Sunday, May 10, 2015

Motherhood and Miracles

Motherhood is complicated.  Even as I sit here at my computer ready to write, my heart and head can't seem to agree on the message I want to share.  My life as a mother has been a dichotomy of intense sorrow and overwhelming joy.  I have had the unique experience of dipping my toes into motherhood, sampling it's trials and triumphs, and then watching and waiting on the sidelines wondering if I would ever return. Even now as I type and feel my expanding belly press against my thighs I wonder if I will return.  Will we all make it safely through the next three months into the realm of motherhood and family again?  How can something seem simultaneously tenuous and inevitable.

This morning as I dried my hair I had myself convinced that this Mother's day would be joyful.  I even preached to Jordan about women needing to let go of the guilt, pain, and sorrow that often accompanies this day. Looking back I'm pretty sure this was a pep talk for myself. We talked about how men never seem to feel guilty on Father's Day. They just seem to soak up the love and adoration of their families.  Why shouldn't women do the same? Walking out the door I felt empowered, grateful, joyful, radiant and ready for Mother's day.

Then I lost it, sitting on a hard metal chair on the very back row of church.

I was fine in the beginning.  Three beautiful young women who are about to graduate from high school spoke about their mother's and how their mom's radiate Christlike attributes. While they spoke I peacefully gazed at my belly watching little feet, hands, and unidentified body parts pop and glide across my stomach.  My pregnant belly and the babies inside are nothing short of a miracle to me.  My attention is always on them and I feel like I have been blessed with abundance as I watch them move.

I felt really good. Then the children in the congregation got up to sing a song for their mothers, and my heart began to break and I could not reign it in.  As a rule for daily living I try not to focus on what Jordan and I have lost. Most of my grief and sorrow has transformed into gratitude for the experience of being Jonah's mother.  And after years of infertility and longing for motherhood I feel like it was a miracle that we had him in our home, even for a short time.  But seeing those children at the front of the chapel singing to their mother's tugged at my heart and brought my grief to the forefront in a way I haven't experienced or allowed myself to experience for years.  I felt the profound loss of our sweet Jonah.  It became so real to me that he would be four, almost five, singing with the children at the front of the chapel.  Mother, I love you, Mother, I do. I started crying tears of grief and sorrow as my more sensible side tried to "keep it together."

As the meeting came to a close I wiped my tears from my red and swollen cheeks, accepted the token gift of mother's day chocolate from one of the young men and realized that motherhood is a messy endeavor.  The choice to be a mother, whether realized or unfulfilled, is an act of faith and vulnerability.  When you desire to be a mother you open your heart to the depth of all of life's emotions. Sometimes those emotions are amazing and sometimes they are devastating.  I've decided that is why this day is so hard for so many.  Everything is exposed and there is no place to hide.  It is possible to feel intense gratitude and a multitude of sorrows in the same breath.  But that is also the beauty of motherhood.  It is frightening endeavor that is full of possibility.

I came home, ate lunch, and settled in for a long Sunday nap.  When I woke up Jordan was lying beside me.  I asked him if it made him sad to see those children singing.  He said it did.  I embraced the feeling, uncovered my round belly, and waited and watched for the babies to kick.