A bright pink envelope caught my attention as I opened the mail on a warm May day. Skipping the bills, I opened it quickly to find my very first mommy-to-be Mother’s Day card from my parents. Eric and I were expecting our first baby December 13, 2018, and we were beyond thrilled. As a first time mom, worry came very naturally to me. My first goal was to get through that first trimester. I knew if we made it that far, we were in good shape to see the pregnancy all the way through. With each passing week, my hope increased. Along the way, two friends lost their babies. Another friend’s niece was born with some developmental delays. It seemed there was more grim than glad baby news in my corner of the world. I struggled with wanting to trust in the goodness of
God and wanting to protect and prepare myself for the worse at the same time. It was a daily battle, and my humanity shone brightly; sometimes it became an hourly battle. In faith, I decided to purchase a pair of baby booties. Surely if I bought these booties, our baby’s feet would fill them, as though my purchase would control the outcome.
A few weeks after Mother’s Day, we were at the 11 week mark—just one more week to go. We went to our very first ultrasound only to discovered our sweet, much loved, much prayed for baby had stopped growing. No heartbeat. No movement. Gone.
Reality set in as quickly as the pain. Like relentless waves, sorrow crashed over me as tears poured out without reserve. I had to remind myself to breathe because all my energy was going towards the realized loss. Maybe if I stopped breathing, it wouldn’t be true. Maybe if I stopped breathing, the pain would stop. Breathe. Breathe.
The goodness of God doesn’t always look like the way we expect it.
For me, the goodness of God looked like completely uninhabited and raw grief, knowing that as I grieved so did God. I found God’s goodness in a delicious meal prepared by a dear friend. In the prayers and visits of my family and friends. In the timing of a long weekend and extra days off of school. In the fact that I was with my preferred OBGYN when we discovered the loss (truly miraculous for Kaiser patients). And even in the anguish, I never picked up that lie that somehow this loss was my fault. Through God’s goodness, eventually, I didn’t have to remind myself to breathe.
Mother’s Day is a lot like us humans, beautiful and messy. It’s a time to celebrate and thank all mothers—biological, adopted, foster, spiritual, step, in-laws. That is beautiful and deserving of grand celebration. It can also be a time of hurt for those missing their mothers or children, for those wanting a healthier relationship, for those yearning still to be mothers. That is messy.
I want to embrace both—the beauty and the mess of Mother’s Day. In the tension of both, we extend love to those around us wherever they are on the journey. We say, “We see you. We love you. You matter.” Let’s celebrate well. And then let’s sit with those who can’t yet.
Movement Step: Is there someone in your world that may need extra care this Mother’s Day? Pray and ask God who you can love well and support during a celebration that can bring both joy and sorrow to so many.