written last Mother’s Day
Since I got married just a few short weeks after Mother’s Day, every Mother’s Day since my wedding I’ve celebrated as a mother. That first year I had a little one growing beneath my heart–and a terrible flu bug (baby’s daddy had it too–it wasn’t just morning sickness!). The next year I was cradling my baby daughter in my arms. This year, my husband held our daughter throughout church since the new baby growing within me is leaving less and less room in my lap.
Each year I celebrate Mother’s Day as a mother, the emotions grow only more poignant. Because on Mother’s Day, I don’t just think of my babies and my mother, mother-in-law and grandmothers. My thoughts are all weekend long with my dear friend to whom the Lord has not given children of her own–yet He has used her to be a mother, mentor and big sister to so many like myself. My heart aches for a friend who was left a widow just a few short months after her wedding, before she ever had a little version of her husband to carry in her arms. My prayers are with my cousins-in-law, whose first little one went home to Heaven just hours after he was born two and a half years ago. She is due again next month, and oh how I pray for a healthy baby for them to hold in their arms. And my thoughts turn to my grandmother, whose own mother went home to Heaven in the wee hours of one Mother’s Day weekend years ago.
But this Mother’s Day, tears streamed down my face for another mother–and the thousands upon thousands of women like her. A mother who never saw her baby’s face. A mother who in fact chose to kill her own little one. A mother whose very own mother told her not to tell anyone, that they would just “get the problem taken care of.” A mother who drove herself to the abortion clinic at the urging of her baby’s own grandmother.
I’d heard stories just like hers countless times before. But when she stood up in church on Sunday, when her husband said she wanted to say a few words before the lady from our local crisis pregnancy center spoke, I had no idea what was coming next. As her tears spilled over while she spoke of the importance of centers like this being there for young moms, as she struggled to get out the words explaining how she wished someone, anyone had been there that day in 1979 when she walked through the doors of an abortion clinic–my heart just broke.
When I hugged her afterwards, the tears spilled over again. “I would have a thirty-year-old,” she told me. And of course, she’s convinced it would be the girl she’s never had. I tried to tell her I was sure her sons would provide her with lots of granddaughters. I tried to tell her that God used her story even today to bring home the importance of supporting and being involved in our local crisis pregnancy center.
But how do you comfort a mother who daily lives with the knowledge that she took the life of her own baby? “Happy Mother’s Day” sounds rather shallow in the light of that kind of pain.
All I know how to do is continue to let her love on my little girl, understanding now why she gets so emotional about my pregnancies, talk of adoption and grandkids. And I can pray for her in a whole new way. Pray that God gives her those beautiful grandbaby girls. Pray that God continues to give her courage to share what she went through so that others won’t be celebrating Mother’s Day the way she has for the past thirty years.
And then I ask myself, ask the Lord, what more should I be doing to help save the lives of little ones who are just as dear to the Lord as the wee one growing within me? What more can I do to reach out to the moms with “crisis” pregnancies around me?
I don’t know what opportunities the Lord may give me. But I know that many of them begin with simply being a smiling, thankful, expectant mommy–behind the counter at work or out on the town grocery shopping. Showing others that motherhood is not a chore, but a blessing–that babies are not an “oops,” but a joyful bundle of life. Because all the joy and love that God created babies to bring is why our country began observing Mother’s Day in the first place. And to celebrate motherhood is to celebrate life.