When do you become a mother?

When do you become a mother?

Recently, a colleague of mine got really excited about this, potentially, being my first mother’s day.

My baby girl is due June 3rd, so her comment was referring to whether or not my daughter would arrive by Mother’s Day. I know she only intended to share some excitement about Kate's arrival, but this really triggered some thoughts for me.

When do you really become a mother? Am I not justified in celebrating mother’s day if I do not have a living child in my arms? Is it not enough to have a living child INSIDE me? What about the moms who have lost children? Or the mothers who do not have a baby to hold?

I’ve come to recognize that this is different for every woman. Some of us feel called to be a mother our entire lives. Some of us would rather love through other people’s children. Regardless, it is a very personal experience for all of us.

Last Mother’s Day, I was grieving the loss of a child I will never get to meet. This Mother’s Day, I am waiting and longing to meet the child I am still carrying.

I started to really think about the moment I first felt like a mother. I admit my first pregnancy did not immediately make me feel like a mother. It wasn’t until I lost the baby that I truly understood how much I wanted him or her. I wanted to hold them, raise them, and constantly share photos of them for the world to see. However, I still didn’t allow myself to identify as a mother at this point. I convinced myself it wasn’t justified.

I was in such denial of my grief during that time - so much denial, that last Mother’s Day I volunteered to take a meal to a new mom and her precious, growing family. I wanted her Mother’s Day to be special, and I knew she had just gone through so much, giving birth to her third child. I thought that Mother’s Day was the PERFECT day to bring over a meal and allow her to just enjoy time with her kids on her special day.

What was I thinking???

After I delivered the meal, I got in my car and and just broke down. I had no idea how vulnerable I was going to be to seeing this amazing mom care for her three children on Mother’s Day. It was at this point I realized that I was not only grieving the loss of a child, but also grieving, what felt like the loss of motherhood.

As I am now 35 weeks pregnant, I feel confident in my ability to call myself a mother. However, I have been a mother much longer than 35 weeks. The life of my first baby is definitely justified and something to be celebrated. Knowing how much they mattered gives me the perspective to recognize that my motherhood mattered as well.

I am writing this for ALL the moms out there. Whether you are holding a child in your arms at this very moment or not, you are very much a mother. You deserve to be celebrated. You are not alone and your motherhood is justified; your motherhood matters. Please take a moment and celebrate this day. Celebrate the life you created, the life you will create, and the life Jesus has given you.