Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day in the NICU

Before I begin, please know, I am blessed to have an amazing mother. She loves me, spoils me, encourages me,...the list goes on. I cannot thank you enough for choosing life and choosing to love me unconditionally. For that I am truly grateful and blessed. 

I'm sure many and most of you out there reading this have amazing mothers who you love, adore, and that you are thankful for, and it's good to take the time to say thank you for loving me to your mother and honor her. That part, I whole-heartedly agree with.  

But I don't agree with the commercialization and pressure of Mother's Day. I totally just googled "Mother's Day created??," and learned that the creator of Mother's Day wished it only to be a simple holiday where you could write your beloved mother a letter and thank her. I find it ironic that the link said the creator of Mother's Day wanted to honor her mother, who was a peace activist among other things, and yet the creator herself, when she saw Hallmark {...ironically at the moment just steps away from our living space here...} and other companies making profit off the holiday and commercializing it, went so far as to even get arrested for disturbing the peace at a Mother's Day related event.

I'm struggling this year with Mother's Day. I don't exactly know how to feel about it. Society has put this spin on Mother's Day that you must find Mom the perfect gift or card, that something has to be done to celebrate Mom that one day each year. And it's not just pressure on the husbands or fathers, it's pressure on the moms  themselves out there. Pressure to sort of reassess how they're doing as a mother-comparing themselves to other moms, comparing themselves to their own moms, pressure to be successful as mothers...

In 2008 we lost our first baby to miscarriage. By May of the following year, we were pregnant again. But there was a heavy and dark void that Mother's Day. It would have been my first Mother's Day as a Mama, granted our little one would have still been growing within, but I would still have been a mama. I was thankful for the flowers my hubby sent while I was home in Iowa, and signed them "Love Iggy" (our nickname for our unborn son at the time). I still have the little card that came with the flowers. I was excited and elated to be a mom. But I was also grieving the loss of our first child, the child that would have been due the following month. 

My heart aches and grieves with the mamas who...

...aren't yet mamas due to infertility...
...who have lost child after child to miscarraige....
...who have battled some type of cancer or another and told they cannot have children...
...who are single, but long for marriage and family...
...who have grieved the loss of a child...
...who have fostered little ones and loved them as their own if even for a short time...
...who have adopted a child, but feel there's no adequate way to truly honor the birth mother...
...who have loved their child enough to give them up for adoption...
...who have lost their mother...

And this year, a new one hits way too close to home, because it is home these days.

The NICU. 

I've known for a while now my calling to be a mama. I love cleaning up spilled juice, making mac n cheese for the 4th time in a week, reading Winnie the Pooh, picking food out of my daughter's hair, cleaning my son's puppy at midnight so he can sleep with it, raising them to know of the love of the Lord until they claim Him as their own... But never, never did I think I'd be a NICU mom. A preemie mom. A mother of a child with extremely rare chromosome conditions. 

I think the reason I'm especially struggling with Mother's Day this year is because I don't fully feel like a mom. With all the wires and cords, I can barely change Chloe's diaper. Due to the length of her feedings and not wanting her belly to get upset and spit up too much, I can barely hold her without just the right timing these days. I have yet to put clothes on her, and she's 2 weeks old. She hasn't even spit up on me yet. It might sound weird, but I WANT her to spit up on me. I WANT something normal from this, even if it's the smell of spit up, something most moms would complain about. And as if I feel bad enough that I can't fully mother her, I feel just as bad or worse that I can't fully be there for my other two kiddos. It's a delicate balance and dance of trying to love each child with what little energy I have left. It breaks my heart to know I do not have much else left to give them most days. 

What's the point of this rant? To boycott Mother's Day? No. Like I said in the beginning, I think it's good to show gratitude and honor our Mothers. But I would urge you to have gentleness in your heart for others on Mother's Day. It can be a really tough and draining day for many. 

Please love on those who are struggling today. Give them grace during this day. 

1 comments:

  1. Jodie, such important words. I hear you. - Lindsay

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