When we think of motherhood, we often think of mothers with a few healthy, cute stair-step children, doing Pinterest worthy activities together. But the reality that is often not seen are invisible mothers with no living children and mothers with invisible children. The suffering that nobody sees as you feel your missing child’s absence every single day for the rest of your life.
I’ve experienced the more rewarding parts of motherhood – getting to watch one of my son’s grow from a tiny baby into a smart, funny little boy. I’ve also experienced one of the worst – outliving one of my children.
Most pregnancy/childbirth/postpartum articles will list out a myriad of issues you might deal with during each stage of having a baby, but most wrap it up nicely by saying something along along the lines of “but it will all be worth it once your baby is in your arms”. Except sometimes, it doesn’t work out that way.
I’m a mommy who had her baby taken away suddenly and without warning. This month, I fully expected to have a two month old baby. I thought I would be immersed in the world of dirty diapers, spit up, sleepless nights, and nursing around the clock. I thought I would be toting around a diaper bag and a carseat. And after waiting over three years for another child, I was ready and overjoyed to experience it all once again.
Instead, I’m a mommy with a new baby that nobody can see. Nobody will congratulate me on the new baby, or remark on what features my sons share. Nobody will realize that I am the mommy of not just one, but two beautiful boys.
I’m a mommy who waited over a year to get pregnant the first time, and two and a half years the second time only to have it end in an almost full term loss. My story can’t be wrapped up nicely and tied with a bow. Nobody really hopes for a story like mine. It’s a reminder of the reality of parenthood, that even though we can try to do everything right, ultimately we can’t control what happens with our children. We are not guaranteed a single minute with our children. It’s not even guaranteed that we’ll have children. It is all in God’s hands.
If you take away anything from my story, please let it be a reminder to enjoy the time you have with your children and don’t take them for granted. And if you see a mommy like me who holds more children in her heart than her arms, acknowledge all of her children and let her know you are thinking of her on this Mother’s Day.