Mother’s Day. I won’t celebrate this holiday. Not if I’m celebrating it without you. All of you women.
Can I tell you a story? My daughter was just a baby. We attended a Wednesday morning Bible study. A new girl came to Bible study this particular day. She seemed a little sad. Like the days were hard on her. As we settled in, she shared a part of her story. Just a few short months before, she’d had a little girl too. Her second child. Her pregnancy was progressing as normal. And then it wasn’t. Her baby was diagnosed with Trisomy 18. Kari gave birth to Kylie on August 18th, 2007. Her daughter lived for 32 minutes.
That day at Bible study, Kari still carried all the pain of her loss. She’d come to Bible study hoping to find some peace from our Great Comforter. She wasn’t sure it would work, but she bravely gave it a try. After sharing her story, Kari turned to me. My own daughter, only a few months old, was chatting contentedly. Kari turned to me, tears in her eyes.
“Do you mind if I hold your baby?”
And our daughter went on her first mission trip that day. I handed her to Kari. She snuggled into her arms. And a little bit of healing took place. That day, I learned the term “angel baby.” An infant child who proceeds his or her parents in death. A baby that barely breathes the air of this earth at all.
A few years down the road, another friend. Cody lost her little boy to SIDS at three months old. Emotions indescribable. A path I cannot imagine. One Wednesday night, December 14th to be exact, would have been Chris’s birthday. Now, through these amazing, brave women, I’d learned one way to honor a memory, to keep from forgetting, was to celebrate their special events. So, that night at Bible study, we had a party. We had cupcakes in Chris’s honor and we sang Happy Birthday.
These women, my friends, still celebrate Mother’s Day. They have other children. A boy. A girl. Kari gave birth to a beautiful little girl a few short years after losing Kylie. She gave her daughter the middle name Faith.
I see them use their grief to God’s glory. Kari ministers to other parents of angel babies through a support group at a local hospital. She is also part of our church’s care ministry. Cody is choosing a new path for her family. One of faith. She misses Chris like crazy every day but she is letting God guide her steps.
Faith is best done in community. I will never forget Kari holding my little baby. I will always treasure the night we sang Happy Birthday to Chris.
I can’t wait to meet their angel babies one day.
Alongside my sisters, I don’t celebrate Mother’s Day without remembering. Those who have lost little babies. Those whose own mothers have passed before them. Single ladies and those without babies of their own. Some waiting for adopted little ones. Those whose babies are off serving our country. All sharing the mothering role within the church with the rest of us.
I’ll celebrate Mother’s Day with you. But only if these women celebrate with us.