This past Sunday was Mother’s Day. I feel incredibly blessed to have two little people who are alive, in my life everyday, and who get to call me Mom.
Mother’s Day still has its difficult moments for me. Yes, I’m grateful for the pregnancies I have had and for the children I have. I feel so fortunate to get to raise two of them. I’m thankful things like embryo donation exist, allowing Liam, frozen as an embryo for 6 years, to be born into our lives. I’m thankful that Elena was born free of SLOS and that we caught her heart condition in time. Both of my children are miracles, even beyond the very miracle of life. I love them with all of my being and they have given my life more meaning than I ever imagined possible. I am thankful, and I am grateful.
I predicted Mother’s Days would be difficult in my first Mother’s Day after losing Madelyn (in this post). I was wrong about one thing – I wouldn’t say that the day is overshadowed by her absence. At the time, I simply could not fathom how much healing the baby I was carrying would bring me. I truly am happy, which is something I never could have imagined in my darkest days of grief.
However, Mother’s Day cannot exist for me without a little bit of sadness. I hate knowing most people see us as a family of four. They compliment our beautiful children and tell us how perfect it is that we have a boy and a girl. I wish somehow people could determine by looking at us there was another, and that she too was beautiful and perfect.
I can’t expect people to magically know our family’s whole story. But I wish that were possible. I suppose that is my way of mothering her – by carrying on her memory and wanting her story to be known. Her life was brief, but it mattered. Her memory is deserving of more than being awkwardly glossed over in conversation.
I know loss is a concept that makes many uncomfortable. But loss is part of my reality, and I can’t change that. The birth of my two living children did not act as whiteout over Madelyn’s life or death. Madelyn’s presence may no longer be tangible, but she was very real. And the love we felt for her from the first moment we learned of her existence – the love that grew stronger each day, through every ultrasound, through every moment spent listening to her heartbeat, through the moment she entered this world, through the too brief time we held her in our arms- that love was not buried with her. It is still very much alive.
So while Mother’s Day is certainly a reason to celebrate and to appreciate how much I have been given, it is also a day that inevitably causes me to reflect on what was taken.
I’m happy. Truly happy.
But I still miss her.