Hope Is a Guiding Light

For many women Mother’s Day is an especially difficult day. I’m speaking to those women who for whatever reason don’t share the daily lives of their children, who either lost custody of their children or signed away their parental rights. I know the pain — gut wrenching heartache — that accompanies both scenarios. I know the guilt and shame you’ve felt from the insensitive comments made by friends and family who can’t possibly understand the reality in which you find yourself.

I know the despair and heartbreaking sadness of such a profound loss as that of losing a child to a significant other and also that of voluntarily giving a child up for adoption, to another family to raise. In my own life, both of these scenarios occurred within a year of each other, seemingly reinforcing the other, deepening the wound and that sense of loss and despair. So often over the years, I thought of all the life experiences I was missing in my children’s lives. They do grow up so fast.

I know that none of us knows exactly what the other is going through, nor do we share the exact same set of circumstances; yet each of us can relate to one another at a deep, emotional level. Others without our experience of a Mother’s loss could never understand this intense pain. We, who never wanted the stigma of being childless mothers, suffer a great loss, an emptiness/incompleteness that tears our hearts to bits, shatters our soul to the core, and so often leaves us in a broken heap on the floor with every anniversary, birthday, and Mother’s Day. Even holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving lose their meaning when they’re overshadowed by a loss of this magnitude.

Never think for a moment that you don’t matter. You matter! You deserve to be acknowledged on Mother’s Day, too!

Use today as a day for mourning your loss if you must. Don’t allow anyone to take that away from you. Get through the day with great courage and cry your tears and feel that pain. Know that pain won’t last forever. It comes in waves and lessens with time. Remember to give yourself credit for that strength and courage that only you can validate in your heart.

Distract. Soothe. Repeat.

Find a method that works best for you to get all of that pain and sadness out and commemorate that severed bond. Get creative. Journal or write a letter to your child (even if you don’t/can’t send it), create a video or use poetry to soothe your soul. Paint or draw your emotions. Start a scrapbook for your child full of happy and sad thoughts, your life experiences, and those moments you do experience with your child. For those of you who don’t get those experiences right now, hold onto that hope with all your heart that one day you may — you will — have that chance to be a part of your child’s life.

Never give up that hope. Let it be your guiding light during the storms.

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