What Mothers Day means to me – Jo Le Page

For years Mother’s Day applied to one special person; my mum.  In kindergarten I made her cards every year. At school we were encouraged to make a card or write a poem. Then one day I met the man who is now my husband and Mother’s Day involved two woman; my mum and my now mother in law.

Then I became a mother! While I was still adjusting to my new routine (or lack of!)- my new tousled hairdo, my new sleep schedule (or lack of!), the change in hormones and body – an envelope appeared with my name on it. It was Mother’s Day and this card was for ME!

Life was good. Mother’s Day was flowers, chocolates, fun, laughter, appreciation of children. I couldn’t imagine it ever being anything else.

Then one sad day years later at 17 weeks pregnant I became a mother again but this time there was no cot next to my bed, no sleepless nights of nappy changes. I was still a mother but five months later as Mother’s Day loomed on the horizon my emotions felt very different to all the years of Mother’s Days before. My perspective had dramatically shifted.

All of a sudden I was aware of all the other mothers who had always been surrounding me, who surround us all, with sad stories. They had always been there. I had heard of them but had never truly seen them as vividly as I did now.

I had an invitation to speak at a church family service on Mother’s Day. I hesitated. Surely this was a really bad idea…. me? Taking the stage five months after loss, facing a full church of adults of all ages, children clutching their hand made posies, eyes full of hope and happiness. What would I say? How would I feel? What if I cried?

I decided that seeing as this opportunity had fallen into my lap I was going to go for it. I gave humorous parenting anecdotes. Everyone laughed. Then I mentioned loss and took that brief moment in between more light hearted subject matters to address the reality that Mother’s Day isn’t always chocolates and flowers.  Mother’s Day isn’t always comfortable for everyone, not only because of a loss of a child but due to loss of a mother or inability to conceive. For the first time my eyes were opened to truly seeing these women who sit and walk among us daily. After the service I was surprised by the amount of women young and old who came up to me and shared their story. They had never heard loss mentioned in a Mother’s Day service before and I could tell in their eyes they were truly  grateful that on this Mother’s Day they had been seen.

I think whilst we can should still enjoy the cards, the church services, the luncheons, the chocolates and gifts and not feel guilty about that, it is also important to at least acknowledge that there are those among us who may find Mother’s Day difficult, who may even not attend their regular church that day, as it’s too painful.

The journey to Motherhood is beautiful. There are tears, there is joy.  A friend once told me “Jo, you will cry more than you have before but you will also laugh more than you have before.”

Let those who are hurting know you’re thinking of them. Let the mothers around you know how special they are, how blessed they are.  And for you, beautiful mother who is reading this, your journey may not look like mine. You have had your own history, you are on your own journey, you have shed tears when no one was looking, you have cried with laughter at the funny things your children have said and done.

This is your day. Enjoy it beautiful mum.

Do you know that to your child you are the most perfect being in their eyes?  Yes I know it’s hard to believe but it’s true. I remember a dear wise friend encouraging a group of new mums to sing to their babies. She told us that to your baby your voice is perfect. I saw a few raised eyebrows at this suggestion and heard a few giggles that anyone could love their voice but it’s true!  She went on to explain that babies love that reciprocal contact, love to hear their mother’s voice and singing is good for babies development and for mums wellbeing too. You may not see your perfection, you may never see it, but your child does!

If you have experienced pain on this motherhood journey you are not alone. On this Mother’s Day you are here, you are a mother. Your journey is ongoing and you will meet more wise women along the way to encourage and live along side you.

Mother’s Day in my world involves each and every one of you.  Intertwined together all of our lives and varied experiences, the good, the sad, the flowers, the chocolates, the storm clouds, the rainbows all serve a purpose to form this intricate and all encompassing beautiful tapestry of lives that illustrates ultimately one beautiful expression of Mother’s Day.

To read more of Jo’s writing click here