It’s five days before Mother’s Day - my “first” Mother’s Day. I’m perusing through Target pushing a stroller. I catch the wheels on a rack as I turn the corner, again, and it’s clear this is still a little new for me. I look down and the most adorable little face I’ve ever laid eyes on looks back at me with big, round, blue eyes. Eyes that remind me of my own, with lashes for days like his Daddy. My heart skips a beat - bursting with love and amazement - I coo at him and continue to look for infant-sized sunglasses.
I notice a happy song is playing the background. At first it registers simply as familiar, then I come to recognize it. Then comes the pit in my stomach, my heart skips a beat, my throat chokes and tears spring into my eyes. It’s “Brand New” by Ben Rector. It’s the song I played at full volume and sang to my baby I never got to meet. My second pregnancy. My second loss. That baby took hold of my heart from the moment I saw the positive symbol on the pregnancy test. That was “our” song. When I hear it, my heart hurts. My soul hurts. I already knew this, but it is reaffirmed that the love I felt for him was real.
I quickly check myself and bring myself back to the present moment. This moment, this day, this week, this year has been filled with blessings and love and absolute wonderment thanks to baby Lucas and my incredible little family. Everything I prayed for. But even still, in that same moment, I’m acutely aware that I carry those two losses before him with me along with my joy.
No single experience in life defines us. A doctor of mine once gave me a powerful analogy to a chess board that has stuck with me. We are the chess board - steady and constant. Each game piece is a life experience. Some are good and some are bad. They move around and sometimes the good are in the lead, sometimes the bad are in the lead. Each piece is critical to the game, but the board does not change. The board - we - always stay the same no matter where the pieces go. The pieces, our experiences, do not define us.
I’ve learned that the good and the bad can, and do, co-exist. It’s entirely possible, and ok, to feel joy and sadness at the same time. To be grateful beyond belief and have grief pop up all at once. Especially in the case of motherhood.
I have said it before - Motherhood begins the day you decide you want to become pregnant.
And so, as I approach my first Mother’s Day since my son was born, I have already had three Mother’s Days along my motherhood journey. On this special day, I will celebrate my son and my family with a very special appreciation. My heart is overflowing with love and gratitude. Lucas and I will dance to our song, “No Such Thing As A Broken Heart” by Old Dominion as loud as the volume will allow. He is my best bud, my love, my little miracle. I will also inevitably remember the babies I never met but who remain in my heart forever.
To those of you reading who have lost a pregnancy, I know Mother’s Day has meaning for you as well. If this day is difficult for you, that is perfectly ok. Talk about it. Acknowledge it. Seek support. Know that you do not have to push through it alone. Also know that it’s ok to find joy on this day wherever you can and feel it along with your sadness. Your experiences do not define you, and the good will inevitably be in the lead again.