a contented heart · cultivating gratitude · I am blessed

The Incredible Gift of an Ordinary Mother’s Day

Why I'm Grateful

Are you wondering what Mother’s Day will hold for you this year?

If you’re a mom of little ones like me, you know that the day will likely include all the regular duties you always do. Chances are it won’t be much of a holiday.

The thing is, we don’t always realize just how much of a gift that can be. I know I certainly haven’t always had thoughts of gratitude on Mother’s Day and I haven’t thanked God for the gift of one more ordinary day on every past Mother’s Day.

In these years of raising little ones, it’s easy to dream instead of a Mother’s Day where the baby magically sleeps through the night, no preschoolers get up at the crack of dawn and impatiently wait for mom to get up, a gourmet breakfast (and dinner!) are served with no preparation or clean-up help from mom, and I’m given the gift of free time to do exactly as I please.

I’m guessing for most of us however, this isn’t going to be the Mother’s Day reality that greets us this Sunday. And you know what? That’s a blessing – yes, a huge blessing to have a perfectly ordinary Mother’s Day.

One of the many things that’s helping me remember this fact is the brief time we just spent in the pediatric department of our local hospital while visiting friends. I’m sure those who have loved ones in the hospital this weekend would be grateful for a simple, ordinary day at home.

MOTHER’S DAY IS A DIFFICULT DAY FOR MANY

It’s easy for me to get caught up in the hard work of raising my own little ones on Mother’s Day but I’m reminded that this holiday is a bit (or a lot) complicated for many women. While I don’t believe it’s good or healthy to compare our life to others, I do believe in the importance of remembering and empathizing with those whose lives differ from our own and in taking time to pray for those who may have mixed feelings or a downright difficult day on the holiday meant to celebrate mothers:

The Bereaved Mom.
The Mom Who Had a Miscarriage.
The Mom Taking Care of Her Mom.
The Mom of an Adopted Child.
The Foster Mom.
The Brand-New Mom.
The Single Woman, The Woman Who Lost Her Mom and The One Who Doesn’t Have Children
The One Who Struggles With Her Mother-in-Law
The Disappointed at Mother’s Day Mom.
The Mom Whose Child Is In Foster Care.
The Woman Struggling With Death, Divorce, Illness, A Wayward Child, or Being a Stepmom
The Mom Regretting An Abortion.
The Mom Giving Birth in Poverty.
The Mom Who Doesn’t Fit In A Tidy Motherhood Box.

There’s The Spiritual Mentor Mom. The NICU Mom. The Single Mom. The Empty Nest Mom. The Abused Mom. The Mom Who Feels Like a Failure. The Forgotten or Ignored Mom. Or Daughter. The Mom Who Gave Her Child Up For Adoption. The Mom of a Special Needs Child.

The list is nearly endless, isn’t it?

MY OWN MOMENT OF TRUTH

As I think about women in these situations, I’m reminded of an appointment I had recently. It was a routine ultrasound but it turned out to be one of the most precious and touching experiences any mom could hope to have.

I had a rare glimpse into the unknown and the unseen. For a few moments my hubby and I were suspended in time as we watched that ultrasound screen in amazement and delight, watching in wide-eyed wonder as our baby moved tiny hands and feet, yawned and moved perfect little lips.

For once, the incredible blessing of wonderful health and an ordinary, uneventful pregnancy does not escape me.

For some reason throughout this pregnancy I’ve often been reminded of mothers who choose to abort their baby for one reason or another (perhaps often believing there is no other choice) and of moms of babies in the NICU.

As I reached that middle area of pregnancy where I knew some mothers could still choose an abortion and others would pray desperately as their preemie baby clung to life by a mere thread, so many thoughts swirled in my mind.

While I understand that abortions in this province can be performed up to twelve weeks or sixteen weeks (depending on the city and clinic), I realize that in some parts of North America abortions can legally be done until nearly mid-way through pregnancy, just before the point when babies have a chance at life if born prematurely. (Honestly, I’m not familiar with the average number of weeks at which abortions are performed until, nor is that the purpose in writing this.)

My heart hurts for those women who find themselves in such difficult circumstances that an abortion is considered and who may have no support system or mentor to guide them at a vulnerable time. I am sad for the moms whose hearts have been hardened through poor choices they’ve made and those who have no faith no cling to when an abortion is recommended as the best route to take.

As my own pregnancy has moved through the first twenty-some weeks, my thoughts have also often gone to the moms who deal with life-threatening issues. I think of these moms who are grateful simply for each day that passes without their baby being born prematurely because every day and every week in the womb is an important developmental step in a baby’s life.

The same is true for the prematurely born baby; each day and week (even hour) of life is one more instrumental milestone at a critical time. I have never been inside a NICU room much less had a baby of my own there but I know with certainty that being a NICU mom would be an extremely difficult journey.

And so today I think of these moms and many more. I wonder how it is possible that I am the “ordinary mom” facing an “ordinary Mother’s Day” while brave, hurting women go about their not-so-ordinary but all-too-real lives, a life most of them would not have chosen.

To be fair, there are many of us so-called ordinary moms who have not chosen all the pieces of our own lives either. Yet as I have reached the half-way point of this pregnancy, I’ve been filled with gratitude to be ‘just an ordinary mom’.

Each one of us has received many blessings and I’m particularly thankful this Mother’s Day to be given the gifts of the ordinary – those gifts we so quickly take for granted like healthy children, a home and loving husband, all the benefits of living in a land of abundance and the list goes on.

Of course that’s not to say there’s anything wrong with those who do not have an ordinary life or situation. There are plenty of blessings to be found among the unique and even amid the heartache.

Most of us, in fact, may eventually have our own less-than-joyful or joy-filled Mother’s Days. There will likely be seasons in each of our lives where Mother’s Day is an unwelcome or painful reminder of a situation we cannot change. That’s one more reason why I’m embracing the incredible blessing of being an ordinary mom despite the mundane living and invisibility that may come along with it. Other seasons of life may bring unforeseen challenges but really we only have today anyway, don’t we? Today – to live with eyes open and with hearts full of gratitude. 

As I strive to live in love, awareness and gratitude, I remember that many women right now would be grateful to be a so-called ordinary mom but God has called them to walk a different path. They are on my mind and in my heart and I want to honor them first of all by being humbly grateful to have what they can only wish for and then by supporting them the best I can in their own walks of life.

Most importantly, I want to honor my Heavenly Father who blessed me with a richly beautiful ‘ordinary’ life by giving Him thanks for it and embracing it to the best of my ability.

LOOKING FOR WAYS TO BLESS A MOM THIS MOTHER’S DAY?

If you’re looking for ways to bless a mom who finds herself in unfortunate circumstances this Mother’s Day, please do check out Adriel Booker’s recent post and Love a Mama campaign; she has some deeply meaningful and easily doable ways to make an impact on someone’s life. Last year several friends and I had such an enjoyable time making clean birth kits to send to some of these dear mamas. Finally a simple hands-on project we can do to help instead of sending money, although of course that’s a wonderful option as well. 🙂

Or if you’re needing some last-minute fun or thoughtful gift ideas, see Lisa Jo Baker’s list of 100 Mother’s Day Gifts I’d Give Myself.

NEED SOME ENCOURAGEMENT YOURSELF?

Finally, if you need a little pick-me-up, watch these and be prepared to cry!

Wishing each of you a beautiful Mother’s Day.

Love,
Jan

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