Day isn’t just about sentimental gifts made in Kindergarten and a special day off from cooking.

How can you be happy when you have more children in Heaven than you have here?

How can you be happy when now, perhaps for the first time, you have children who are no longer here to feel your love for them?

How can you be happy when your heart’s desire is to change terry cloth onesies and diapers – but all you’re changing on Monday is fertility supplements?

How can you be happy when your older child has you (and your tears, your prayers, your love), but you’re not even sure if, on this day, they will want to call you their Mom?

These questions thunder deep in my heart these long afternoons. I see new photos of my sweet baby Kyle that I haven’t allowed my eyes or my heart to see, and I feel the sense of loss all over again. As if he was just taken from my arms this day. His tiny hand out of mine. The hope of his healing here on earth gone. The minutes he didn’t move felt like hours – and during each one the hope I had of his healing, of his being alive, drained from my heart. And the hours he didn’t move over that weekend turned to tears that carried that hope from my eyes to my hands.  And I sat there in a crowded shopping mall. Numbly making phone calls and arrangements for my girls while people around me had no idea of what I was carrying.  The new maternity sweater I had worn once the night before – the last time I had felt him move – I guess I should return it? Maybe I shouldn’t have purchased it. But I couldn’t do it. Couldn’t even walk near the store. My heart was so much heavier than my womb. (Only a mom could do that for me. And she did. The day after she held her grandson’s body.)

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.” 

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Mary, the sister of Lazarus, who walked with the very person of God was sick with grief. Grief of lost expectations, a lost brother, a lost friend, lost hope.

And “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.” Not because He had lost a dear friend. But because He saw the hurt of sweet Mary. “Jesus wept.” Some around them even asked the hard questions.  “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus never rebuked them for their grief. He never rebuked them for their questions. In fact their grief moved him so much to weep himself. He feels our hurts. He hurts for us. He said this thing to Mary. “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”

But perhaps that believing is the hardest thing yet.

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Believing that God is in control. That God is indeed bigger than any of us. And our dreams. And our plans. And our desires.

My girls and I quote a verse often “For I know God can do ANYTHING…” 

but saying and believing are two different things entirely.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

A woman, who believes her baby will be born within the next nine months healthy and strong. She has hope. She has joy in believing.

A woman, who believes her family’s future is already planned in God’s mind. And His mind is set on Heaven, not on things on this Earth. Her family is just getting an early start there. She has hope. She has joy in believing.

A woman, who believes through the Spirit’s power, she can be a God-glorifying vessel to show God’s light to her own children, despite the past example she grew up with. She has hope. She has joy in believing.

A woman, who believes her heart and her future is tenderly held in God’s hands. And that because of that belief she can hope for the joy of children. She has hope. She has joy in believing.

A woman, who believes all little children are God’s children and can be her children. And loves them all.

She has hope. She has joy in believing.

God says, “Look to me. Watch what I can do.” (Micah 7:7)

Perhaps a Mother cannot solely be defined as a female who births a child. But instead, perhaps, as some explain, the definition is rather difficult to compose — “Because of the complexity and differences of a mother’s social, cultural, and religious definitions and roles, it is challenging to specify a universally acceptable definition for the term.”

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So perhaps a woman, who loves a child playing in the backyard, or anyone’s backyard, or one who loves a child playing in Heaven, or one who loves a child that hasn’t been given – yet, or one who loves a child that no longer reciprocates that love can still be called Mother. And can still be happy on this day.

Because she believes, and hopes, and loves.

“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

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–Romans 15:13, I Corinthians 13:13

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About Kim

I am a sinner, miraculously saved by grace, living by faith, and pressing toward the mark of being more like Christ. I absolutely love being a stay-at-home mom! I'm also a caterer for a few weddings throughout the year, a baker, and a party planner. And I love to play in other people's kitchens as well as my own! My husband, Chris, just finished his studies for his MA degree in Pastoral Studies. He's a wonderful (and super smart!) daddy - and the most loving and supportive husband. My two beautiful daughters, Chloe and Kami, are the joys of our lives! We pray that they both would be greatly used of the Lord. Throughout their short time here on earth, we have learned so much about ourselves, our God, and the gratefulness we have towards our own parents, who raised us in the ways of God's Word. Our third unborn child is a blessing as well - even after its recent pre-diagnosis of Trisomy 18, or Edwards Syndrome. This blog has kinda turned into a little journal of sorts of our dark journey down this rather uncommon road. I stay busy cooking, cleaning, gardening, and raising the plants I killed back to life, and homeschooling. I blog when get the chance. :) We are always happy to have visitors, so please stop by anytime! Although, if you do give us a call first, we'll make sure to have some fresh cookies and sweet tea available when you arrive!

6 responses »

  1. I thank God for the wonderful gift you have of being able to SHARE. I love you & your wonderful Family

  2. wow! what an incredible post on this incredibly hard weekend for my family. We have a 15 year anniversary on Sunday. My brother has been gone 15 years. He should be 29. Thank you for seeing all of the sides of Mother’s Day.

  3. I love this post! I had to stop reading several times to wipe my eyes. Sunday, along with Mother’s Day will be my mom’s birthday. Her 15th birthday in heaven. It will be a hard day, but I’m so thankful for the hope. The hope that you mentioned. The hope that only Christ can give! Thank you for your openness, honesty, and your willingness to use your trials for the glory of Him!

  4. I enjoyed this post – I too have more children in heaven than on earth. 3 with God and 1 daughter 1 son (heart patient) here on earth. While i wish all of my children were here with me My life has forever been changed because of the ones that are in heaven. I believe that my walk with God could not be what it is today without the loss that I experienced. I hope you have a blessed Mother’s Day.

  5. I adore your blogs, I cry when you cry, I worship and praise our God along with your words typed here. My heart is so full when you speak of Kyle, I think of that little angel frequently. I have one baby in heaven also, the pain never quite goes away. I pray for your family almost daily, and I marvel in the strength of your faith. Thank you so very much for sharing your family with me. My faith has been made so much stronger because of yoy and Kyle. I lost my mother in December, one of the last things I spoke to her was when she got to heaven was to take care of my baby. I know that my baby, Kyle and my Mother and Father are in the arms of Jesus together. Thank you so much for sharing!

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