Mother’s Day is hard.

The four kids in my home had been asking all last week, “Is it Mother’s Day yet?”

They were excited to celebrate me.

They snuck hidden handmade gifts under their beds.

They giggled behind closed doors about their plans for me…their mom.

My heart is full.
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It was Mother’s Day weekend 7 years ago we lost our second child. Twelve weeks in my womb. The heartbeat could no longer be heard. I remember walking around that Mother’s Day with a little boy at my feet and a baby in my womb that was no longer growing. My poor family – how do you say “Happy Mother’s Day” to a woman still carrying a child she lost?

It was Mother’s Day four years ago that my precious grandma, the one my oldest daughter is named after, passed away.

Despite the painful memories that Mother’s Day brings – my cup overflows and my lips speak gratitude to God for the gift of motherhood.

There are not adequate words to express the joy I have in being a mother. The immense thankfulness I feel for knowing my children.

My home is full of laughter and a bunch of goofballs. I’ve got it good.
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And yet, in its fullness, I know there are depths of pain and hurt Mother’s Day brings so many.

I’ve never endured infertility.

I’ve never held a child and then lost that precious one.

I’ve never known a broken relationship with my own mom.

I know for many women, this past weekend was dreaded.

With flowers and cards and pictures celebrating the gift of motherhood….many ache. Many ache for the children they don’t have. Many ache for their own mother. Many ache. Many hurt. And while I cherish the treasures that my little ones gave me, while I enjoyed being celebrated as their mom…I so hurt for those that were hoping to just make it through the weekend.

Mother’s Day is bittersweet.

I hurt for so many women that feel such deep pain on a day when moms are esteemed.

This Mother’s Day I physically ached for my daughter…the one alone in a metal crib with wood boards for a bed. And while I ached for her, I thought of her first mother. A woman I know nothing about. A woman I am forever knitted too – we share a daughter. This year neither of us get to be with our girl. Last year, she carried our daughter in her womb when in the US we celebrated Mother’s Day. Did she know then that their future would not be together? This year our daughter does not have either of her moms holding her.

I have one photo of my daughter smiling. Though it is only a photo, I imagine that smile lights up a room. My heart is broken that her first mother never got to see that smile. Adoption is beautiful, but it begins in brokenness.

I don’t yet know how my youngest daughter will feel regarding how her life story began. But, I know how I feel. I know I want to recognize and honor her first mom. I want her to be celebrated in our home – she gave our daughter a priceless gift. I will get a lifetime to give our daughter kisses & hugs. I’ll get to give her applause, security, safety. I will get to give her tickle induced laughs and pink dresses and water balloons to throw at her big brothers. I’ll have a lifetime of giving to her, but there is one thing I could never give her. The gift of life. Her first mom gave her that and I owe a debt of gratitude on which a price can never be placed.

A balloon, a letter, a prayer and a hope for the mother that gave my daughter the gift of life….every year on Mother’s Day.

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  • Angela - My husband and I are in the paperwork process of our own adoption journey right now – after infertility and the blessing of our daughter, we are hopeful to add another life to our home – your posts on adoption are very inspiring for me. This post – particularly – spoke feelings I’ve never been able to communicate. Mother’s Day is a beautiful gift in my life, but it brings pain as well. Thank you for saying what I’ve been trying to frame into words.

  • Laura @Ms Smartie Pants - Your honesty takes my breath away and brings tears to my eyes, what a lucky little girl to have you for a mom!

  • Esther Shokair - thank you.

  • Amie - I am very much not the mushy sort but this almost brought me to tears. You have such a huge heart.

  • Tami C - Hi Ashley, I’m just catching up on your blog. This is a touching post and I have an inkling of what you struggle with on Mother’s Day. For me it is the 4th of July – the whole country is festive enjoying family, fun and fireworks. I lost a child at 12 weeks utero 10 years ago on the 4th (where has the time gone). Time has healed and given me one more child but on the 4th I get a little extra emotional. I long for Heaven where I pray I will be reunited with the life that began within me.

    I look forward to “meeting” your new little one soon on your blog. Thank you for sharing the journey with us!

  • elizabeth - such a lovely post Ashley. lovely!!

  • anything but LoKEY - Beautiful post Ashley! So well put. :)

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