I struggled all week to put my thoughts & emotions about Mother’s Day into words…& today they finally came pouring out…
Photo credit: Elizabeth LaRoche (cropped by me for this post)
As I remember the moment above, the moment Isabel was born, my body is racked with sobs, & I can hardly see to write these words… My heart contracts with the beautiful mixture of pain & joy this sacred moment holds. In this moment, the strength that could only come from a mother’s unconditional love is captured. In this moment, Isabel’s birth mother selflessly brought her into the world & into my waiting arms. She did what I could not do for myself, she made me a mother…. I am grateful that God connected us in such a profound way…He made a way for us in our broken circumstances…a way for life, a way for family…a way for hope, a way for healing.
Today, on national Birthmother’s Day & Mother’s Day weekend, my heart is completely overwhelmed with emotion. Around this time last year, my heart was so heavy as I longed for a child to call my own. We’d started the adoption process, were finishing up our homestudy, starting to fundraise & were falling in love with a baby we could only hope & dream about. We prayed for our baby’s birthmother every single day & night… Meanwhile, in Georgia, beautiful Isabel Grace was being conceived. God’s timing blows me away. He takes the broken situations of our world & makes them beautiful when we allow Him to step into our lives. Isabel’s birthmother chose life when faced with an unplanned pregnancy…. She chose love, she chose to be brave, she chose to put the needs of her baby above her own. She put herself through pain & loss, so that her daughter could have the type of life she was never able to have herself. She chose me to be the mommy of her precious, beautiful, perfect daughter. Her sacrifice made me a mother. I am humbled, honored, grateful, amazed…& so much more, I cannot find the words to fully express how I’m feeling today. I have tears streaming down my face & my heart feels like it’s going to explode. I am hurting for her & praying for her this weekend. My greatest joy stems from her greatest loss, yet in her pain she has peace knowing she did the very best thing she could ever do for her baby when she placed Isabel into our family. Today, I want to honor her by saying how much I love her, how thankful I am every second of every day for the gift she gave us… I’m praying fervently for her, just like I’ve done every day for over a year now. I’m so thankful we have an open relationship so that I am able to communicate my heart with her this weekend.
When I look at the above pictures of my beautiful baby girl, I see her birthmother’s heart reflected back at me…I see her love, I see her pain, I see her sacrifice. I see her hurt & simultaneously see her healing…I see the heart of God, I see redemption, I see the pure joy that comes from choosing life. She is in my thoughts every single day, but especially this week, especially today & especially tomorrow as I celebrate my first Mother’s Day with Isabel in my arms.
Infertility, adoption, loss, love, motherhood…all of these experiences have forever changed my perception of Mother’s Day weekend. To me, Mother’s Day is no longer just about celebrating my mom & all of the other wonderful, selfless & deserving, women in my life who have “mothered me”, but it’s also about recognizing so many more types of “mothers.” The ones who are so often overlooked this weekend… The women who can hardly get out of bed this weekend because the pain they endure because of infertility is overwhelming, the women who are hurting from losing a child/children to miscarriage, the women who are scared & alone as they face unplanned pregnancies, the birthmothers who are longing to hold the precious little one they placed for adoption, the women whose empty arms are aching after experiencing a failed adoption, the women who have lost their own mothers or children, the women who have strained relationships with their children, the women who deeply regret the decision to abort, the ones who are still single after years of longing for a husband & children… To the women who long to be mothers but aren’t celebrated this weekend, to those who feel invisible, angry, hurt, confused, ashamed, disappointed, frustrated & sad on this Mother’s Day, I see you…& so does God.
Mother’s Day was a hard weekend for me last year. Even though we’d started the adoption process, I wasn’t recognized as a mother yet, even though the love that was growing in my expectant heart was just as strong as any pregnant mother’s love for her child. I remember sitting in church as the pastor asked all the mothers in the room to stand for a round of applause. I remember sitting there as women around me stood up. I slumped in my seat, with tears welling up in my eyes, & all the emotions in the world threatening to come pouring down my face. I believed these women deserved to be celebrated, but I was longing for my journey to motherhood to be recognized as well. And then something beautiful happened right in the middle of that painful moment. I received the most thoughtful text message from a friend. She acknowledged my pain from our infertility, congratulated me on our decision to pursue adoption & celebrated my “mother’s heart” with her kind words. Later that night, after dinner at my parent’s house, my dad led a Mother’s Day prayer…and in that prayer he included me as a mother by honoring my role as an expectant mother, praying for our baby to be, and for our baby’s birthmother. In those moments last year, I felt seen, I felt loved…not only by the wonderful woman who reached out to me, & by my earthly father, but also by my Heavenly Father, who knew just what I needed to hear on that hard day. In those moments, I felt loved, seen & cared for…I felt healing begin to take root in my heart. I hope my story will encourage you to reach out to someone in your life who is struggling this Mother's Day; a simple word, a hug, or a prayer can make a huge difference.
Even though I will be celebrating this Mother’s Day with so much joy in my heart, I am also feeling much sorrow this weekend for those of you out there who are still waiting & hurting. My heart goes out to you…I’ve been where you are. I know you want to feel acknowledged, loved & seen too, after all, you didn’t choose these circumstances for yourself. I’m praying for you this weekend. I’m praying that your hurting heart would find comfort in Jesus. I’m praying that those around you would see your struggle & love on you in an extra special way tomorrow. You are not alone, your feelings are valid, your pain is real… I just want to encourage you, take heart in knowing that your story is not over yet…God sees you, He has a plan for your, He has healing for you, He has hope for you.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." ~Proverbs 3:5-6
I am so thankful to be celebrating Mother’s Day weekend with Isabel in my arms…she is the answer to so many prayers, the delight of my heart, my greatest joy.
I’m thankful that God brought her into our family & blessed me with the gift of mothering her.
Photo credit: Jen Menard Photographer
I also want to say how incredibly thankful I am for my own mother & for my mother-in-law. These two beautiful, Godly, selfless, loving, encouraging women are so worthy of being celebrated & lifted up this weekend. Thank you both for pouring into my life in such meaningful ways, I love you.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the incredible women out there who give so much of yourselves day in & day out to your families. The sacrifices you make for your family are SO worth honoring & celebrating. I hope you feel valued & loved tomorrow, & every day of the year.