Mother’s Day is soon approaching. Cue the heartfelt greeting cards, Edible Arrangements, and booked-to-capacity restaurants. Also cued up and ready to launch is my anxiety. I never expected to dislike Mother’s Day, let alone be the 1 in 4 women who also have ample reason to dread this holiday. I never expected to be the invisible mother.
Last year, my first year as an invisible mother, I embraced my cloak of invisibility and wrapped it around me tight in hopes of protection. I focused on loving up on my mama and celebrating the other mothers around me. Unfortunately, my invisible, protective cloak didn’t shield me from the rude comments and awkward encounters with plenty of other folks regarding my motherhood journey. Later, it took a good 90-minute counseling session to address those feelings and accept them.
This year will be different. Yes, I am still an invisible mother, but I will not hide under my cloak. I will be seen. What’s an invisible mother, you may ask?
An invisible mother doesn’t have the chance to hold her living baby in her arms. She doesn’t get to experience planning birthday parties for her little one or prepare for the first day of school. No Edible Arrangements for her on the second Sunday in May. She is the 1 in 4 women who have experienced pregnancy loss or stillbirth. Her baby’s cries are now reflected in her own tears.
And while these phenomenal women did not (yet) experience the same journeys of motherhood as other women have, their journeys are valid and should be respected. For we too, are mothers.
This Mother’s Day, while you are celebrating the joys of physically-present motherhood, I implore you to not forget the invisible motherhood of others:
-the motherhood that includes losing a baby in the womb
-the motherhood that includes losing a baby that arrived too early
-the motherhood that includes delivering a baby that has already passed
-the motherhood that includes planning for a pregnancy that was subsequently lost
-the motherhood that includes becoming aware of a pregnancy once it was lost
-the motherhood where loss is openly grieved
-the motherhood where loss is grieved in silence
-the motherhood that includes having other children
-the motherhood that includes only angel babies
Like all mothers, invisible mothers carry themselves with dignity and grace. They sacrificed for their children as well. Recognize these women; do not ignore them or degrade their motherhood story. Most importantly, do not say, “maybe next year, you can celebrate Mother’s Day.” Just because their children didn’t survive does not mean they did not exist.
And Invisible Mothers, if you so choose, remove your cloak of invisibility. There’s no need to hide any longer. Instead, wear your cloak of motherhood proudly. It may be a different color than the rest, but it is just as beautiful, if not more.