May 02, 2022

Mother's Day Shadow
Rachel Rutkie

We are told Mother’s Day is one filled with delicious brunch, homemade cards, and familial love.

This holiday can be a great joy for some; celebrating motherhood and appreciating the hardworking maternal figures in our lives is necessary.

At the same time, this holiday can evoke heartache. There is ambiguous grief, seldom acknowledged, that lies in Mother’s Day’s shadow.

To you, the mother whose child has passed. Your pain is unlike any other. You will always be your child’s mother and the love you shared is not in vain.

To you, the mother whose baby was lost before they came into this world. Your body and heart has known a great love that is lost. Your pain and grief is real.

To you, the mother whose child is still only an idea. The fluctuation between hope and disappointment is exhausting. Your efforts matter and your love is powerful.

To you, the mother whose child is terminally ill. Though your strength is admired by many, your pain is often pushed aside with the “all will be well” attitude. You deserve space to feel all that is here and to be seen in all the complexity that is your experience.

To you, the adoptive mother who may question whether you can be all your child needs. Your showing up and unconditional love is appreciated. Your love can be healing.

To you, the birthmother whose child has been raised by another. You have a bond with your child that no one can take from you. Your child remains connected to you, a loss you both endure.

To you, the mother who identifies other than a woman, whose motherhood is directly or indirectly questioned. Your nurturance is exactly what your child needs. Whichever label resonates with you is valid.

To all the mothers I missed in this post, your pain of feeling unacknowledged is real. The anger you feel is valid. You are not alone.

Lastly, to the children of mothers who have been abandoned, rejected, or neglected. To the children of mothers who have passed. It may feel like something is missing; your existence is legitimate and you are worthy of the warmth, gentleness, and nurturance that is often associated with a mother’s presence. You are loved.

It can be healing to acknowledge our pain. If anything above resonates for you, consider lighting a candle in a quiet space this Mother’s Day. Reflect on your experiences with maternal figures and motherhood and give yourself permission to feel whatever comes up to whatever extent feels safe.