To the Mother With Empty Arms: A Letter for Mother’s Day

To the mother with empty arms,

I’m not sure why your arms are empty. Maybe you lost a pregnancy. Or your baby was born sleeping. Perhaps you lost your child after they were earth side. Maybe the adoption fell through. All I know is that this is the time of the year when those empty arms feel even more hallow. When your heart seems to hurt a little bit more. When “mom” seems even more difficult to hear.

Mother’s Day means commercials where newborns are being snuggled while tear-jerking music is playing, where mothers are being given gifts and love is being lavished upon them by adoring children. I know such a holiday is wonderful, but I also know that it’s so incredibly painful for some. It’s another reminder of what led you to being a mother with empty arms. A reminder of the love that grew in your heart, only for heartache to set in beside it.

I was you.

I’ve felt the tears running down your face when you hear the news that another friend or relative is expecting. I have felt that envy when you see a woman walking by with a rounded tummy and is rubbing it softly. I’ve felt that despair when you see your due date pass by and you don’t have a baby to show for it. I have felt that anger and rage that the world is so unfair, and the desperate hope that just once, life would go your way.

My rainbow babies came, and my arms weren’t quite so empty, but my heart will always carry the weight of those losses with me. I wish I could say that my happy ending will be the same for all of you, but I know that just isn’t the case. For some, the journey that they have been on, the hurt that they have felt and experienced is enough. For some, the financial cost is just too much for a person to bear. It is a sad fact that there will be those of us who never will get that happy ending. But, what I can say is:

I see you.

I won’t say Happy Mother’s Day, as I know that as long as your heart is hurting, it will be hard to find joy or acceptance in the day, but I am here for you as a mother who has also experienced empty arms, as a woman who knows what it is like to be forgotten on this holiday.

You are a mother if you have loved a child as your own. Even if that child was only to be yours for a short time. While there are no cards out there that cater to you, know that you are heard, that you are loved, and that there are those of us who are always there for you.

The loss of a pregnancy or a child is such a taboo topic to talk about, but it’s important that we break down that stigma. All mothers deserve to have their story heard, and all mothers deserve to be loved and celebrated.

You deserve to be loved and you deserve to be heard. Your story is important.

Your motherhood is important.

You are important.

This day is also for you.

With love,

A mother like you


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Courtney likes to describe herself as a lover of lists and post-its, all things nerdy, and as an all-around pretty awesome person. She lives in Marion with her husband, Jon, their two sons, and their two crazy cats. Both of her boys are rainbow babies, with Everett arriving in December 2013, and Hendrix in March 2016. Courtney is a Penn State graduate, and currently works as a team lead for a state agency. Aside from attempting to be successful at this parenting thing, she likes to go on adventures with her family that includes trying out all the local parks and ice cream stops. Courtney also likes to binge watch Netflix, attempt all things from Pinterest, and can be occasionally be found on her couch doing both