Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mother's Day for the Not-OK

It's that time of year again.  Endless jewelry commercials on TV.  Flowers featured prominently in grocery stores. Greeting cards, teddy bears, and giant balloons all remind us that May is here.  Specifically, Mother's Day is upon us.

I did not want this day to come.

Not because I don't have a wonderful mom, (and mother-in-law!) which I do, but because two years ago I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy we named Vincent.  This year his birthday falls on a Tuesday.  But in 2009 he was born smack dab on Mother's Day, the best Mom's day gift I ever got.  And then lost.

Ever since Vincent was diagnosed with and then passed away from an extremely rare form of liver cancer, I have met many other families who have also lost children.  Cancer, car accidents, homicides, miscarriages, premature births and stillbirths - there are so many ways kids die.  And there are many bereaved parents out there, more than I ever deemed likely in our first-world country.  I found out that every year, between 80,000 and 100,000 children under 19 die in the U.S. (depending on the source).  That's a lot of bereaved parents, a lot of devastated moms.  I know one absolutely wonderful family that has lost three children, all shortly after birth.

Needless to say, Mother's Day is a difficult holiday for many women.  Some women have tried for years to have a baby, going through endless and expensive fertility treatments only to be continually disappointed.  Other families have faced tragic developments while attempting to adopt.  Still others have raised healthy children, only to see the relationship fracture over time.  I even have a few friends who for various painful reasons elected to have abortions early in their child-bearing years.

So as you celebrate Mother's Day this year, think about the friends you know who have experienced the loss of a child, the loss of fertility, the loss of an adoption.  If you know of a family in your church, workplace or community who has lost a child, please, let them know that you remember.  That you care.  Send them flowers or a card.  Write them a note or online message.  Whatever you do, don't tell them that their child is in a better place, or that it will all work out in the end.  Don't tell them to be happy.  Just let them know that you care, that you are honoring their child, that you remember what happened to their child.  Parents never forget.  So try to remember, for their sake.

And then they'll remember that you remembered.


Jan said...

well said my friend. I am blessed to be a mom, yet I have suffered the loss of a baby boy that has pained my heart. I have learned through so many avenues that you never know someone's story as you see them walk the aisles of longs or safeway. You never know someone's personal hell. I do not have much of a relationship with my own mom, but I am so ok with my mommy skills. I send you hugs on this and have amazing mommy skills too!!! I love your boys...

Hilary said...

You summed up exactly what I was trying to share with someone about Mother's Day. The more you write, the more I have to quote you - thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

This is definitely going to be a tough one- a quadruple ache. We'll always remember this day with extreme mixed emotions. We're praying for you and crying too.
...I'm glad that I crept into your blog as 'a wonderful mom'. I read that about five times already. Love all of you always.

Kimberley said...

I'm sure your heart aches each and every day...I sometimes share your tears as I read your posts....I can't even imagine all that you have gone through. I just wanted to let you know that I am crying with you right now....I'm sure Vincent was a precious son. I am saying a prayer for you and your family even today....Love you

Alfred said...

Myriam & I remember Vincent, even though we never got to meet him, and your family, & your loss, are in our thoughts.

Your blog is amazing, btw. Take care.

Rebecca said...

Hi Everyone, thanks for your sweet remarks!
@ Alfred: I'm so thrilled you found my blog, and are remembering Vincent with us! Please tell Myriam that we're thinking of her and the rest of your family too, especially on this Mother's Day.

Aleta said...

Beautifully written and my heart aches for your pain and all mothers on mother's day who have experienced such loss.Great suggestion about sending a card to them letting them know their child is not forgotten. And yes, No matter how many years pass, we never forget the precious babies we lost. I am so glad you included adoption and the other stigma loss is women who had abortions and now regret that decision. Vincent will always be a beautiful boy. One of my favorite pics was Vincent with the gentle hospital dog. So precious.