I wrote this post on May 9, a few days before Mother’s Day, but never hit the “publish” button.
I never liked Mother’s Day, and I never understood why. Until today. For the first time it became crystal clear to me why I don’t like Mother’s Day. Today I’m wondering why it took me so long (26 years and four months to be exact) to realize this profound sadness I associate with Mother’s Day.
Let me back it up a bit. My oldest daughter is expecting. We pray that in a few weeks we will hold a precious little boy in our arms. In a household of only women that is something to celebrate. My boss in Germany jokingly called us “Das Weibernest” because of only females living under our roof.
The more we talk and look forward to this little guy’s arrival the more I have been thinking about my firstborn, my son. Today, it hit me: My son made me a mother. I was a mother way before I held my oldest daughter in my arms.
It was a dark night in January, 26 years ago. At 24 weeks pregnant I had been admitted to the hospital. As the evening progressed my contractions became stronger. The nurse on duty would not come no matter how hard I would press that call button. When she finally came to my room and I told her what was happening, she brushed it off, told me to go back to sleep. I asked to see the doctor, but she wouldn’t call him.
My baby moved inside me, I felt his panic. I started to panic. I pushed that button again and again, but no one came. I was alone. I felt abandoned. I didn’t understand what was happening. As those hours dragged on, and morning finally came, there was a shift change in nurses and I finally got some attention. But it was too late. The nurse knew that my baby was coming, there was no stopping it. I was rushed to the delivery room. And a few minutes later I gave birth to my first and only son. There was a lot of commotion around me, a lot of whispering, nobody wanted to tell me what was happening. My son died minutes after being born. No one had expected for this baby to live…
I asked to see my son. The nurses and doctors wouldn’t allow it. Once everyone left the room, one nurse came back with a kidney-shaped dish. She held it a few feet away from me and tipped it. I saw my son. The one and only time. He looked perfect. I never touched him. I never held him in my arms.
A week later I was released from the hospital. I came home to emptiness. It was all over. The pregnancy. The expectations. I was empty. My arms were empty. My crib was empty. The apartment was eerily quiet as I moved from room to room. I didn’t have anyone to talk to, I didn’t know how to deal with my grief. People tried to be helpful, saying, “You’re still young, you will have other children.” And yes, I did have other children. But I didn’t have another son.
In two days it’s Mother’s Day once again. As I observe my daughter looking forward to becoming a mom, it brought back these memories.
Did God know that I would end up as a single mom? Sometimes I do wonder…
Today I know so much more about God, I know God personally. I know He doesn’t make any mistakes. The words from Psalm 23 are so dear to my heart:
The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
He leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me…