I’m feeling very vulnerable for this Mother’s day post. But I feel the need to inform others about the invisible moms out there.
There’s a dark little world inside my heart that I rarely let anyone in to see. But because Mother’s Day is only a couple days away and there are many mothers out there who privately know this place all too well, I feel the need to give you a little glimpse into this place a few of us moms secretly live in.
On January 9th, 1999, I gave birth to my first child, a little girl. Mia Louise Mutlu. She was absolutely beautiful. She had a thick head of black hair, the most adorable button nose and my goodness- such long little legs. What precious little lips and mouth she had. I can only imagine how big her smile would have been. She was perfect in every way. But when she was born she was not alive. God had called her home to Heaven to be with Him before she entered this world. While very painful (and still painful at times), I trusted Him with His plan and why He called her home when He did.
I remember my first Mother’s Day without her. She wasn’t around. So I had no real proof to the outside world I was a mom. I mean, I had a tombstone- a grave marker but you can’t carry that around. That would be kind of weird. So I felt like an invisible mom. I was there but no one knew I was a mom. I remember walking through the mall and seeing families and wanting to yell “Hey I’m a mom too!”. Anxiety would hit me and as the anxiety would increase I would have to leave because I was so overwhelmed with emotion. The panic attacks were horrific. I remember we had plans with my in-laws to go to a local play and I ended up in the emergency room with what I was sure was a heart attack- of course it wasn’t. The official diagnosis: an anxiety attack. The darkness of the struggle was consuming me but I was trying to deal as much as I could. I was doing my best to be smiling on the outside but the reality was that it so dark and sad on the inside.
How does a Mother face Mother’s day without her child?
This is a secret place so many moms live in year after year, holiday after holiday. Some moms may have other children but have an empty place in their hearts for the one they lost- that child can never be replaced. But other mom’s have lost their only child. Too many times, we as a world don’t know what to do, how to handle these moms on Mother’s Day so we just innocently ignore them.
I was a Mother that was ignored by many on Mother’s Day. Not purposefully of course. People didn’t know what to do or say or how to address me. It was just weird for them. I get that. But I wanted to scream from my seat at church “You can wish me a Happy Mother’s Day, I’m still a mom!” But it seemed that the awkwardness and the uncomfortable feeling of others (which was completely understandable) was so overwhelming, it paralyzed them. It was just easier for everyone to ignore me than to address me. Then there was the moment. One precious lady, her name was Pat, she came up to me and handed me a flower, which was the little mother’s day gift they were passing out to all the mom’s at church and she said to me “Happy Mother’s day- you’re still a mom, it’s just that your baby is with Jesus.” Oh that meant the world to me. It took everything I had not to break down in tears of joy. Soon after, sweet little Bonnie came over and wished me Happy Mother’s day as well. These precious ladies got it. My heart, while still broken, began to feel like there was hope and that the pieces would eventually come together again. God used these precious ladies to bring light into the darkest parts of my world.
On this Mother’s Day, there will be many mom’s that you know, that you will see, that have lost children- under various circumstances. Some mom’s will have miscarried, some may have lost children in tragic accidents or to illnesses. Whatever the circumstances- this Mother may be grieving the Loss of her child. I beg you, Please go out of your way to wish this special mom a Happy Mother’s Day. This is a day she was to be celebrating with her child and it’s a huge reminder that Her child isn’t here… and maybe you can be the voice she needs to hear, that whispers “you are remembered”.
You are not forgotten. Your child is not forgotten.
Their memory lives on and the fact that you are a Mother doesn’t change because your child has moved on into eternity. She may cry when you say something. It’s ok. She is crying because someone cared. Someone remembered her child who is so easily forgotten by the rest of the world when daily reminders are all she has that her child is gone. And you my sweet friend remembered her child today.
Many Mother’s have lost their only child, and won’t get a Mother’s day card, a gift or even a word of encouragement… so your words may be the only recognition they get- you don’t know how much of a gift your words will be. I ask you to overcome that awkwardness and give the gift of letting these “invisible moms” know they are not forgotten but they are in fact treasured. That they are an inspiration to other moms.
This coming Sunday all over the United States we will be celebrating Mothers. Families will be out, going to church, going to dinner, grilling out, and just celebrating moms. But for this select group of moms, this day is a painful one. This group of moms were inducted into a club they never wanted to be a part of. Please take a moment to pray for these moms, and if you know one, please pause and spend just a moment with her to give her a hug or perhaps invite her to celebrate with you.
My Mia would be 16 years old this year. She is my only daughter. I have four boys and I will be celebrating with a lot of sports. Sometimes I think about not getting to go do mother/daughter mani/pedi’s or shopping trips or all the things Moms do with their girls. But rather than focusing on that, I choose to focus on the fact that I get to celebrate with soccer games and basketball tournaments- and I will have a blast doing so. I am blessed. (But I am praying they have mani/pedi’s in Heaven lol).
I always say grief is a funny thing. It reminds me of the ocean waves. I can be walking on the edge of the beach and the waves are just barely be hitting my feet and I’m fine and balanced- every wave that gently covers my feet is a wonderful refreshing memory… but somehow, soon I find myself drawn out into deeper waters. Suddenly I find myself in over my head. Before I know it, a tidal wave of grief comes crashing over me and I’ve lost my balance and it’s taken me under- I have no control and I’m thrashing around the water whirling around. It shakes me up and takes a minute or two to regain my balance and get my head above water. Then I work my way back up to the edge of the ocean only to walk along the edge of the beach again. Once again, sand between my toes and waves are gently covering my feet and I’m enjoying the memories as they slowly come ashore. I’m balanced and in control.
Mother’s day is a day that these Moms are easily sucked out into the ocean as the tidal wave of grief pulls these moms under… but kind words, an invitation to dinner or a hug from you can be the life line that can keep them afloat.
You can make a major difference this Mother’s Day. One last thing for you sweet Mother who has all your children with you, today and everyday, in the midst of the chaos and frustration that motherhood brings (trust me I know with four boys, we have those kind of days)- don’t forget to hug your children tightly and tell them how much you love them. We often take that for granted.
And to you precious Mama who’s child is celebrating you in Heaven this weekend, I’m envisioning your child picking out your favorite flower and handing it to Jesus saying “this one is for my Mama- please send someone to put a smile on her face this Mother’s Day”. And trusting that He will do just that.
From me to you, I pray your memories are like tranquil waves that gently flow over your feet this Mother’s day.