It wasn’t until the day was almost over that I lost it. I had distracted myself all day, willing myself to believe that this was just any other day, a Hallmark holiday meant for husbands to win brownie points. But the truth is, it’s a day set aside to honour, remember and celebrate motherhood in all of its beauty. And my motherhood journey has had beauty- staggering, breathtaking beauty – without a doubt. But it has also shattered me, and unearthed a pain so deep and vast that I continue to feel lost inside of it. As if to add insult to injury, this day also marked the three-month anniversary of our son’s death. And so, at the day’s end, I sat and breathed and allowed myself to acknowledge all of this. And man, did it ever hurt.
The Mother’s Days that came before weren’t easy, either. I spent last Mother’s Day, my very first one, with Miles getting his covid swab the day before the biopsy that confirmed his cancer. I stood in a lineup with other mothers outside the hospital while volunteers handed out flowers, a kind but meagre gesture for the mothers who wished they could be spending the day anywhere else on the planet. The Mother’s Days before that, I spent wishing desperately to become a mother. This day is a hard slap in the face for those wishing for a child, and I have come to know its sting all too well.
I have wondered since Sunday how to reframe the day for myself – how to find the joy and beauty in the day instead of allowing the pain to swallow me whole. I think deep down I know that I may never be able to. I will always ache for Miles on this day. I’ll ache for the boy that first made me a mother, and for the fact that I never got to hear the words “mama” come from his lips. For the fact that all that remains of my son are pictures and videos and memories. But there’s still a small glimmer of hope inside me that someday, maybe this ache will also be accompanied by joy. The hope of holding another child in my arms one day, a brother or sister for Miles, who I’ll get to hear call me “mama”, guides me forward. So for now, this glimmer of hope amidst the ache and pain of Mother’s Day is my own private Hallmark moment. There’s no card for it, but I’m okay with that.