There are mothers without carseats, diapers or pacifiers. Mothers who do not have bedtime rituals or middle of the night feedings. Mothers without handstamped necklaces or birthstone rings. These are the other mothers – the ones in our midst who are quietly hurting.

I am burdened (though I know I needn’t be) for us other mothers. I can’t shake the feelings of injustice, each story cutting my heart anew, every remembrance bringing fresh tears. My friends – women God has placed in my life – are suffering. And other friends – more God-placed women – are joyful, yet I feel unable to rejoice with them yet.

This Mother’s Day, I should have been the mom of three. My home should have been bursting with an almost 3-year old, a 16-month old, and me at 15-weeks pregnant. I was supposed to be mom to all these babies, but instead I didn’t meet two of them. They joined throngs of other babies in heaven that were never held by their parents, countless babies that were held but didn’t breathe, and babies whose lives ended suddenly in tragedy. These are the babies I can’t get out of my head. These are the mothers I can’t get out of my heart.

Because while carrying a teeny human is no small feat, and laboring is just that – labor, and delivering a healthy squalling babe is the most taxing act ever accomplished, not doing these things is unbearable. On Sunday, I wished moms in my life a happy day with their beautiful families out loud, and I quietly celebrated the other mothers. The ones who lived – are living – pain in loss. The ones who have yet to carry a babe. The moms of heaven babies. The women who, with tears glistening, shared the exact date they lost their unmet babies – some 50+ years ago. The mothers with empty nurseries and still  rockers. The mothers whose adoptions fell thru or were abruptly reversed. The ones who grieve in secret, telling few. The ones with sacred tokens and mementos – engraved necklaces and scrapbook pages and hospital bracelets because that’s all they could take home with them.

And honestly, these are the mothers I celebrated on Sunday.

I was quiet on Mother’s Day, on and offline. Yes, I was celebrated, loved, cherished, and I returned each sentiment and was absolutely covered in gratitude for my darling son. But my heart was with those mamas, grieving with and for them, and for myself. My mind was completely caught up with Sam. Kate. Paula. Amy. Traci. Danielle. Therese. Jennifer. Diana. Jen. Marcia. and many, many others. It’s not fair, that some women get babies and a day dedicated to celebrating them. It’s unjust and maddening and sad and unfair. The only ones I could truly celebrate this year were us.

Mother of a heaven baby? I remembered you on Mother’s Day, and you are celebrated.

I celebrate you getting out of bed.
I celebrate you waiting to cry until after your newly pregnant friend leaves.
I celebrate you balling up your fist but not striking at the complaining of another mother.
I celebrate you enjoying a quiet evening with your husband.
I celebrate you crying in the shower at the overwhelming unfairness.
I celebrate you scrolling thru Facebook, steeling yourself against adorable joyfilled photos.
I celebrate you going to church and the park and Target.
I celebrate you enduring tests and procedures and endless needles.
I celebrate you as you slump against the toilet, allowing yourself to feel the cycle defeating you again.
And as you rise, choosing to do it all again tomorrow, I celebrate you.

I remember your babies. They, and you, are not forgotten. They matter. You matter. And on Mother’s Day, you, mother, were celebrated.

{girl with blog}

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