Mother’s Day Flowers, Love and Heartbreak

Mother's Day 2015, Liturgy of Life, Motherhood and Suffering

I remember distinctly a year or so before we got pregnant with our only child, my husband handed me a flower on Mother’s Day. We were in a very small church and each woman was given a flower from her children. I was the only woman there who did not have a child.  I felt like I hadn’t earned my flower and I was a little embarrassed to hold it. “You will be a great mother someday,” he said.  Soon God did give us a child after several yeas of hoping for one. She is three years old and full of life and I am so grateful and proud to be her mother.

But still my heart aches on Mother’s Day. In part I am grieving the loss of a dream. The picture I had held in my mind of a large family, which it seems God is not giving us, at least not in a way that I expected.   It hurts to accept that God has something different for my life than what I had imagined, and though I have a wonderful abundant, blessed life that in so many ways is far more than I could have ever asked for or certainly than I deserve, the loss is still painful.

On Mother’s Day I remember that flower. That flower of hope in the face of unmet expectations. Of loss in the midst of blessings. I think of the mother I know that left her kids behind in Mexico so she could provide them a better life by working in the US. I think of my dear friends who held the hands of their own mothers this year as they slipped away from this life. I remember the mom who is the same age as me, now in heaven, her children today celebrating her, missing her.  I think of the patients I’ve had who were terrified of their pregnancies, who loved their children but just didn’t know if they could do it. I think especially of my dear friends who long for a baby but will spend yet another Mother’s Day with empty arms.

So much of the beauty of motherhood is in the acceptance of the suffering which it requires. Having been a mother for a few years now it seems more and more fitting that the birth of a child should be both hazardous and incredibly painful. In every bit of love we give there is risk of heartbreak. Motherhood reminds us that loving another person is dangerous and yet we choose to do it, we long to do it, it is our joy to do it.

6 Comments

  • Courtney Reply

    This is so beautiful Erica

    • egjarrett Reply

      Thanks Courtney, I started writing it late last night, I hope I was able to communicate what I had on my heart. Mother’s Day is such a tough day. I am so so grateful for it. As a kid I loved doing a special brunch with my mom and grandma and now I love that I get a special day, but it is so hard for those who have lost their moms or those women who have lost children or who are dealing with infertility. I’ve only had a little taste of it but it is at least enough to realize it isn’t always a joyful day. It is tricky to navigate that tension, of celebrating and grieving at the same time but I guess that is sort of a picture of motherhood.

  • Carleen Reply

    Well said my friend.

    • egjarrett Reply

      Thanks Carleen, So glad you joined in on the conversation. I have so many friends who feel like Mother’s Day is one of the hardest days of the year. But at the same time it is a great day to celebrate motherhood and family. It is hard to know how to do it all well. I was a little nervous even trying my hand at this subject so I appreciate the encouragement. Love you friend.

  • Shannon Reply

    Agreed, this is beautiful. As a mom through adoption and biology, it would seem that Mother’s Day would be a day of great joy and ease for me. But the truth is it is almost always a hard day (this year was an exception, because my husband went about it a different way and I got most of the day “off”) because my oldest son’s special needs don’t just magically go away on that day. And I’m confronted again, when we can’t make it through church and cause a huge scene in a restaurant, with how very different motherhood turned out to be than what I expected. I love my children with every breath I have, but it is not the road I planned for either. Motherhood sure is wrought with a lot of angst, isn’t it?

    P.S. I remember that service 🙂

    • egjarrett Reply

      Shannon, Thanks so much for sharing this here. This is exactly what I was trying to say, it is such a hard place, to feel so blessed and delighted in what we have but still to feel loss because it isn’t what we expected or what we thought it would look like. It probably isn’t good for me to dwell on the disappointment but I can’t deny it either.

      Love that we got to be with you during your first year or so as parents. I wish I could have been more attentive then, work just took all of me, but still it was an honor to be with y’all and so fun to see your family grow.

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