The Complexity of Mother’s Day

May 9, 2016

Yesterday we celebrated Mother’s Day, and our family had a lovely time of it. This was my second year as a mother, but since I gave birth just five days before Mother’s Day last year, I think I was a bit more “present” for this year’s celebration. Also, having just completed my first year of parenting, the day seemed to hold more weight than it did when I was just a few days into the journey, and I hardly knew who Jameson was.

While Mother’s Day is a great day for many of us, as we reflect on the love and sacrifices of our moms and change our social media profile photos to ones of us with the women we admire and adore, it’s also an extremely tough day for a lot of people. As we approached the day, I thought about the range of experiences my loved ones have had with “motherhood” — the friend who’s been trying to conceive for years, the friend celebrating the first Mother’s Day without her beloved grandmother, my late husband’s mother who would celebrate with one son while surely missing her first born, and the friend with a new baby who would look forward to Mother’s Day for the first time since losing her mother as a child.

I have lots I could say about my experience as a mother, and I’m sure I’ll find time to do so. But on Mother’s Day, it’s hard to not think about this range of experiences, this complexity that comes along with the day.

Yesterday at church, I was able to lead our community in a special Mother’s Day moment, where I read a beautiful dedication called The Wide Continuum of Mothering by Amy Young. I’ve pasted my slightly modified version below, and I hope it gives comfort wherever you may have found yourself this past Mother’s Day.

To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you.

To those who’ve lost a child – we mourn with you.

To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the mark of food stains – we appreciate you.

To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you.

To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.

To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you.

To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you.

To those who have disappointment, heartache, and distance with your children – we’re here with you.

To those who lost their mothers – we grieve with you.

To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your mother – we’re here to heal with you.

To those who live through the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst.

To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children – we mourn with you.

To those who step-parent – we walk with you on these complex paths.

To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you.

To those who placed children up for adoption — we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart.

And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you.

This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. We remember you. We love you.


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  • Reply
    May 10, 2016 at 8:07 am

    Thank you for sharing yours thoughts about Mother’s Day. I guess I haven’t thought about it like that- not really having time to fully think about all of the emotions that come with being a mother and reflecting on what it means. I’m only 4 years into it, but I agree that there are a host of emotions I experience each day and on that day.

    • Reply
      Jessica Rice
      May 11, 2016 at 11:30 am

      Thanks for your thoughts, Krystal. Also, congrats on starting your new blog! :-)

  • Reply
    May 11, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    Thank you for this. I always appreciate the ability to acknowledge the varying feelings surrounding Mother’s Day. I usually dread the day (and I did this year as usual) but I’ve gotten better at knowing how to not let bitterness and resentment consumer me.

  • Reply
    May 31, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    I loved that when you read it out and was wondering whether you came up with it yourself or, if not, where you got it. Now I know :)

    • Reply
      Jessica Rice
      June 1, 2016 at 1:43 am

      Yes, I wanted to make sure people knew I couldn’t take credit for such eloquence! :-)

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