My husband gets me a card now on Mother’s Day. He gets it but I had to explain to him, a number of years ago, that I needed a card on Mother’s Day……That’s OK. A lot of people don’t understand how to deal with us. I like to call us the silent mothers- those who consider themselves mothers- even if the rest of the world does not. Many people don’t know that I have three children who await meeting me one day face to face. Three children that I was only allowed to carry inside of myself for a few months. While they were there, I dreamt of what they would be, how they would look, what they would like, what they would do and how my husband and I would take care of them.
When you have a miscarriage- most of the world goes on like nothing has happened at all. Heck, many people in today’s world don’t even consider what I lost to be real children. They were fetuses, or a group of cells. But that is not what I believe. I believe that life starts at conception and though my children may have not been fully formed physically, I believe that a fully formed soul inhabited each of those tiny clusters of cells. At nine weeks, a baby already looks like a little gummy bear. Parts are being formed. Things are happening. When that stops happening, as far as I am concerned, a life is lost.
I have been through the horrible disappointment and grief of miscarriage three times. On each occasion, I went back to work within a day or two. My job, for many years was teaching and caring for children from birth through age five. I will not even try to put into words how it feels to have to go back to that job after losing a child. Looking back, I cannot even believe I was able to do that but my faith in God enabled me to do what needed to be done. Now that I am a Pastor, I still have children in my life. In addition to my church job, I also am a part time nanny. I can never have a life without children in it.
In addition to the three children, who wait to meet us in heaven, I have many, many children who have taken residence inside of my heart. Children I have cared for in sickness. Children I have comforted. Children I have tucked into bed. Children I have bathed and fed and read bedtime stories to. Children whom I have prayed for. Children whom I have taught to pray. I could go on and on. I have a mother’s heart.
A few years ago, while undergoing psychological testing to determine my fitness for ordained ministry, I had to meet with an Anglican priest who also happened to be a psychologist. As he listened to my life story and assessed my mental profile he looked at me and said, “God has allowed your mother’s heart to endure great heartbreak but think of what your mother’s heart will be able to offer the Church.”……In my whole life, he was one of the few who got it and I will forever be thankful for that time in his office.
So I walk tender on Mother’s Day, always looking around for the unexpected land mine to go off. Like the year that one of the older church ladies walked right up to me after I accepted a Mother’s Day flower and said- loud enough for all within a five foot radius to hear- “Why did YOU take a flower? You’re NOT a mother!!!!” (One of the few days in my life that I HATED being in church)………
Will I take a flower this year? Is it worth it to assert my right to hold a flower on Mother’s Day? I have not decided yet. Every year, I hesitate on this question. One thing I can look forward to tomorrow….there will be children at church who will grow to love me. There will be children there for me to love. Children to teach. Children to sing with. Children to pray for. Children who will be loved and served by my mother’s heart. Until I meet Jesus and my three children who are waiting for me- that will have to be enough.