Mother’s Day

I have to admit that this is a bittersweet day for me. Tomorrow, we celebrate mothers. We recognize the love a mother has for her child and the love a child has for their mother.

A mother’s selfless love is incomparable to any other. It is raw, vulnerable, and unfaltering. It begins the moment you open up your heart to your child and is carried with you until the day you die. Unlike any other relationship in life, regardless of the circumstances, it cannot be compromised.

This day, I am reminded of the endless love I hold for Theodore and my unborn child. Their breath is my breath; they both hold my heart in their precious hands and for them, my pride overflows.

Sometimes when Theo is having a bad day, I wonder if I could go back to the days before I was a mother: before I experienced the unparalleled ache of daily watching my child struggle to survive…labouring with every breath, vomiting consistently, crying out in pain as his hands and feet decompose. If I could go back to those seemingly easy, carefree days, would I?

I know that even if I could, I wouldn’t. The greatest moment of my life was the day Theo was born and I wouldn’t trade watching him grow and learn that first year for anything in this world. Since his illness, I’ve also learned that my love for him knows no bounds. Even though I’ll likely be burying my son rather than him burying me, I wouldn’t change it. I wouldn’t change the incomparable joy of being a mother. To have never experienced this joy is a much worse outcome.

This is a difficult day for me, however, and I’ll admit that I’ll be fighting back feelings of jealousy and loneliness tomorrow. My son won’t be running to me tomorrow morning with a hand drawn card and sloppy kisses. He won’t be able to say Mama, give me a hug or even smile when he sees my face. We won’t be dressing him in a cute outfit and heading out to brunch. Instead our day will be the same as every other – administering pain meds, suctioning and providing oxygen, and changing his dressings.

Tomorrow, I won’t be celebrating Mother’s Day like most moms, and neither will the mother who’s experienced infertility, miscarriage, adoption struggles, stillborn or child loss. For these women on Mother’s Day (and every other day), their gentle, maternal hearts should be appreciated, their loss and grief recognized, and the difficulty that this day may pose acknowledged.

Theo can’t express his love for me but I remind myself that it’s there. I know how much he loves me and he knows the boundless love I have for him. This Mother’s Day will be mixed with pain and joy but we’ll be spending the day celebrating our unconditional love, a love I would never change.

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7 comments

  1. You are always in my daily thoughts and tomorrow will be no different… Sending a million hugs to the 3 of you!!

  2. For your honesty and openness, I commend you. It was difficult to read, but I know it was more difficult to write. Words bring reality at times and make the incomprehensible seem somehow more present. Thank you for sharing with us Ashley.

    We don’t really celebrate in our house the way others do. NOT because of the reasons you face, but because we think it is an every day celebration of the persistence of motherhood. YOU gave voice to that so clearly!!! Everyday persistence is what matters. NOT one day, on a calendar, established by a company. EVERY DAY is mother’s day. And YOU live that.

    We will keep you in deeper prayer tomorrow, that you would feel Theo’s love thru his eyes and his touch as you hold him. Words are insufficient to “make it better”. But prayers I can give you. YOU. ARE. LOVED. AND YOU are an AMAZING Mother. ❤

  3. Ashlee, this makes me cry. You are such an amazing mother and you write so eloquently! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Theo is so lucky to have you, he knows how much you love him! And I love you too!

  4. Ashlee, I agree with what you said about the importance of remembering the mothers (and, in June, the fathers) who have to listen to the Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day ads and so on when they are facing or have faced the loss of their children. My three sons’ dad and I lost our first son at three days of age, and I found the first few Mothers’ Days to be very hard for me. Though I honour and celebrate the love of parents for their children, it was difficult sometimes to feel we’d been robbed of “membership” in that “club.” Kudos to you for suggesting we remember the mothers and fathers and children who don’t live picture postcard lives.

    Joy, gratitude and satisfaction are decisions we make on a daily basis, whatever our circumstances, but it’s also so important that we support one another through the hard times. I take my hat off to parents everywhere and am grateful for the gift of children, everyone’s children.

  5. Ashlee, I admire your courage, strength and selflessness. Theo is blessed to have such a wonderful mother and father. Our hearts really go out to you and your family today and every day. Theo’s story breaks our heart. I wish we could do something to help.

  6. Dear Ashlee, My heart is certainly with you and your family especially today on Mother’s day. I know how I feel just hearing about everything you are going through and I cannot image how you are feeling. I have my own crosses to bear and my path is not an easy one either but I do believe that God is the ultimate healer and that we must continue to believe that he holds the power with each of our lives. Never stop believing that Miracles happen. Sometimes we take for granted the miracles that have been bestowed upon us. I sometimes forget that my husband is still alive today because of a miracle. Just like Theo, a miracle. We must all focus on each moment as we really do not know what the future holds for any of us. Theo is blessed to have you as a mother. Happy Mother’s day Ashlee. Please keep the faith.

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