Mother's Day Musings
Mother's Day. Is this my ninth, eighth...or eleventh year at it?
Nine years ago on Mother's Day, I was on the verge of delivering Rachel. But the day came and went, and I remained hugely pregnant until the 20th, when she blessed me with her entrance into my world. So some would say this is only my eighth official Mother's Day - and eight years ago today, I not only had Rachel in my arms but Abigail besides. I even graced the front page of our local newspaper with a story about how I'd become a mom two separate times in the same calendar year.
But I say this is Year 11 because of Anna Vivian, my oldest daughter, who would have been born right around Mother's Day in 1999. I lost her to a second-trimester miscarriage, but she is no less my daughter than her sisters. In fact, Psalm 139 tells me I became a mom the moment she was conceived. I have yet to hold her, of course, but that doesn't make her less real than my other children.
The Lord has done much to heal me of the gut-wrenching emotional devastation I suffered when Anna died, and I praise Him for that. I know she's with Jesus and that we will be reunited one day. But I still think of her often, wondering what she'd look like...what it'd be like to be raising all three of my girls...how my experience as a mom would have been different these past eleven years had she lived.
I'm not melancholy about it - just thoughtful. And I've come to understand that's okay.
Of course, the prevailing view in our culture says I should have forgotten Anna years ago. In fact, just a few weeks after she died, a family member took me aside, grabbed me by the shoulders, and said, "You need to move on!" And to this day, most do not acknowledge her as a real part of our family; some even visibly cringe at the mere mention of her name.
I think the root of such responses goes back at least to the legalization of abortion. Because in order to feel comfortable sanctioning the death of human beings through abortion, people have to say, "It's not a baby. It's just a 'fetus.'" Or worse: "It's 'tissue.'" And that attitude cannot help but desensitize them to the devastation of preborn infant death; after all, if my critics acknowledge Anna Vivian as real, they also have to wrestle with the notion that other babies who died at her age - 11 weeks gestation - were real, too. Even if they were aborted. Which would make abortion wrong...but they can't think that or they wouldn't be able to say it's "okay" for a woman to make such a choice. So it's easier to simply ignore all preborn children; then folks needn't deal with any thorny moral dilemmas.
In contrast, I choose to stand unashamedly on the Word of God - every bit of it, including what Psalm 139 tells me about the real existence of my oldest daughter. And so I think about her. I long to hold her. I talk with Rachel and Abigail about her. I will not forget her, and I will not apologize for that.
And I've just marked my eleventh Mother's Day.